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A concept of objective morality is not necessarily a good thing. It can be harmful.

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  • A concept of objective morality is not necessarily a good thing. It can be harmful.

    This is because (in the context of Christianity) it requires two conditions to be met:-

    1) That an action be God's will, or in accordance with God's will.

    2) That a person accept or agree that it is God's will.



    It's at point 2) that the concept of objective morality either does good or does harm, because it's what the person perceives about God that is key here.

  • #2
    Um, what? Condition 2 makes no sense. An objective reality doesn't depend on the perception of it or the acceptance of it.

    I presume with Condition 1 you're referring to moral acts - if it is meant to refer to morality as a case, then that doesn't make sense, either.

    Seriously, I don't get your logic here.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by rwatts View Post
      This is because (in the context of Christianity) it requires two conditions to be met:-

      1) That an action be God's will, or in accordance with God's will.

      2) That a person accept or agree that it is God's will.



      It's at point 2) that the concept of objective morality either does good or does harm, because it's what the person perceives about God that is key here.
      First, if there is no objective moral standard then how do you even begin to define good or bad?

      Second, even if no one agrees what constitutes God's will, the standard would still exist. Just as if all creatures were born color blind the color red would still exist.
      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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      • #4
        Besides, there is the implicit assumption of an objective morality apart from God's will, unless people are willing to agree that sometimes God's will is bad.
        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

        [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rwatts View Post
          This is because (in the context of Christianity) it requires two conditions to be met:-

          1) That an action be God's will, or in accordance with God's will.

          2) That a person accept or agree that it is God's will.

          It's at point 2) that the concept of objective morality either does good or does harm, because it's what the person perceives about God that is key here.
          Yes, I think that is a good point. William Lane Craig, in his arguments for God's existence, strongly distinguishes between the ideas of moral ontology (the origin for morality) and moral epistemology (how we can know what morality dictates). An example is here:
          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/keepi...ology-distinct

          Craig focuses on moral ontology in his arguments, and fair enough. But when we turn to moral epistemology, which I think is the point of the OP, we become stuck. Assuming the existence of an objective morality, how do we then decide what morals are part of that objective morality?

          As a liberal Christian, I don't see the Bible as the solution, since too many people in history have never had access to it in the first place. So I believe the solution is that God somehow imprints us all with a knowledge of good and evil. That would meet the two conditions above.
          Last edited by GakuseiDon; 05-10-2014, 09:01 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rwatts View Post
            This is because (in the context of Christianity) it requires two conditions to be met:-

            1) That an action be God's will, or in accordance with God's will.

            2) That a person accept or agree that it is God's will.



            It's at point 2) that the concept of objective morality either does good or does harm, because it's what the person perceives about God that is key here.
            So, in other words, if our moral epistemology informs us that it is morally correct to own slaves (as long as we treat them nicely), this could have harmful ramifications (like the slave trade).

            Yes, I can see this possibility.

            I suppose this is why Dr. Craig advises the Christian Apologist to steer the conversation away from moral epistemology and focus only on moral ontology (some one "thing" [deity] is the origin of morality; thus it is possible to discern TRUE morality).

            Is this the gist of what you are saying, rwatts?

            NORM
            When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
              Um, what? Condition 2 makes no sense. An objective reality doesn't depend on the perception of it or the acceptance of it.

              I presume with Condition 1 you're referring to moral acts - if it is meant to refer to morality as a case, then that doesn't make sense, either.

              Seriously, I don't get your logic here.

              I think it does depend on a person's perception, because that's all I ever see. It's people making the claim for God's objective morality, God's will and so on.

              I think it's why we often end up with debates as to who really is the true Christian and who is the heretic.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by seer View Post
                First, if there is no objective moral standard then how do you even begin to define good or bad?
                Culture is a great place to start that definition.

                Originally posted by seer
                Second, even if no one agrees what constitutes God's will, the standard would still exist. Just as if all creatures were born color blind the color red would still exist.
                So you assert.

                But in practice, all I see is you making decisions and (implicitly) declaring it to be God's will. I assert that it is not God's will.

                If you can prove to me that it is is God's will, then with as much evidence as you offer, I will prove that it is not.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                  Besides, there is the implicit assumption of an objective morality apart from God's will, unless people are willing to agree that sometimes God's will is bad.
                  Well I think that if we can agree that sometimes God's will is good, then at other times we should agree that it is bad.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GakuseiDon View Post
                    Yes, I think that is a good point. William Lane Craig, in his arguments for God's existence, strongly distinguishes between the ideas of moral ontology (the origin for morality) and moral epistemology (how we can know what morality dictates). An example is here:
                    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/keepi...ology-distinct

                    Craig focuses on moral ontology in his arguments, and fair enough. But when we turn to moral epistemology, which I think is the point of the OP, we become stuck. Assuming the existence of an objective morality, how do we then decide what morals are part of that objective morality?

                    As a liberal Christian, I don't see the Bible as the solution, since too many people in history have never had access to it in the first place. So I believe the solution is that God somehow imprints us all with a knowledge of good and evil. That would meet the two conditions above.
                    Yes.

                    These "I have the objective morality, you don't" arguments always seem to come unstuck at two points:-

                    1) The claims one comes across between people of two groups within Christendom each claiming to be the true Christian while the other is the heretic.

                    2) I've met many folk who claim an objective, God given morality, and who also claim the most intimate of relationships with God, to be guided on a daily basis by his Holy Spirit, and to have a wisdom and discernment beyond any I can hope to have. Yet they go on to write mistaken things about their opponents and often the goofiest of things. (In a few cases I know of, such folk come across as habitual liars, without a conscience).


                    Given the above, certainty about God seems to be a human foible, and claims to an objective morality, dubious at best.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rwatts View Post
                      Well I think that if we can agree that sometimes God's will is good, then at other times we should agree that it is bad.
                      Why? And what do you mean by "God's will"? If God is omnipotent and evil exists (or even if, following C.S. Lewis, evil is a non-existence, an absence of good, rather than something that positively exists), then its existence must in some sense be within God's will, since God at least tolerates it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                        So, in other words, if our moral epistemology informs us that it is morally correct to own slaves (as long as we treat them nicely), this could have harmful ramifications (like the slave trade).

                        Yes, I can see this possibility.

                        I suppose this is why Dr. Craig advises the Christian Apologist to steer the conversation away from moral epistemology and focus only on moral ontology (some one "thing" [deity] is the origin of morality; thus it is possible to discern TRUE morality).

                        Is this the gist of what you are saying, rwatts?

                        NORM
                        I guess I am trying to say that I have a big problem with this notion of a God given objective morality. If there is such a thing as a God given "thou shalt not kill", then an awful lot of people find times when it is better to kill than not to kill.

                        That is, this objective morality becomes vague, and not every one who believes in that objectivity, can agree on exactly what it means because while some argue that a particular war is just, others would argue that it is not.

                        At day's end, I think the notion is unhelpful. If people are going to use it, then they need to be somewhat nuanced in how they do so.
                        Last edited by rwatts; 05-10-2014, 10:47 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                          Why? And what do you mean by "God's will"? If God is omnipotent and evil exists (or even if, following C.S. Lewis, evil is a non-existence, an absence of good, rather than something that positively exists), then its existence must in some sense be within God's will, since God at least tolerates it.
                          I have a problem with that. Are you saying that the evil is good because it is "in some sense within God's will"? (Presuming that everything God does, is by definition, good).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rwatts View Post
                            I guess I am trying to say that I have a big problem with this notion of a God given objective morality.
                            As do I. It sets us up for some fool who convinces his "flock" that homosexuality is a choice.

                            Originally posted by rwatts View Post
                            If there is such a thing as a God given "thou shalt not kill", then an awful lot of people find times when it is better to kill than not to kill.

                            That is, this objective morality becomes vague, and not every one who believes in that objectivity, can agree on exactly what it means because while some argue that a particular war is just, others would argue that it is not.

                            At day's end, I think the notion is unhelpful. If people are going to use it, then they need to be somewhat nuanced in how they do so.
                            Yes, a little humility goes a long way. How about using the words "I think that G-d is saying...." rather than, "G-d says..."

                            NORM
                            When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                              As do I. It sets us up for some fool who convinces his "flock" that homosexuality is a choice.



                              Yes, a little humility goes a long way. How about using the words "I think that G-d is saying...." rather than, "G-d says..."

                              NORM
                              Yes. I kind of like that. It keeps things open for communication, discussion and decision making.

                              I'm an atheist, but I can kind of live with those words.

                              Comment

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