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GOD! Save Me From Your People!

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I need to SCREAM! :dough:

This is an exchange in my college philosophy course:

TOPIC:

Why are you moral (if you are)? Or, maybe a bit differently, why do you think people should act morally?

JASON:

Why should we act moral? The answer is simple, although unacceptable to some. God created mankind. Since He created mankind, it is only appropriate that He sets the rules. Because He is the Creator and we are the created, we should obey His rules. After all, He gave us life and all we have that is good, so it makes sense that we should obey His rules (called His "Law," or the "Ten Commandments") in the Bible. Throughout history, philosophers have suggested other justifications for morality, but ultimately, any attempt to define morality outside of an absolute and objective source results in either a system of relativism or a system in which either the strongest or the majority get to define morality. The latter ends up in relativism because the definition of morality has the potential to change according to the whims and opinions of people. All in all, people should act morally (in accordance with God's Law) because He commands it and because every man and woman will ultimately be held accountable for their failure to do so.

ME:

The problem with your rationalizations is that you are begging the question with regard to what the “rules of God” are. If you want to accept the validity of the Ten Commandments as a source for morality, you would have to establish it first. Since we don’t even possess Moses’ original tablets, all we can assume is based on what is written in the Bible – a translation of a translation of a translation of a copy of a copy of a copy passed down through generations of word-of-mouth. Even if you were to establish all that, you would still need to establish that Moses indeed received the Commandments from God and wasn’t in fact just high on dope or drunk on wine, or absorbed with his own ego and power trip. Clearly, you are jumping so far to conclusions that you are effectively not arguing anything at all.

I Just received a private email from this Jason person which (inappropriately in my opinion) read:

Actually, I don't need to establish any of that. God's Law is written on my hear[t] - and yours. You know what is right and wrong because God wrote His Law on your heart. If you think your appeals to historical-epistemological issues with Moses will excuse you from being accountable to God for your adherence to or divergence from the Law He put on your heart - I hope, for your sake, you are right.

I need to cry or something! People like this scare me, but not for the reasons they would think. :(

Edited by KevinDW78
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He begs the question again in his e-mail. The one question that has been on my mind lately is what to say to people who deny logic explicitly (for example the argument that "God is outside the laws of logic"). Stop the conversation altogether? In Jason's case, he thinks he's exempt from rules against circular reasoning*.

It seems to me that this Jason fellow won't do so well in this class if he continues with fallacies like that. At least, I hope so, for education's sake.

One question: Did your teacher make sure to go through a section in different ethical theories before posing this question? If not, then it would be putting the cart before the horse. In other words, we need to know what systems people are talking about before we know whether or not they're "moral".

*Let it be clear the "begging the question" and "circular reasoning" are alternate titles for the same fallacy.

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Did your teacher make sure to go through a section in different ethical theories before posing this question?

Nope. We actually won't be starting ethics until next week. He said he was putting these questions out there to get a feel for where everyone currently stands in ethics. I can somewhat see that usefulness of that (especially in Jason's case).

Also I should not, I forwarded Jason's emai lto the instructor to point out that I felt it was inappropriate for him to be using the course for prostylatazing (sp?) and the instructor wrote back and said he completely agreed. He then sent out a class wide email explaining the boundraies of where we will be going in ethics and asked people to not use this course for "missionary work" so that was cool.

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You are not going to run into many religious people who challenge the very existence of God. Most, like your friend Jason here, accept the existence of God as a given. So his response is really not all that uncommon and is actually fairly well thought out.

JASON:

Throughout history, philosophers have suggested other justifications for morality, but ultimately, any attempt to define morality outside of an absolute and objective source results in either a system of relativism or a system in which either the strongest or the majority get to define morality.

I think there is actually a lot of truth to that statement--particularly if you remove Objectivists from the ranks of atheists he is talking about. Virtually every atheist I have encountered has, in the process of rejecting God, rejected anything Godly as well. By Godly I mean only in terms of an objective source of morality. They wind up feeling that the moral is whatever feels good or whatever society decides. For me, I actually enjoy discussing morality with people like Jason. At least we can both agree that morality has some rational, objective foundation. It is the moral relativists that drive me crazy.

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After my OP, this is the email I replied to jason and his response.

I'm not interested in your proselytizing. This is a college philosophy course, not your church.

I then forwarded Jason's email to the instructer letting him know I didn't feel it was appropriate. Then I got this from Jason:

Hi Kevin, I'm sorry that you see my efforts to engage you in a conversation about ultimate morality as attempts at "proselytizing you." And besides, if this were my church, as you suggest, why would you need to be proselytized? However, you are correct in saying that this is a college philosophy class. And in a college philosophy class, it is appropriate to engage other students - especially in controversial matters. this is what free and critical thinking is all about. It would appear that you were in some way offended by my last email to you, but to be honest, I am a bit surprised at that. Do you know how many times I have been offended by things written on these message boards? By things said by professors? By positions endorsed by those with whom I disagree? Many times! However, I realize that this part of studying philosophy and I understand that if I'm to learn from those with whom I disagree, I must have thick skin. Now, you and I may (and probably do) disagree about what should take place in a college philosophy course. I believe in the kind of dialogue we were having. I was expecting you to send me back a well-thought out email detailing why you agreed with or disagreed with what you said. If I had known that you would think my words such a heinous crime to warrant your appealing to the instructor, I probably would not have said anything. To be honest, I've never experienced a reaction like this from a philosophy student before. Be that as it may, please know that I did not intend to disrespect you in any way. My position is rooted in the idea of the innateness of morality, and I guess I was hoping that if you disagreed with this idea, that you would respond and engage me and take me to take on where you thought me to be in error. Instead, however, you decided to refrain from the kind of argumentation that is celebrated in the discipline of philosophy and decided to play the "offense card." Rest assured, however, that I did not mean to evoke such a reaction from you. Also rest assured that I will not attempt to engage you or disagree with you further about these matters - unless you publicly attack a position I hold. In that case, I will certainly respond, but I will also take great pains to make my comments as generic and impersonal as possible. Maybe, in the end, this will solve the problem. If you have any questions or would like to talk further about this matter, I am very much open to it - please send me an email. If you desire the matter to be closed, that is fine with me as well. I wish you the best of luck in the class. Blessings, Jason

Good hell.

This was my final email back, to which I am ending this entire conversation:

I never said I was "offended". I do not get offended about anything. In regards to the instructor, all I did was forward you email with my opinion that it was inappropriate to privately email another student and try to proselytizing him - which IS what you were doing whether you want to admit it or not.

Secondly, as this IS a college philosophy course, you are bound by the laws of Logic. Not the laws of God. Therefore when you start making absurd statements like "God's law is written on [my] heart" you've crossed into the land of woo-woo as far as I am concerned and are no longer in the realm of logic. And since I do not enter into discussions with people who forbid me to think (i.e. use logic), I shall not enter into more discussions with you.

Edited by KevinDW78
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I struggled with some similar things in college. I had a couple friends, very intelligent young women mind you, who were Young Earth Creationists among other silly nonsense. Now, both of them were aware I was an Evolutionary Biology student and they did not question/bother me about it unless we were specifically discussing it, which sometimes we did. It was always a respectful discussion, as we were friends and were not out to hurt each other, but I did find myself getting frustrated when I felt like I was hitting what I like to call the "smooth glass wall" in their minds where my arguments just could not penetrate no matter what I said or how reasonable it was, because I was hitting up against the premises they had accepted unquestioningly. It gave me kind of a sick feeling because I knew how smart these girls were and it just disturbed me on a very deep level. Also one of the girls described to me one time how she felt this deep fellowship with every other Christian, even if she just met them, and that bothered me as well. How can you feel anything for someone you just met, essentially a stranger? You might be justified in feeling generally friendly, but I don't give people much slack at all until I know them fairly well. I just don't understand how some folk can practice such wholesale evasion.

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lol I just received another reply from him. I really don't think I am interested in continuing this debate with him though.

Kevin, I am sorry that you felt it inappropriate for me to email you privately in order for me to respond to your attacks concerning my posts. In the future, if you wish to avoid any correspondence from me, I would suggest that you refrain from commenting on anything I write on the discussion board. If you comment concerning a post I make, I will defend my post - preferably publicly, but privately if the discussion board is locked. Now, regarding logic - God created logic, so I'm quite happy to have a discussion with you about anything logical. For example, if I tell you that God's Law is "written on every human heart" (that it's innate), that is completely logical. Can you cite any documented people group where the taking of another life without any cause whatsoever (murder) is deemed moral? Of course not. Why? Because God's Law is universal. Anyway, it seems logical to me. Regarding your non-interest in not conversing with people who "forbid you to think," I do not believe I am one of those. I am very open to entertaining anything you have to say and would be quite appreciative to hear it. However, it seems like your position is more like, "I will not have a conversation with people with whom I disagree." If this is the case, then I will agree to not correspond with you further. Please accept my apology for any frustration I have caused you. Blessings, Jason
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Now this is silly. He begs the question again!

Though I do agree with Jason that he is not "forbidding" you to think, it's just that he doesn't care to think nor acknowledge your own. In essence, he denies the importance of thinking (by condemning the use of logic).

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lol I just received another reply from him. I really don't think I am interested in continuing this debate with him though.

Mien Kampf

The Witch's Hammer

The Communist Manifesto

What Is to Be Done?

Any Number of Police State Orders

The Final Solution

The Gulag

Failure. Jason needs to go to the back of the class.

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Actually, I found Jason's responses to be very civil. And his position, though dead wrong, is consistent and shows he has at least thought about the issue. I wouldn't be so hard on Jason. Some religionists arrive at their conclusions because they see the results of relativism and reject them in favor of... of... what? Usually they grasp the only theory which they know of which upholds objective (i.e., "absolute") standards of morality, which, unfortunately for us yet, is religion.

I'd like to discuss morality with a religionist like Jason. I'd point out that I too believe in absolute standards of morality, but have learned that these standards are based on reality, not wishful thinking about a deity, and so are much more powerful.

Ignorance is inherent in Jason's opinions, but malice is not. Not yet, anyway, according to the evidence of his replies. When and if he signals that he is beyond the reach of reason, then I would politely excuse myself from the conversation. In the meantime, it may be fun to push Jason toward the edges of his loyalties: reality or faith?

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id definitely continue discussing with that guy

I have nothing to gain by such an effort. I will not receive credit for having private discussions outside the course and I honestly have no value in his mind personally.

Edited by KevinDW78
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Now, regarding logic - God created logic, so I'm quite happy to have a discussion with you about anything logical.

Biggest load of FAIL ever. Maybe you shoud debate him Kevin, rip him a new one.

failboat2.jpg

Actually, I found Jason's responses to be very civil. And his position, though dead wrong, is consistent and shows he has at least thought about the issue.

"Where did logic come from?! GODDDIDIT,LOL!" That's about as far from thinking about a subject as you can get.

I'd like to discuss morality with a religionist like Jason. I'd point out that I too believe in absolute standards of morality, but have learned that these standards are based on reality, not wishful thinking about a deity, and so are much more powerful.

Ignorance is inherent in Jason's opinions, but malice is not. Not yet, anyway, according to the evidence of his replies. When and if he signals that he is beyond the reach of reason, then I would politely excuse myself from the conversation. In the meantime, it may be fun to push Jason toward the edges of his loyalties: reality or faith?

There moral absolutes are "Immoral=Killing people, looking at porn, drinking a lot, being gay.... Moral= Not doing immoral things and [insert mystic altruism variant here]

It's not between black and white, it's between retarded and stupid.

Edited by Mammon
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  • 1 month later...

I would use this as an oppurtunity to show him the truth.

I personally enjoy talking with Christians, because their logic is so faulted; its not that difficult to show them their faults and bring them 'to the light'.

We have to start from the beggining, this Jason believes that because God created humans, and gave us life, and that all life is good.

He's coming from a position where we are endowed to an unknown diety that created us by no choice. Its almost like a brainwashed mindset- suggest that if a child was born in a communist nation, does that mean he owes the dictator his unyeilding loyalty? No. Because above all, we had no choice in the matter of being born, and owe no one nothing. There was no choice in the matter, it was merely forced upon us by survival of the fittest. You were the fastest out of milllions of sperm, and you were the strongest of any other fetuses (by making it past the first trimester of pregnancy). You born out from parents by their innate sense to keep their genetic line going.

Even if there was a God who created us, that does NOT mean that you owe him your life. Let us say there is a god in this universe, lets say there is some concrete proof about heaven and hell. I still wouldn't obey the bible, because I would be forging one of life's greatest entities, the choice in defining what makes ME happy by defining MY OWN moral codes, in esscence, I would be throwing away my individuality because I would be blindly listening to this God.

And in his idea that "God's Law is written on every heart"?

HELL NO. Christians took a common round-up about what everyone thought was moral way back in the day. It was a general conglomeration of public law. Why do you think the bible is so closely related to Code of Hammurabi, which was the FIRST written account of law?

Murder is justifiable to some people. Not the general public, but what of serial murderers or sociopaths? Obviously, if they innately thought what they were doing was wrong, they wouldn't do it. No, they murder because they enjoy it and have defined their own sense of moral code.

I believe murder is wrong because I don't think any human being is equipped with the decision to decide who should live or die.

But I believe its derived from an altruistic sense in human beings that as a species as a whole, we shouldn't kill our own kind.

This Jason has no logical path from which he's derived his thought. He just has point blank one liners, with absolutely no reasoning behind them. Its infuriating just to read what he has to say.

I was born and raised in a Catholic church, I know the bullshit they tried to feed people. The ideas in the Bible are completely redundant.

Jason makes it sound like EVERYONE believes in the ten commandments. If you want to curse, go ahead and curse. Have outrageous sex, steal the biggest diamond you can get your hands on, go for it. As long as you aren't violating my personal rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) then I couldn't care less.

Of course, I'm not going to go steal my neighbor's ox and have sex with his daughter on it, but if the guy across the street wants to, he can go and have a try at it. I won't stop him, but I'm certainky not going to encourage him.

Well....maybe a little. :read:

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Murder is justifiable to some people. Not the general public, but what of serial murderers or sociopaths? Obviously, if they innately thought what they were doing was wrong, they wouldn't do it. No, they murder because they enjoy it and have defined their own sense of moral code.

Murderers hold a number of different views of murder. Most, I would imagine, simply avoid evaluating it and act on the range of the moment, murdering because it meets some immediate need of theirs. Others regard it as "wrong" (immoral), but treat immorality as a floating abstraction, as a principle to intellectually identify, but to cut off entirely from reality, because "it doesn't work in real life." Along those lines, they'll regard murder as wrong "in some cases", but rationalize its justifiability in other cases built on a jumble of non-essentials ("he dissed me" / "he deserves it" / etc.) that they are all too willing to use as a basis for their ethics.

I believe murder is wrong because I don't think any human being is equipped with the decision to decide who should live or die.

Is that the reason that murder is wrong? Is it true that no human being can judge who should live or die? For starters, each individual determines whether he should live or die. We also pass such judgment on others in death penalty cases. Is it wrong or impossible to judge that a bloodthirsty killer should die for his crimes? What about war? Soldiers in war judge all the time who should live or die. Is this wrong in all cases or are there justifiable reasons to kill others in war? What about someone who attacks you on the street, intending to kill you, and the only way you can stop him is to kill him?

There is definitely a reason why murder is wrong, but I think if you look more closely, you'll see that it isn't because man can't make judgments about who should live or die.

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Soldiers in war judge all the time who should live or die.

Not meaning to pick nits but...

No, they don't. The judgement of who should live or die in the vast majority of incidents in which a soldier must kill was decided the moment that the nation went to war.

A soldier is a cocked gun aimed at your enemy, with relatively few guidelines (the law of armed combat) his job is to "kill them all".

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A soldier is a cocked gun aimed at your enemy, with relatively few guidelines (the law of armed combat) his job is to "kill them all".

If that were true, it would make the Iraq situation much simpler...

I'm a sailor, not a soldier, but I've never heard of an official "kill 'em all" doctrine.

U.S. Military Rules of Engagement, from wikipedia:

The 1999 Marine Corps Close Combat Manual (MCRP 3-02B) presents a “Continuum of Force” the following breakdown:
  • Level 1: Compliant (Cooperative). The subject responds and complies to verbal commands. Close combat techniques do not apply.
  • Level 2: Resistant (Passive). The subject resists verbal commands but complies immediately to any contact controls. Close combat techniques do not apply.
  • Level 3: Resistant (Active). The subject initially demonstrates physical resistance. Use compliance techniques to control the situation. Level three incorporates close combat techniques to physically force a subject to comply. Techniques include: Come-along holds, Soft-handed stunning blows, Pain compliance through the use of joint manipulation and the use of pressure points.
  • Level 4: Assaultive (Bodily Harm). The subject may physically attack, but does not use a weapon. Use defensive tactics to neutralize the threat. Defensive tactics include: Blocks, Strikes, Kicks, Enhanced pain compliance procedures, Impact weapon blocks and blows.
  • Level 5: Assaultive (Lethal Force). The subject usually has a weapon and will either kill or injure someone if he/she is not stopped immediately and brought under control. The subject must be controlled by the use of deadly force with or without a firearm or weapon.

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If that were true, it would make the Iraq situation much simpler...

I'm a sailor, not a soldier, but I've never heard of an official "kill 'em all" doctrine.

U.S. Military Rules of Engagement, from wikipedia:

I'm talking about war, not fighting an insurgency. Besides all of those things you listed as your lack of proof of a kill em all doctrine are contained in the Law of armed combat.

Soldiers fighting soldiers there is very little thought that has to be put into whom to kill and whom not to. It's done that way on purpose, that is why we have rules about wearing uniforms, not posing as civilians, not setting up camps in churches, occupied schools, hospitals etc. You know, all those inconvenient rules the Terrorists dispose of which make ROE's necessary.

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I'm talking about war, not fighting an insurgency.

Ah, ok. Yes, you are right in the case of two nations at war. The only judgements soldiers make in that case are: 1) Is that man in the enemy's uniform, and 2) Is he holding a weapon?

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Ah, ok. Yes, you are right in the case of two nations at war. The only judgements soldiers make in that case are: 1) Is that man in the enemy's uniform, and 2) Is he holding a weapon?

Phew, :wacko: for a second there I thought you might have bought into the "Peacekeeper Myth" that is so prevalent up here in the Great White North. :D:lol:

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A great deal on Moral is on Rush's song, "Lock and Key":

It's not a matter of mercy

It's not a matter of laws

Plenty of people will kill you

For some fanatical cause

It's not a matter of conscience

A search for probable cause

It's just a matter of instinct

A matter of fatal flaws

No reward for resistance

No assistance, no applause

Don't want to silence a desperate voice

For the sake of security

No one wants to make a terrible choice

On the price of being free

I don't want to face the killer instinct

Face it in you or me

So we keep it under lock and key

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