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Your beliefs on where Morality comes from?

C.S Lewis (Christian apologist) and Freud ("touchstone" to atheism) had opposing views on this topic, what are your views?

  • Apr 30 2013: The problem with those who would argue that God is not the source of good morals is that they have no basis to construct a morality that is devoid of the influence of those who worship or fear what they call god. It is only in modernity that is bent on eschewing God having convinced themselves of their own superiority, that this foolishness has gained foothold. Of course, my question to them is, "By what objective standard is it derived that man is the highest form of life that we know?"

    Show me a human grown to adulthood in isolation (the morals can be derived without a God argument) and I will show you a very self-centered, greedy, prone to violence and murderous individual; in other words, one possessed of very bad morals indeed. What this generation is want to deny (that morals are objectively established by God), is the very thing that they can not escape as the influence that permeates the society they have inescapably inherited and in which permeates their social constructs.

    The thing to remember is that morals can be lost when not transmitted through the generations, and transmitting through the generations is one of the tasks set for us to do by God. Witness where we are going---Promethean and self-absorbed.
    • Apr 30 2013: No gods could be the source of morals because they don't exist. Therefore our morals have always being human. From the horrifying morals of the old testament to the best of the Mahatmas. It does not matter if we could or could not be influenced morally from those who believe in gods, the morals are still far from being of divine origin, which is easily demonstrable. Just look at that old testament for an example. As I said: horrifying.

      If some of these fictional characters called gods were "objective standards," we would find it impossible to develop moralities. Things change from one god to the next, from a god in one story to the same god in the next story. However, we have objective pinpoints to develop morality, namely, our need to be able to rely on each other for survival, our understanding of pain and suffering. None of these require gods.

      But that's only a start. Yet a start that has allowed us to grow up and understand that, for example, slavery harmed many people. That women should have a right to vote, that not being a virgin is not a reason to deserve death. We've been able to reject other things that people have justified for being written in their sacred books, rather than reason about it.

      It is not easy at all. We have a lot of growing up to do. But that's all we have. Fantasizing that gods can solve the problems for us won't work very well though.
      • Apr 30 2013: Your argument seems like the claim that one has a firm grasp of the tree as they work to cut off the limb that holds them up.
        • May 1 2013: Come on. How is recognizing pain and suffering, or the need to be able to rely on each other as gregarious animals that we are, cutting off the limb that's holding us up? Are you saying that morals are rather meaningless except for being commands from a god? (Leaving aside the little problem that gods don't exist.) Is that what you call objective? If so, you have a definition of objective that contradicts what is normally defined as objective. Either you can think about it or you can't. But don't just ignore the answer, please. Think about it this time.
      • May 1 2013: "Either you can think about it or you can't"---indeed. One can think about the meaning of the tree, the branch one claims for themself as the tree and the severing of the limb from the tree to render the limb they have claimed for themself in time dead and termite eaten---or one can't.
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    Apr 30 2013: Our experiences and our education.
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    Apr 29 2013: Self is the source of morality. The simple test question for children and adults; Does it hurt?

    Answer: No is good, Answer: Yes is bad

    Hoped for result "Lesson Learned"

    Another test question for children and adults; Can I help?

    Good is stop, reduce, fix, prevent ... the hurt, lack of response to hurt is bad.

    The child, adult, individual owns their own morality.

    IOW: The gods are not needed for judgement, any human can judge themselves and others, if everything is known and the person is not sociopath. I did not say morality is easy to determine.
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    Apr 28 2013: Sorry if I sound strange, I think morality comes from our mortality. I think we would have been very different had we been immortal or extremely short lived. Our morality can come from purely objective view of life, the common greater good and a rather shorter life span compared to our aspirations and imaginative qualities.
    It's a pity religion hijacked it.
    • Apr 28 2013: Pabitra, what an interesting thought.

      Do you know what the holy scriptures say regarding morality?

      Let me share this with you:

      " For whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves.  They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused."

      I have understood from reading this and discussing it with others that the scriptures appear to be saying that we humans have a built in moral code. Whether or not we attribute it to our Creator, that's a diferrent matter.

      I would ammend your last statement to read: "Some" Religions have hijacked morality.

      From many discussions with people from diferrent religious backgrounds, I have come to learn that not everyone calling themselves christians or muslims or hindus put faith in God. Many are a law unto themselves and have little respect for the word of God or for the church Fathers or church doctrine.
      Some, independent of being from a religion, have their own moral code, which they adjust accordingly each time it suits them. This is our free will at work.
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    Apr 28 2013: A mix of nature, nurture, experience, and your own enquiry and choices.

    We are social animals. Our ancestors have probably been living in groups longer than we have been homo sapiens, so group dynamics are important and seem to have been an evolutionary force.

    However with our intellect we are capable of considering what is right or wrong far beyond basic group dynamics.
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    Apr 27 2013: Our desire for well being and our concepts of what will secure that well being. Culture, religion, politics, laws, environmental conditioning, and our own psychological makeup all play a part in how our own individual concepts of what will secure well being emerge.
  • May 2 2013: It seems self-evident that good morals come from God, Who being our Creator knows best how we function; and that bad morals spring from man alone, who has shown himself capable of rationalizing and justifying anything to himself. A mixture of the two renders mixed results.
  • Apr 30 2013: As we raise our children they go through different levels. First the civic level of obedience, then the moral level of being good and respected. Hopefully after that onto the spiritual level of love to the neighbour.
    (CS Lewis was also a reader of Swedenborg)

    Morality is inclusive of the entire human life with the 'neighbour' in societies. Thus moral truths relate to the things of every person's life in regard to companionship and social relations - to what is sincere and right, and to virtues of every kind. Moral good, which is human good itself, is the rational good according to which people live with other people as a brother, sister and companion. Moral life is to act well, sincerely and justly in all things; and moral wisdom consists in the practise of all the virtues which look to life and enter into it.
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    Apr 28 2013: Morality comes from many sources. But popular opinion is what determines what is morally acceptable and what is not.
    For example, owning slaves was considered to be morally acceptable behavior and now it isn't.
    Morality is our definition of what is right, and its constantly evolving along with our increasing understanding of life.
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    Apr 28 2013: Maybe it comes frome our genes, that human beings learned to do it over time and thus became heredity.

    But I think good morals should come from our knowledge that we are basically all the same. We are all human beings.

    Although I don't believe that criminals have any kind of good morals, at least who do harm intentionally.
    • Apr 29 2013: Tedor,
      "Although I don't believe that criminals have any kind of good morals, at least who do harm intentionally. "

      So you're good people and they're bad people? Is that it?
      Morals mean good and bad and are responses to ones environment.
      They are not necessarily indicative of a person "being a bad person", but a person who is responding to the threats of their environment in order to survive.
      If you have never lived in those kinds of environments you will not understand.
      Likewise, if you live by your comment, you will not understand either.
      You don't have to understand if you don't wish to but that is then choosing to remain ignorant and ignoring truth that exists and needs to be recognized.

      Experience is of supreme value in life.
      Good judgment comes from experience.
      Experience comes from bad judgment.
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        Apr 29 2013: What I mean by criminals is people who kill other people especially, OTHER BAD BEHAVIOR CAN BE JUSTIFIED BY THE INVIRONMENT. And I mention INTENTIONALLY, that is by willing it and for no good reason.

        I don't believe there are good and bad people. I mentioned that we are all human beings. Moreover I believe that everyone has his circumstances.

        About morals, I think that good behavior should come from our knowledge that we all the same in a way and we should treat others as we like to be treated.

        I know that there are very hard enviroments that lead people to do anything, but I don't think that killing should be accepted!

        I treat all people with good morals. That's my judgement and it comes from my thought.

        What do you think? Please clarify if I missed any point of yours.
  • Apr 27 2013: Morality is a tough one because of The Observer. It is so complicated because Morality is the embodiment of who a person is. Social factors play in by influencing the general idea of what Morality is. Society being the fickle beast of time changes decade to decade. Not to mention things like economics, a person who needs money (leader with an accent who wants oil), Endangerment, and if you really want to get Quantum, the reality the individual perceives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUyqfUut8lA
  • Apr 27 2013: Morality is a learned behavior. Like other learned behavior it is a combination of what nature instills in a person as instinctive actions necessary to survive, observations of actions and weighted influence of other people, the geographic location and culture local to the person, and their own experiences and interactions with people.

    Wiki has a neat definition of morality:

    Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong). The philosophy of morality is ethics. A moral code is a system of morality (according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness." Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. opposition to that which is good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles. An example of a moral code is the Golden Rule which states that, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality)
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    Apr 27 2013: The culture
  • Apr 27 2013: Morality is subject to changing views.

    it is morally correct for people to kill a person with a gun who is about to kill 5 people with a bomb in most of the psychology tests. why is murder morally correct if it is to save 5 at the cost of 1? a murder is after all a murder.

    now moral police go around chasing hippies and dopers, without giving it a thought that it is their schools and institutions that bestow upon the children the insecurity and peer pressure which needs to be dealt with in a doped manner by the child's mind.

    children are mallable. its not their fault they have to deal with creativity suppression and social benchmarks, is it?

    so if we contradict each philosopher about what truely is morality, we would be left with the most logical solution that - IN EVERY ERA, CIVILIZATION SETS FOR ITSELF SOME RULES THAT, IF FOLLOWED, WOULD BEST SERVE THE PURPOSES OF THE LEADERS AND PROVIDE HARMONIOUS ADMINISTRATION OF THE MASSES.

    these sets of rules are TAGGED morality, so people would blindly accept them and move along, without resistance.

    so want a person dead? tag him a ConMan and society will kill him while he's alive. that's morality for you.
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    Apr 27 2013: Morality is programmed into us by our creator, we are free to heed it or to ignore it.

    :-)
  • Apr 27 2013: Maybe we need a phenomonolgy where both are right.
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    Apr 27 2013: morality comes from energy, or light given to every man and women who come to this earth. this light grows or diminishes based on choice we make through out life. did i choose doubt to move backward or did i choose belief + action to move froward. there are eternal laws that when obeyed constantly give is honor or power over certain things. this power or light comes is given to us from god who is over all light. his requirements are governing principles that if adhered to we are free and more is given to us. when we seek to use those principles or power given to us for selfish ways we loose that honor and trust given to us by god ultimately. the first person that suffers is us. we loose faith in ourselves then others then ultimately that power leaves us. the ability to be a blessing to another is forfeited and the relationship wich is the greatest joy is nullified.
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      Apr 27 2013: "given to every man and women who come to this earth"

      Is it given to other apes as well, in your opinion? If not, how do you explain non-human morality?
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        Apr 27 2013: I believe all creatures are subject to whatever light god has bestowed upon that creature and is left according to his own agency to act in its own sphere of influence. he is rewarded by natural laws. If he obeys them he is added unto if he does not he decreases. To who much is given much is required. With great power great responsibility. I think the life of pie is a great example of this. He gives a metaphor where he takes carnal side of humans or the animalistic nature of humans and personifies them as animals. A tiger as himself, a cjimp as his mother, a hiena as a bad man.. Once all the creatures are killed he is left with a tiger. Him as the intelligence inside him and the tiger. Or the natural man the creature the animal. His father teaches him a very valuable lesson. The tiger is not your friend and will never be your friend. Then has his boy watch the tiger kill and drag a goat away.