why the bible is not needed for morality

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by IowaGuy, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Think of equanimity as akin to ptah--stability--but also with suppleness. Think of detachment more along the lines of "not clinging" to get the "thusness" of it.
     
  2. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Nice! I actually like Buddhism from what I know of it (very little)
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Note: I just find when SG is around there is just no need to get up!


    But back to the OP....

    The points are well made and the reality is it seems the bible has been used more often to prevent morality than encourage it.

    For how many centuries was it pointed to as a reason to put women down? (still is) For how many centuries was it used to condone slavery and the treatment of slaves? For how many centuries has it been used to justify prejudice against homosexuals?

    How can any good it has done compete with the above....2/3 of which still occur today in some degree and the other was prevelant for over 90% of the time the bible has been around...
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    I am learning that!:D

    Especially if one is taking it as inerrant.;)

    Oh, and the reason Natives did not possess souls here in the Americas.:rolleyes:

    Good question. I believe misogyny, slavery, homophobia, and xenophobia would have won out anyway (pretty inherent in Northern European culture, IMHO). If we add in the problems in Judaism and Islam (all four), I think it safe to say "better if Abraham never learned his letters". A lttle rough, but hey, just my opinion. :eek:
     
  5. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Well you need to get up so I can vacuum the rug underneath you! Thanks.
     
  6. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Thomas and thank you seattlegal. I will have to meditate on how it connects though.
     
  7. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Humans have been on the planet for an estimated 200,000 years. Whereas the bible was written 2,000-3,000 years ago, depending on the particular chapter.

    Are you saying there was no root or base for morality for 197,000 years of human existence?
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    lol, Have I ever told you how much I love you?

    I mean, she bakes brownies, she throws pints of guiness and pretzels at me, rolls me over to vacuum...not to mention finds links to anything at the drop of a hat, finds posts from years ago faster than I can even remember there was a post on the topic... what's not to like?

    big hugz sister!
     
  9. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    "Law" implies there is a right and wrong answer. At least that's the implication of "law written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness" in Romans 2:15.

    How about this: Joe believes homosexuality is immoral. Bob believes some humans are born homosexual and it is perfectly moral for them to marry their life partner.

    Natural Moral Law, or the "law written on their hearts" would imply there is a right and wrong answer to the question: is homosexuality moral?

    Is Joe's conscience wrong or is Bob's conscience wrong?
     
  10. Divos

    Divos New Member

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    Remember that "Moral" is latin for "Good Behavior", and "Law" is derived from "Lay" which means to have Sex with a Female, or "to place UPON ", which means they are MAN MADE Concepts, thus, nothing to do with Nature, just MAN
     
  11. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    * IG’s disclaimer: none of the following is a personal attack *

    Natural Moral Law implies that for every moral question there is a “RIGHT” and a “WRONG”, i.e. absolute morality.

    It’s one thing to say that something exists; it’s another entirely to say that it can be known; and it’s another entirely to say that one does know it. The danger in thinking absolute morality exists is the thinking that one’s view is currently aligned with the absolute truth. I think such a view leads to intransigence on one’s moral positions (or leads Traditions to intransigence). How do we know if our beliefs are NML? And if we think our views (or our Tradition’s views) are aligned with NML, why would we ever be open minded to another’s viewpoint?

    For example, do you (or your Tradition if you don’t want to get personal) believe the following? Why or why not?

    -it is immoral to beat slaves (allowed by the bible)
    -homosexual activity is immoral (disallowed by the bible)
    -polygamy is immoral (allowed by the bible)
    -it is immoral to impede conception with birth control (bible is neutral?)
    -it is immoral to end one’s own life under any circumstance (disallowed by the bible)

    Do you believe your views on these examples are in line with the “truth” of NML?

    If Natural Moral Law exists that means that the bible is not divine revelation. Otherwise, wouldn’t the NML have been revealed correctly as "God's Law"? What’s the difference between the bible and a history book or Miss Manners book if there was no divine revelation?

    Why, if Natural Moral Law exists, did Jesus not say that slavery should come to an end, that it was immoral? Or polygamy? Did Jesus think slavery and polygamy was acceptable under NML? Was Jesus not aware of NML? Has NML changed since Jesus' time?

    If a vegan Buddhist approaches you and asks why Christians think it’s OK to eat meat (and therefore cause the suffering and death of another sentient being on this planet), what’s your response? Is eating meat OK according to NML? Or is veganism the “truth” of Natural Moral Law? How would you decide which is right or wrong per NML? If your conscience gives a different answer than the vegan's, isn't that moral relativism?

    Why do you think some non-human animals show a version of morality? Are they, too, subject to NML? Or is their “morality” a product of evolution? Could human morality, too, be a product of evolution?


    Is sin not but an example of moral relativism?

    Is homosexuality a sin? Is birth control a sin for a married couple?

    Was slavery a sin? Was polygamy a sin?

    100 years from now, will homosexuality be a sin? Will birth control, used by a married couple, be a sin?

    How do we know what is a sin and what isn't a sin? Can something be a sin for one person or culture, yet not a sin for another person or culture?
     
  12. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Why would it imply that?

    Well, how are Joe's and Bob's respective consciences affected? What did Joe do to have his conscience bother him regarding homosexuality? Does he see women merely as sex objects, but didn't like it when a homosexual saw him as a sex object? Was it something else?
     
  13. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Do you not think NML or your "law written on their hearts" implies a right and wrong answer to moral questions?

    Let's try an easier example then. Does NML, or your "conscience, law written on their hearts" imply that there is a right and wrong answer to:

    it is immoral to kill another person?

    i.e. is there a right and wrong to everything per NML? or just some things?


    Ah, good question. I would argue Joe's conscience (or the conscience of many conservative Christians) bothering him regarding homosexuality is more a factor of their environment than any natural moral law written into the cosmos. Just as was the case with slavery and polygamy. Apparently even Jesus' conscience wasn't too bothered with slavery and polygamy; his conscience, too, was a product of his times, not of some universal standard of the cosmos.
     
  14. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    IG, I think you are simplifying things while SG see nuances and complicated patterns. I personally accept that peoples relationship to each other (or things, concepts ect.) can be beyond my understanding and try not to value it.
    So I could not answer any of you're questions with a yes or no as they are many what-if.

    And seattlegal, I finally got the connection between what Thomas said and chapter 38 when I explained objective and subjective morality to my girl. Thanks again.
     
  15. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Natural Moral LAW does not imply nuances. As used by conservative Christians it does not allow for subjective truth or subjective morality. That is one of my main objections to the concept.

    In fact the Catholic Church has said that moral relativism is dangerous to society.

    I do think there are nuances; your morality is different than my morality is different than SG's morality. And none of us have "God" on our side. But NML implies there is a moral standard that is independent of time or place.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi IowaGuy —
    OK ...

    I disagree. Nature is not itself absolute.

    What God decrees is Absolute, but even then, there is 'the human margin'.

    OK. But now you're talking about is the fallible nature of man, not about moral absolutes.

    In my tradition there are two books — the Book of Nature, in which the Natural Moral law is written, and the Book of God. One can follow the first book, without any hint of the existence of the second.

    NML 'reveals' nothing about the Divine Nature, rather it points to it ... or not, as may be argued ... the very fact that a humanist can believe in the NML supports that notion.

    No, because it's not about God, it's about nature.

    Jesus said nothing about riding bicycles either ...

    It's natural. Animals do it.

    It's what nature does. Nature is, as the saying goes 'red in tooth and claw'.

    I would say not.

    Human construct.

    Nope.

    One can extrapolate both arguments to the point of nonsense. If you take the Buddhist precept to illogical conclusions, then a Buddhist should not breathe, because minute organisms are being killed thereby ... nor should he walk, for fear of killing creatures just below ground level ...

    Do they? Is it morality, or pragmatism? Do they deal in abstracts? Could they answer your questions?

    I'm not saying they don't, I'm saying I don't know.

    Yep. NML is a part of NL. Physics is the exploration of Natural Law. Morality is an exploration of NL in another dimension.

    As we evolve, our morality will evolve, but always ... hopefully ... towards the absolute, or the norm ...

    No. Sin is an example of moral absolutism, although not all sins are in themselves absolute (or cardinal).

    So as not to be accused of avoiding the question, here are some personal responses:
    I would say homosexuality is a condition, as is heterosexuality. Concupiscence is a sin, however it expresses itself.

    I think it's a tragic dehumanising of nature to define a person by their sexual orientation first, and a sign of the incipient corruption of our culture that regards asexuality or celibacy as 'strange' and sexual athleticism as something to be lauded. In my tradition others are there to relate to, not just something to fuck with.

    Pornography therefore, the using of one (or more) persons by another (or others) for self-gratification, or worse, the masturbatory gratification of some unseen audience, is a hideous indictment of western culture and morality ...

    Well I know most Christian denominations succumbed to cultural pressure in the previous century. Catholics, in principle if not in fact, stand by the sanctity of life. Gandhi thought it a sin ... so it's not simply a Catholic morality.

    Well no man owns another, so in that aspect yes ... but then again, does not having a slave mean I can't employ a cleaner? Or drop my clothes in for a service wash at the launderette? (Oh, batchelor days!).

    I think the sin nearly always lies in the area of the misuse of power, not in the misues of sex. That's what nearly all porno is about (from what I'm told, obviously).

    Who can tell, as secular morality is a thing of the moment.

    Think about this:
    It is accepted that it's a woman's right to have a child. I'm not so sure ... some women are infertile, some women are coupled with partners who are themselves women, who might be infertile ... some pairings simply will not produce offspring ... so I don't think it's a right at all, I think it's a demand.

    So IVF produces embryos, many more than are required, and now there are embryo banks full of what are 'people' in the very earliest stages of development, and no-one knows what to do with them, or how to dispose of them ... but it's abundantly clear that any other medical procedure with such an attrition rate would have the practitioners up in court ...

    Think about this:
    Hospitals are now practicing infanticide and euthanasia on an unprecedented scale, driven by the bottom line. Human life is being reduced to its economic value as a unit of production.

    In a few years life insurance will be dependent upon dna profiling, and medical insurance will factor in data from screening so that those prone to illness will either be refused treatment, or pat astronomical sums.

    Then we'll get pre-birth screening on the same basis, someone wishing to give birth to a child with a less than satisfactory dna profile will find it financially inpossible to survive unless they are independently wealthy.

    If you find this hard to believe, three nurses have confirmed this to me verbally. A woman who was doing an MA thesis on the moral question of Christian nurses being obliged to facilitate doctors undertaking such procedures (not theoretically, but those procedures actually in practise today) was blocked at every step in the fulfilment of her MA programme.

    She was refused permission by the UK medical council to interview nurses or gather data from hospital archives (something her tutors had never experienced before); when at her viva voce (oral exam) one of the examining body, a Catholic moral theologian, saw that the 'devil's advocate' was actually a government-known 'heavyweight', and her examination of the MA student was, in his experience, the most crushing thing he'd ever witnessed. She was there, he told us, not only to destroy the MA student, but to make it abundantly clear to the Institute that investigations of this nature were not and would not be welcomed.

    Think about this:
    My daughter is a sign language interpreter. Currently the deaf community are investigating the possibility of accusing the medical system of genocide, because the medics want to introduce screening and 'weed out' the deaf before they are born.

    Please do question morality, but please do not, if you value human life as anything more than a commodity to be bartered with, use the currently secular model as a better or, God forbid, an ideal.

    I'm not saying my morality is absolutely right, but I am saying that I find secular morality — with its apparently 'anything goes' outlook — quite frighteningly heading towards eugenics in the name of economics.

    So I think it's quite useful to have a balance.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    Interesting post Thomas.
    I'm still not sure how you define 'secular morality', those two words together would mean, to me, that everyone not following religious morals follow a common set of morals. Which I don't think is what you mean.
    How is this secular morality practised, by who?
     
  18. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    NML requires a lot of soul-searching. It requires having a refined sense of shame. If you don't do the soul searching required, then you will wind up with such things as honor killings and scapegoating just to make the shame (action of the conscience) go away. Just making the shame (action of the conscience) go away is contrary to the process stated in Romans 2:14-15

    Romans 2:14-15
    14 So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences testify in support of this, and their competing thoughts either accuse or excuse them 16 on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.​

    Just stopping their competing thoughts and thus the soul searching is not going to reveal anything like natural moral law, is it? However, it will reveal something about the people who refuse the soul searching aspect...
     
  19. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Thomas - good food for thought, as usual. Here are a few counter-points:

    When did NML begin? If it was written into the cosmos, as you suggested earlier, does that mean it began even before humans came onto the scene?

    And how did NML begin? You suggest it is separate from "God"; therefore God's Law, when revealed to the Jews, was not aligned with NML. Are you saying God did not create NML? Did he not create the Laws of Physics which you use as an analogy to NML?

    The argument that God did not align his Revealed Biblical Laws with NML seems strange since He is omniscient from a Christian worldview.


    Humanists such as Dawkins that argue NML is a function of human evolution ("grounded in our Darwinian past") and therefore not an absolute. i.e. NML today is different than NML 200,000 years ago.


    This comes across as a supporting argument for homosexual marriages, so that they don't live in the sin of concupiscence. You mentioned pornography in answering the question about homosexuality, hopefully you don't associate the two. I know several homosexuals that are very straight-laced, they are just romantically attracted to humans of their own gender.


    I agree 100%, which is why I don't support discrimination of a person based on their sexual orientation.


    The only strange part that I have heard arguments for/against is the REQUIREMENT that one be celibate in order to lead a congregation of followers of Jesus. Where is this requirement found in the bible? Many scholars have argued that, based on historical connotations, Jesus himself was likely married with children.


    The bible says sin is based on intent not necessarily on action. The intent of using birth control is to control how many offspring and when one has those offspring.

    The Catholic Church teaches instead that married couples should use the "rhythm method" to control pregnancy. Is not the intent the same as using birth control pills or condoms? Is the rhythm method therefore also a sin?


    I agree 100%. Especially with all the unwanted pregancies and kids available for adoption into a good home, why go to all the trouble with IVF, just adopt. Better for the earth and humanity. Christians especially should view not being able to have kids (via natural methods) as God's will, should they not?


    This is definitely a modern moral dilemma. But it also raises the question, is God alone responsible for creating life? Did He or did He not create these lives? Are these lives a result of His Will? The answer to this question should be able to guide our moral response, should it not?


    Another interesting modern example. So, is EVERY human born a function of God's Will? i.e. is ANY "weeding out" acceptable from a moral perspective? i.e. if an embryo had a rare disease than ensured that baby would die within a year of birth, should the parents be able to abort it? If an embryo had a rare disease that ensured it would live 9 months in its mother's womb but would die immediately upon birth, should the parents be able to abort it?


    Although without secular morality, slavery would still be legal as would polygamy. And secular morality is the only way we will ever end discrimination against homosexuals.
     
  20. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    At the risk of delving into apologetics, let's look further into the 2nd chapter of Romans:

    Romans 2:2 - "But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things."

    Romans 2:8-9 - "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile"

    Do truth and unrighteousness in this context imply an absolute standard, or subjectivity? Do you think the judgment of god is based on subjective truth or absolute truth?

    You brought up the concept of shame. Can two different humans come to different conclusions on a particular question of morality (let's say, my earlier example of homosexuality), yet neither has any shame associated with the action of their conscience (i.e. they're both "moral")? Or is one of them "moral" (no shame) and the other "immoral/sinner" (shame)? i.e. for a particular question of morality, is there one absolute truth as Thomas is arguing (sin = moral absolutism), or is morality relative to the person/circumstance?
     

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