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Why should we adopt morals?

Morals cannot be proven philosophically and are not needed for a stable society that already punishes people for doing things that are detrimental to our society. Morality only hinders us, as it makes us, as a country, (I'm in the USA) obligated to give money to poor countries and not torture terrorists who have crucial intelligence needed to ensure the national security.

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    Apr 14 2013: G'day Rajiv

    Morals are needed for a stable structured civilised society & if we didn't have morals then raping little boys & girls & torturing your wife to death would be accepted, I wouldn't like to be in a society like that myself. Morals have there draw backs like anything else however I would rather this than immorality.

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      Apr 14 2013: I completely agree - the reason philosophy, moral reasoning and religious values have been spread for so long is because of the utmost importance of civilization realizing that the only way to betterment and happiness, which every society seeks, is through an understanding of right and wrong. This is basically the way I look at morals, they are a way of identifying and passing on the humanity of what is right and what is wrong.
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        Apr 14 2013: G'day Kendl

        I'm not religious myself however I do proclaim myself to be spiritually aware, religion has it's place especially psychologically. Scientists have monitored people who pray & meditate or even sing hymns & found out the huge mental benefits of doing such things, it certainly wouldn't hurt main stream society that's for sure.

        We need boundaries & books like the bible give us these moral boundaries not that I read the bible myself to any degree but I can se the huge benefits for anyone who is especially in need of moral guidance. Too many people read the bible as fact & forget the symbolic meaning of the bible & related books.

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          Apr 14 2013: Thanks for the response! I think in a similar manner that such as moral propositions or laws, particularly laws enacted from cases decided by court, are meant to provide a basis for which we can relate and understand the reality of moral reasoning, the bible is filled with lessons and applicable information to our lives even today; guidance by which we can learn and respect enough to follow/promote distribution.
    • Apr 14 2013: The fact remains though, that we already have laws that prevent people from doing these things that are harmful to society and their fellow citizens.
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        Apr 14 2013: G'day Rajiv

        Why do we have these laws in the first place? If it wasn't for morality in the first place we wouldn't have these laws that protect us.

        So what you are saying is we shouldn't become anymore moral because it's stifling us? I would agree because in actual fact being too moral can hurt others more than it helps. If we take in consideration of the starving people of the world who we feed, which is fine in itself, what are these people doing now they have their fed? They breed more in an area of the world that can’t obviously support such a population but what would happen if we stopped feeding these people for some reason? You would have even more people staring because of our moral obligation so what’s the real moral answer here & what’s moral & what’s immoral in the long run?

        • Apr 14 2013: Of course we would still have laws. Laws are a way to ensure that a society can run smoothly, they don't necessarily have to be products of morality. I can be in favor of making murder illegal because if it was made legal society would most likely crumble because gangs and assassins would be killing many people turning society into a chaotic wasteland.
  • Apr 14 2013: Imagine that you are chess player and you see a chess board setup. You might say, checkmate in 6 moves. Someone see this would wonder how you could know this. You might say it is just intuition, but it is really an automatic quick lookup on a subject you understand in depth.
    If you see a person stealing a ladies purse, you might say that is wrong. How do you know that. It is because you we taught at a very young age that stealing is bad and later in life, you can apply this rule in an instant without thinking.
    Our morals are rules that we adopt or are taught when we are young and apply without thinking from then on.
    You can bypass your morals with some effort and a lot of rationalization by saying something like, this terrorist has information that we need so torture is acceptable in this case, even though you really know that it is wrong to torture people. If you stopped and actually used your mind rather than your quick lookup system (morals) you would realize that the information you obtain under torture is not reliable and not worth the effort.
    Perhaps then you might also realize that claiming everything shitty you do to other people is for national security even though you know its is wrong.
    Our morals are a quick index system into those values that we believe make us what we are. Our actions based on those morals tell others what we really are and our rationalizations around those morals also tell others what we really are.
    • Apr 14 2013: But not all info obtained under torture is unreliable, there are certain times in which doing actions that are against modern day morals may be beneficial. Besides, I don't understand, I never apply morals without thinking, I just know that if I were to do something considered "immoral" by society my reputation would decrease (even though I was taught morals by my parents). That's why I behave morally, it's rather artificial for me than it is natural to you. And with legal codes that prevent people form hurting each other and destroying society why would we need artificial, absolute morals that don't account for the fact that there are exceptions you must make in certain situations either for your own well being or for the well being of other people whom you have a responsibility to protect because they are fellow citizens.
      • Apr 15 2013: To quote former FBI Agent Jack Cloonan from a FRONTLINE program about Guantanamo, "[Everything] that I was told was that there was nothing coming out of there of any value, nothing."

        Under duress, people will say anything.
        • Apr 15 2013: But then why would the U.S. keep Guantanamo open, and choose to continue to receive a lot of criticism for it? Torture may not work all the time, or even most of the time, but surely it has some value, governments may not admit it because it might make them look bad but their is still may be value. In addition, if you were being tortured, lying would only hurt you more, because if you lie, your torturers are bound to find out (by acting on your false intelligence) and that translates into more pain for you.
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      Apr 14 2013: response, civilization obviously is a major factor in our formation of moral values, beginning with assimilation into societal regulation and knowledge of norms from birth. However, I also consider the universal consciousness in the way that all of the information we in this century have obtained and can learn/have learned from previous generations and previous societies most definitely creates a human reaction and moral subjectivity that certainly forces us to form a decision about what is right and what is wrong.

      I think every human, unless unfortunately you are encumbered with some mental illness of psychopathy, has an inbred intuition that they either accept or deny once presented with a decision about what is right and what is wrong.

      The whole idea of a legal system, of lawyers and statutes that state, for example, that such and such crime was committed in self defense, is a format and preparation for the exceptions.
      • Apr 15 2013: I would like to think that overall, civilization is moving forward in terms of enlightenment and for the most part, since we no longer burn witches to save their souls or hold blood sports in arenas, that is probably true.
        Recent reversals on the part of modern islam shows that progress is not always a straight line path.
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          Apr 15 2013: I think humanity is definitely getting smarter, and I do think enlightenment/spirtuality and the additional attention more recent society has given to the great thinkers and spiritual teachers of the past has led us to a morally-aspiring sense of humanity.

          Unfortunately when unfair leadership, inadequate resources or sustainability (starvation, no work/no hope) exists, morality seems to take to lacking. Our education and each countries contribution toward advancing technologically, spiritually, in all ways does help us move forward in terms of positivity and goodness in humanity.
        • Apr 15 2013: I disagree, the law was probably inspired by people saying: "I want an environment in which I can succeed and limit the threat of people randomly stealing from me and forcing me to start all over again financially." Law can not only be seen as a moral entity but as a selfish one that people used to create a climate in which they could enrich themselves while being relatively safe.
      • Apr 15 2013: But the fact remains, that our legal system doesn't have to rely on morals. Laws are just a way to weed out detrimental members of society do that they cannot do harm. People who kill out of self-defense are protected because they obviously don't present a threat to society.
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          Apr 15 2013: I can understand where you're coming from - the legal system is set up so that the people are protected from physical harm, greed, unfair business practice, etc.

          If you consider the commonly known precursors leading to the need for an order of law and punishment - stealing/preventing theft, killing, marriage divorce court, neighborly fights (I'm imagining Judge Judy here)...etc., it is important to note that these things that are punishable in America are stated as certain moral values and given high value in philosophy and especially religion, as for example, the ten commandments.

          How would we judge a case of two persons arguing about an issue if there was no moral basis or previous statute upon which to derive either a socially acceptable ideal or a fair judgment?
        • Apr 15 2013: It does not rely on morals because you can't guarantee that people will follow their inner voice.
          The law was however, based on morals. It is the codification of the rules under which people will interact with each other. It attempts to treat all people fairly and equally and to not make rules that are contradictory (that doesn't always happens but is usually sorted out using precedents)
      • Apr 15 2013: This is a very good question and one that I have been pondering about for a long time, this is the answer I have come up with: Philosophically, it is impossible to prove that any one belief is right. modern day morals may be the opposite of what God(assuming there is one) wants us to do. In fact, all philosophies are founded on moral axioms, or assumptions, such as the belief that one should be altruistic, or something of that nature, but in reality those axioms can't be proven (which is why they're called axioms). Given this, I've become a moral agnostic, but in becoming one, and in being someone who is an objective spectator of the world with no "skin in the game" as I am still a high school student without a job and with parents who will be able to provide for my education regardless of the nature of the current political climate when it comes to taxes and other things, I have come to adopt (partially) utilitarianism. I adopted this philosophy because it considers everyone to be equal, and because I think that no one philosophy can be proven right, they must all be esteemed equally, and thus, all people and all their beliefs should be esteemed equally (this is the basis of utilitarianism), because you cannot prove one person is better than another, philosophically speaking of course. That being said, since you can't esteem any argument with a philosophical basis. Philosophical arguments have been rendered invalid according to my logic and what remains is a practical basis for solving problems. As an objective spectator, I believe that in order for the highest amount of people to be well off they must fight for what will help them and their nations and so when two people have an argument the one who fights for the well being of more people will be the one who is favored according to my system of philosophical axiom denial and practicality that would serve most of us, regardless of whether that practicality may be morally wrong or not.
        • W T

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          Apr 16 2013: I don't know what to make of your answer.

          You say you believe in utilitarianism, and define it as all beliefs should be esteemed equally,

          and THEN you turn around and say...." I believe that in order for the highest amount of people to be well off they must fight for what will help them and their nations and so when two people have an argument the one who fights for the well being of more people will be the one who is favored according to my system of philosophical axiom denial and practicality that would serve most of us, regardless of whether that practicality may be morally wrong or not."

          Sounds contradictory to me...could you explain further?
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          Apr 16 2013: I respect and appreciate your response to this, however, I clearly see you are basing your judgments on a purely philosophical and in no manner, as I could see explained, that which is religious whatsoever.

          You must consider the prominence and importance, established by so many throughout all understandable realization of time and it's dimension, the relevance of religion, whatever religion that may be, (I am a believer that whichever suits you best, in the end you will understand and it will help you understand the nature of reality however it will assist you in finding peace and fulfillment, so long as you are true to yourself, the maker will not deny you, but do consider this fully); in establishing this basis, the contradiction I also see as if you believe in any sort of right and wrong, good and bad, heaven and hell even you must acknowledge that at some times, the "mob mentality" or majority vote is not necessarily the correct one.

          As an extreme example, consider the 1940's (which no one wants to do, myself included) and how propaganda and the defeated mindset of the German's at that time allowed for such a disillusion to dissolve into the general public, creating general if not humanity-driven physical chaos to the point that those who "fight for the well being (what is this? How do we base this?) of more people (are these people INSANE?) and the actuality that might really be realized to the point where terrible evil is considered, confirmed and committed. People need guidance. This is where the ten commandments, where Jesus Christ, where each and every other religious philosopher, prophet and commendable person in general comes into place as a definite "pillar of the earth". (I love that book.)
      • Apr 16 2013: The fact remains though, that mob mentality is the closest we will ever get to realizing what direction we should take when it comes to purely philosophical matters, that don't have an answer to that can be proven by science. And I'm not doubting the effect of religion and spirituality on this world. But the fact remains that religion isn't necessarily right and has been used many times to justify the killing or oppression of certain groups of people. Because of this religion is in a practical sense detrimental to our society and to the world.
        • W T

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          Apr 16 2013: You are definitely contributing to this mob mentality when you state:

          "religion is in a practical sense detrimental to our society and to the world."

          In order not to have mob mentality, you must identify "which" religions.

          Not all religions are detrimental.
          Not all participate in war.

          Some actually do alot of good.
  • Jeff K

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    Apr 25 2013: Hey Rajiv. Following your chat with Adriaan, I thought I could pitch in on the matter. I have come to realize that all of science is based on its ability to be appreciated by all our faculties; touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. I have also noticed, however, that these are not ALL the faculties we have. I think there's one we very often omit, probably due to our inability to quantify this faculty in physical terms that can be readily appreciated by the other senses. This is the faculty of faith. The best definition I have found so far that quantifies this faculty is the one that says "faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen". Regardless of where this quote is from, I have seen this faculty applied endlessly in science to bring us to the point we are at today. So what am I implying? If the faculty of faith is employed in scientific aspects, shouldn't it also be employed in our pursuit for knowledge about God? Just because we can't attain this immediately with our 'original' 5 senses, doesn't mean there is no God. What will happen therefore if, in this aspect, we choose to first use our 6th sense, and then employ the rest? Food for thought.
    That said, I have a pertinent issue on my mind, that hopefully I can get some insight on. It can be argued that the study of morality has helped us in a sense, understanding that morality is a philosophical concept. Is it possible that study of morality has antagonistic effects on mankind as a whole? For example,the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" greatly profess the Ubermensch (superman) mentality. This mentality is what has been found to be the cornerstone of major horrific events throughout history, from Hitler to modern day serial killers. This can also be applied to the study of other values from a perspective of morality. Could it be that the study of morality gives people the ability to think and do what they normally wouldn't, even the wrong things?
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      Apr 25 2013: Hi Jeff,

      I suggest most religious or spiritual faith is very different from the scientific process.

      Science makes hypothesises and then looks for data to prove or disprove them. The probability or degree of speculation is appreciated. Some scientific concepts make very accurate predictions and have much data in support. Others are more speculative, the data may not be available to reasonably prove and consensus may not have been achieved. Scientists are willing to update if a better explanation is found, and they appreciate not all scientific positions are equally robust, especially at the cutting edge e.g. Something like DNA was hypothesised but is was not found or understood for many years. Before a model was determined that seemed to work it was speculative. Today we have so much evidence for DNA is it unlikely to dropped, but we continue to add to our knowledge in this field and there may be disagree about particular DNA related hypothesises.

      Religious faith seems to be believing in things without compelling evidence - the antithesis of science.

      Example, there is no historical proof that Jesus was resurrected, no compelling evidence he is a god, no proof a donkey talked, yet some people believe these claims in the bible or associated religious dogma without compelling evidence. Others believed in Zeus, Odin, Mithra, Baal, Madak etc without compelling evidence.

      The creative process of developing hypothesises and testing these before tentatively accepting them, and being ready to update, refine, or completely drop what was previous considered the most likely when conflicting data comes to light, by recognising the models in science have different degrees of confidence, seems completely different to religious faith.

      There are so many contradictory religions and variants. The closest parallel is the cutting edge of science where we speculate and have limited data.

      Are you really saying the process of science is a strong parallel to religious faith?
  • Apr 17 2013: Hello Mary M,
    You are right, I'm definitely contributing to mob mentality in that I think that Mob mentality is the closest we can ever get to truth when it comes to philosophical matters that cannot be proven by science. The fact remains though, that religion (even the most benign ones: like Buddhism) still pushes people to do things they may not necessarily want to do, like care for others, and further more tells them to do these things because either God, or Karma will reward them, when God and Karma have not scientifically been proven to exist. Instead, we should inspire actions of people by recognizing the fact that if they do certain things, like maintain world peace and care for each other to an extent, it will help most of them, and that's how we should inspire people to act in a way that you and most people would consider to be "good", by giving them a practical argument that relies on them to be self-interested, which most of them are, rather than give a philosophical or religious one that promises them things that may not exist, like the love of God, and/or good Karma.
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      Apr 25 2013: Hello Rajiv, I just saw this comment. Because you did not reply next to the red reply button below, I had no idea you had written this.

      So here is my response:

      You said.......... "religion (even the most benign ones: like Buddhism) still pushes people to do things they may not necessarily want to do, like care for others, and further more tells them to do these things because either God, or Karma will reward them"

      You are mistaken here Rajiv. No religion, no organization, nobody pushes anybody to do anything. Oh sure, people might give money and go to church and such because they feel God expects them to do it.

      I know of lots of people that go to church and are racist, and selfish, and envious.

      True spirituality, and here I use the term liberally, inspires people to do for others because there is more happiness in giving than in receiving.

      Empathy, love, compassion, kindness are all principles found in scripture. And just like a loving father teaches their child to say please and thank you and excuse me, so too our Creator, our heavenly Father, teaches us how to treat each other. Not because we're going to "get it" if we don't do it, but because we will feel the happiness and the inner peace when we do.

      May I share one of my favorite verses from the Bible with you?

      (17)This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. (18) O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

      This is what I have learned from study of scripture.
      It is not much, but it is enough for living a content life.

      Be Well my online friend,
    • W T

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      Apr 26 2013: Enjoy.........
      • Apr 26 2013: I never said all or even most humans don't want to help each other, some, maybe most, actually care about each other. The fact remains though, that people are still pressured (at least to a minor degree) by religion and that not all people are altruistic. Thus, people shouldn't be pressured into doing anything by religion or by some state-sponsored worship of some ideology that results in the restrainment of the majority of people, like communism or extreme capitalism that leads to dynasties of wealth being established by the bourgeois. Morality shouldn't be part of the picture, because it is philosophically unverifiable, it should be what people want to do with their time and the money they earned, if they earned it legally. Besides, just because you may be altruistic naturally doesn't mean others aren't altruistic because they are pressured by religion. I was born to a Buddhist family and remember helping people because I was afraid I would get bad karma if I didn't. I'm agnostic now so I am free of the chain (I recognize that to some religion is a good thing, but for me it was a chain) holding me back.
        • W T

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          Apr 26 2013: If you were chained to Buddhism because they instilled fear tactics that is terrible!!!

          I have never known a buddhist who acted out of fear.
          And, I lived in Asia for two years.

          Your experience is yours, and I respect that.

          But generalizing and applying your particular experience to other religious groups, is, in my opinion, not healthy.

          It sounds like you like your independence.....and that your issues are with "organized" anything, not just religion.

          No wonder that Bible encourages us to "not put trust in man."
          And also tells us that "man has dominated man to his injury."
      • Apr 26 2013: Oh and by the way, I'm sorry for not replying to you, I just couldn't seem to find the reply button on your previous comment for some reason.
        • W T

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          Apr 26 2013: That's quite all right Rajiv, I usually check up on my conversations, I'm glad I was able to read your comments.

          Be Well,
          Mary :)
      • Apr 26 2013: I was not chained to Buddhism because my parents or monks scared me into it. I was merely talking about the Buddhist notion of Karma which pressures you into acting a certain way so to get good Karma, almost every Buddhist believes in it and I was saying that this was the sole reason I was acting "good". The fact remains though that in almost every major religion there is some punishment for not acting in certain ways, in Buddhism its bad karma and for Christianity its hell. And I just pointed out that to some people like me, those deterrents are the very things holding them back and making them fearful. You're right, some people would help others naturally, so they don't even need religion, but others like me get restrained by religion and aren't free (although I am now because I'm agnostic).
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          Apr 26 2013: Ok, now I understand.

          You know, I have never spoken with a person who admitted to acting nice or doing nice things because they were afraid of karma or hell.

          Many people who study the Bible do not believe in hell. They have come to understand that the belief in an immortal soul that suffers in hell does not originate in scripture, but is of pagan origin.

          It is sad to learn that some individuals have ulterior motives for being kind, that it isn't borne in their hearts to love mankind and just do good for kindness sake, that they act kind because of something their religion has taught them.

          Perhaps you are better off as an agnostic then?

          Jesus said, "you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free".

          When I learned alot of truths about what scriptures contain and do not contain, I also felt very free from years of belief in doctrines that had their root in Greek mythology, and pagan rituals. So I kind of understand how you feel. You are welcome to learn what I have learned by visiting jw dot org and navigate the site. The site is easy to navigate and can be changed into many many languages. Many people find comfort in learning what Jesus taught when on earth. If nothing else, you will learn a little more about a different group of people that live on this planet with you. :)
  • Apr 16 2013: The comment below responds to Mary M. for some reason ted doesn't let me reply directly to her as there is no "reply" button
  • Apr 16 2013: How so, serving the highest amount of people is the definition of utilitarianism. My argument is that, since all philosophical beliefs should be equally esteemed, in that none of them has any evidence to back them up, we should scrap them and then adopt to utilitarianism. When I say all philosophical beliefs should be esteemed equally, I'm saying that they should all be thrown out, and that instead people should realize that since they're all equal philosophically, they should instead embrace practicality for the majority of themselves. Which means having a utilitarian stance and doing what's best for most of them, this stance however, is not necessarily a philosophical one because it doesn't claim to be "right" but instead practical, and it responds to most peoples' needs and desires regardless of whether that's "right" or "wrong". Your quote of me was not describing a philosophical belief, but instead a practical one that doesn't claim to be philosophically superior to any other beliefs.
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    Apr 15 2013: .
    My answer:

    Because our instincts want us to "adopt" it.

    Instincts are our ancestors' successful experiences.
    Morals are the experiences of Symbiosis,
    which make us survive in very difficult situations.
    (For details, see the 1st article, points 4-8, at
  • Apr 15 2013: we don't adopt morals we adopt laws based on morals which are innate. people have different scope in their morals and interpretations of those morals, which is the source of disagreement.
  • Apr 15 2013: Hi Rajiv,
    Do you have any opinion as to why we human beings exist on this planet?

    That being said, it seems as if you are saying that to develop and have morals is a waste of time because there are laws and we have police to enforce them.. Is that correct?

    I believe we have civic, moral and also spiritual behaviour and thus principles, and for a reason.
    • Apr 15 2013: Hello Adriaan,
      No I don't have any opinion as to why people exist on this planet. Perhaps you could consider me a philosophical agnostic in that I just don't question the presence of God but of any moral/philosophical laws. I have adopted that stance because there is no evidence regarding whether we do or do not have a reason for existing.
      • Apr 16 2013: Well, speaking from the belief system I support, it seems as if the literal text of the Bible, only tries to 'pressure' us to love God and our neighbour. It then implies that as long as we do that we'll be fine in this life become rich and have many kids :)

        In a way that is how it works. But the real result is that if we do as asked, we'll become a loving person and so by the time we die we'll be a loving person going to heaven. The quality of our (loving?) character determines our eternity.

        So the single reason why we are on this planet is so God can create a heaven from the human race. He created people so He has people (outside of Himself) He can love, be part of, and make very happy. But love and happiness can only exist in a free environment. As soon as freedom is gone so is love and this happens in any relationship.

        This was about why we are here, but when we have children they go through a process of learning which involves different levels. Right from the start a child has to learn that if I do this, I get punished. So I'll not do that again, or at least if no-one is watching. That is the level of obedience and that can be seen as the civic level. Do this or else.
        When further developing, a higher level is that of morality. If I treat people nicely, they will treat me like that also. What goes around comes around. It is easy, however, to ignore this behaviour at times. Especially if no-one is watching.
        The highest level is reached when a person, after being nice, and thoughtful, and loving, realizes this creates a great feeling and good relationships. The more one is liked for what one does, the easier it is to make that behaviour a part of our character. To love living like that. We can become a very loving person that way. At the end we don't care if people express their appreciation and thank us, because we just love doing it. We are what we love.

        This whole process and stages (days) is described in the spiritual meaning of the Creation Story.
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    Apr 14 2013: G'day Rajiv

    But isn't making murder illegal a moral stance? There are different degrees of morality for example I could make a moral law saying that no one is permitted to dive a car on the roads because it's too dangerous or I could make up moral laws giving us a right to drive on the roads but only if we follow certain governing laws that will try to keep us safe. I agree we can go over board but only in the degree of morality as all laws are supposed to be based on moral standing to some degree.

    • Apr 14 2013: No, murder isn't necessarily a moral stance. I can be against it regardless of my morality because if murder was legal the society that I'm currently able to operate in while being relatively safe would crumble.

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        Apr 15 2013: That seems like a moral rationale to me.

        How do you define morality?
        • Apr 15 2013: It isn't morality because I'm not saying that people who kill are "evil" or that god hates them. In other words, I'm not having a philosophical stance on murder. I'm just recognizing that, regardless of whether what is actually right or wrong, I want to be able to live safely and as a result, would support any law that punishes people for murder simply because of my own want, whether it is right or wrong, to live safely. In other words, my rational does not stem from a presumption or theory of philosophical truth, but instead a recognition of my own (and most other peoples')desire to live safely, regardless of whether that desire is right or wrong.
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        Apr 25 2013: So ethical systems are only moral systems if there is a god belief involved or claims of evil are involved, in your world view, or you think you have the absolute truth about what is good or bad?

        Mine position of what is ethical or moral also does not stem from a belief in some divine command or another, or that I have the absolute truth, but I am happy to debate what I think is a reasonable basis for morality in the broader sense, and consider each moral or ethical dilemma on its merits.

        One thing I dont like about your definition of morality is you are saying you and I have no morals, we are immoral because we dont subscribe to any divine command ethical system.

        I suggest you might be better off using a more typical definition of morality such as principles for determining what is right or wrong and distinguish between those that are based on logic, science and reason, and those based on divine command, scripture, revelation.

        I have a moral system, its just not based on scripture, revelation etc. I think it is actually superior to religious systems of morality.
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        Apr 27 2013: Things that improve the human condition, reduce or avoid suffering (of humans and other animals) are preferred to those that cause harm or suffering.

        Some situations are relatively straight forward. Running around raping or killing causes a lot of harm and suffering. Treating people consistently, and fairly, honest dealing, respecting the freedoms of others within limits generally improves our lives. Intent and consequences should be considered.

        The difficult moral issues involve a clash of values, or benefits for some at the expense of others. Is abortion moral involves the rights of the woman versus the fetus. What are the limits of religious freedom, is it acceptable to genitally mutilate baby boys and girls in the name of religion or tradition.
    • Apr 15 2013: i would say no, it's legal. some murders are moral (not my morals personally though), such as "honour killing" and such, the idea that to fail to kill a person or a group of people is bad. i think we make laws or rules based on our morals. the moral belief that people should be free to move about but also free from unnecessary danger results in driving laws.
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        Apr 15 2013: G'day Ben

        I am talking about murder Ben not killing in honour like a soldier would however some would also call this murderer so it really depends on ones mode of thought I suppose in what's killing & what's murder.

        I think all laws are based on morality either it to just save lives as in road laws or to kill as in soldering to again save lives but of course that's not always the case in war but it is the case in road laws.

        Rajiv is right, if all laws were morally based to too much of an extent we wouldn't defend ourselves because we would be overly moral but soldiers moral is quite different to a true Christians morals. Morals aren’t’ just morals it really depends on the principles behind these morals & one rally isn’t wrong or right over another they are just different modes of thought one lives by.

        • Apr 15 2013: i was thinking of religious "honour killing" actually, such as murdering a girl who was raped to "save" her from the disgrace.

          christian morals now there's a can of worms! thou shalt not kill, unless it's the first born of egypt etc. also we now recognise that punishing someone for the crime of another is amoral, yet it was common practice in the bible. same for collective punishment.
  • Apr 14 2013: Of course we would still have laws. Laws are a way to ensure that a society can run smoothly, they don't necessarily have to be products of morality. I can be in favor of making murder illegal because if it was made legal society would most likely crumble because gangs and assassins would be killing many people turning society into a chaotic wasteland.
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      Apr 15 2013: You are proposing a moral framework where the objective is to help society function smoothly.
      • Apr 15 2013: Yes, but not for philosophical reasons, but for selfish ones that are separate from philosophical axioms. I want society to be able to run smoothly because if it doesn't, I'm screwed. And if everyone thought like I did, the U.S. would run better because we wouldn't be obligated to care for other countries.
  • Apr 14 2013: I'm not against welfare, I think that poor people should be given a safety net and access to a quality, public education so that they can reach their full potential. That being said, morality hinders us in that it obligates us to keep parasites with inferior mental and/or physical capabilities alive, why should we do that?
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    Apr 14 2013: First of all, it seems to me that philosophy expels great energy towards many, many theories about morality, including the hopeful insight into whether morality is objective and the degree to which society impacts our moral ability to reason. The idea of a moral ability to reason in and of itself is peculiar to this argument, specifically because you argue the dislike of having to face the fact that other humans suffer and those which do not may have an obligation to help, based upon a moral justice or even sanctity thereof.

    You mention morality only hinders us, however, you must must consider an alternative viewpoint in which you were suffering, perhaps personally incurably starving or faced with a sudden onset of insanity; would this not promote the idea within yourself that other human beings should share with you, should identify the necessity of a common idea of morality? Most importantly, identifying and understand and exchanging moral goodness perpetuates the influence, providing the sort of positive and progressive relief we need - quite opposite of the acceptance of torture (I don't believe ordinary citizens should give credit to this process, only individuals trained and knowledgeable of what reality is in that situation).
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    Apr 14 2013: Rajiv, Let get to the heart of the question. Can amoral people exist within a culture and not be punished. That depends on your level. If you and I violate insider trading laws we go to jail ... however Congress does it all of the time and is immune to punishment. Morals and ethics only apply to those are members of the culture ... those who make the laws excuse themselves from the law. If you or I used our position to gain sexual favors we would be in jail ... it is okay for a sitting President. If you or I overspent our budget and was in debit for thousands of dollars we would be sued and most likely serve jail time .... however our Congress and administration do it all of the time with trillions of dollars..

    We are in a period of time where our morals and ethics are absolute for the little guy but are a moving target for the exclusive. It goes for the rich and famous also ... there is much discussion on why Tiger Woods was not disqualified for a major rules infraction .... but that would have cost advertising and viewer ratings so he was pentalized instead. If you are Catholic your marriage is sacred ... but if you are rich enough or famous enough you can get a appointment with the Pope and work things out.

    So morals do not "hinder" the elete or rich and famous. Perhaps if they did we could re-visit this conversation and reword it ... Should the moral code of the culture include all members .... are there exceptions?

    I wish you well. Bob.
    • Apr 14 2013: Those things are unfair, but morals aren't needed to resolve those problems, just public awareness of the rich and powerful and their actions. Once public awareness is achieved, something the general public will surely want because it will empower its members we will be able to check the power of the rich and famous. The fact remains though that morals can only serve to hurt us by obligating us to do impractical things such as keeping unproductive people alive who have no potential (like seriously mentally disabled people) and depend on the state for their welfare.
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    Apr 14 2013: Morals are agreed to tacitly therefore not adopted. They are a accumulation of what is agreed to by the members of the culture.

    Yup they may not create better survival for the members. But they are a meme and people are not a ware that they practice them.