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maurile
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Quote:
On 2002-03-30 21:59, Jeb Sherrill wrote:
It is a matter that if a certain system is created . . . then whatever is right for that system is what "morality" is and only the creator could know that for certain . . .


I don't know whether Socrates would argue with that. It's not a claim that morals come directly from God (i.e., X is moral because God says so), but rather, it's a claim that morality is dictated by the nature of the world, and only God knows the full extent of that nature. In other words, based on the text I quoted above, it looks like Sable's position is that, on matters of morality, God is more of an expert witness than a dictator ("only the creator could know . . .").

If that's not your position, Sable, please correct me. If it is your position, I don't think it's inconsistent with Socrates' argument that morals can't come (directly) from gods.
Burt Yaroch
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How about we apply simple logic to the question at hand:

Ethics are derived solely from God.
Person X does not believe in God.
Person X does not believe in ethics.

As one cannot even begin to propose a working hypothesis to prove God exists, it seems rather far fetched to go one further and state that my sense of right and wrong is based upon Him. This is solely a matter of faith.

But since it is still being argued let me put this question to the proponents of this belief:

How is it that God imparts us with this morality, with our ethics? Is it through scripture? Continued divine intervention? Genetic encoding?

(As I believe the majority of modern day Christians to be other than biblical literalists let's please not throw out the book of Genesis as your proof. I will conceed that point here and now.) Smile
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Jeb Sherrill
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Maurilie does define my point well and Yak adds an interesting equation. This is why I had to concede that Socrates' view of God probably skewed his reasoning (from my view of course).

It could be said that Morality does come from God (we are assuming the existence of God for the moment), in that he created the system and that morality was created by him in that it is what moves correctly through the system (so to speak, I'm not sure if that came out right). It could also be said that morality came from God, in that he stated morality (handed down certain laws). I suppose the point I'm trying to make (which is perhaps the same point you are making) is that by stating laws, God is not "making" morality, but simply stating fact as the universe is concerned and He would have the best understanding of the system He created (our translation of those laws being another matter).

One need not believe in God to have ethics as morality is inherent to reality itself anymore than a Christian need believe in gravity to hit the ground when he falls. Morality can be reasoned as well, because reality can be reasoned (to a greater or lesser extent). It could be argued that our ability to reason morality and our ability to translate "Devine edict" are probably equal and I would not be one to disagree.

Sable
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Jeb Sherrill
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As one cannot even begin to propose a working hypothesis to prove God exists, it seems rather far fetched to go one further and state that my sense of right and wrong is based upon Him. This is solely a matter of faith.


Yak,
I must assume you mean this from purely scientific standpoint, because it would be very easy to hypothesize that the universe is proof that God exists (the precise nature of God being a matter of ongoing conjecture). Science can hardly prove itself either. The best it can do is prove that to a greater or lesser extent, its theories work on a limited basis (that being as far as they can be tested). This is why science is constantly reworked as scientists constantly find that scientists before them were wrong and their hypothesis must be rethought. Just to sight a slight example, Einstein’s theories versus Newton's. And one day someone will prove Einstein wrong. Einstein thought Quantum Physics was rubbish, but it now proves itself today, to a greater or lesser extent. I'm afraid that everything from religion to science to philosophy is all a matter of faith. Our very existence is a matter of faith.
Thank heavens philosophy doesn't bare any burden of proof (it makes my life a lot easier Smile ).

Are we off the subject yet? Smile

Sable
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Yes I was speaking from the viewpoint of the sciences above, perhaps I should not have. But since I'm there let be take the arguement one step further with this hypothesis.

If you take a child from birth and sustain it's life with basic human needs, but remove from that childs development any form of sociologial or cultural interaction will that child develop the knowlege of right and wrong? Essentially, if no one teaches this child ethics, will it be imparted by God?
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Allan-F
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Quote:
On 2002-03-31 02:35, Jeb Sherrill wrote:
by stating laws, God is not "making" morality, but simply stating fact as the universe is concerned and He would have the best understanding of the system He created


Maurile is, I think, correct. Sable is not really disagreeing with Socrates at all. As I said in my original post, it is still perfectly defensible to say that "God knows best," since he is the one who created the system. The point is that the essence of morality is not its being decreed by God, even a God-creator or even an omniscient God. Such a God may well know best, but he makes his decisions on what is moral based on reasons other than their having been decreed by him. God loves what is good because it is good, and being all-knowing (or at least the creator), he is in the best position to know what is good (that is not my view, but it is a sensible one and perfectly consistent with Socrates's point--I think it is essentially Sable's view).

My point was this: Socrates showed that the argument that atheists and agnostics cannot have any foundation for a belief in absolute moral standards, simply because God is required for such, is ill-founded.

There are, by the way, many Christians theologians who agree with Socrates on this point, and do in fact believe that God loves the good because it is good, rather than its being good because God loves it. Also, keep in mind, that Socrates did not really advance any particular view of his own in all this. He was only trying to show that the ideas about morality and its foundation in vogue at the time were not well thought out.
Allan-F

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Jeb Sherrill
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On 2002-03-31 12:36, yakandjak wrote:

If you take a child from birth and sustain it's life with basic human needs, but remove from that childs development any form of sociologial or cultural interaction will that child develop the knowlege of right and wrong? Essentially, if no one teaches this child ethics, will it be imparted by God?

This is a good question and one that of course they've been debating for years. They would probably try it if it just weren't inhumane to do so.

It's a tough question all around, because if you remove a child from society, the possibility of ethics is somewhat cut down just by the fact that there's no one around to be immoral to. A Christian might state that morality would be given to him (stated to him) by God, but again, who will he be immoral to. Of course, I assume the child would eventually be released into society and then we'd see.

It is my opinion that morality (being inherent to the universe) would be learned one way or the other through trial and error, and the child’s hereditary personality would determine to what extent he followed it. If you burn yourself by touching fire, you learn. Morality is the same, only far more complicated. If you fall down, you hit the ground, it hurts ect. These things would be much easier to learn with proper (whatever that is) upbringing, but people do appear able to learn right from wrong regardless of upbringing, though we are still uncertain as to how exactly it happens. Also, learning right from wrong, does not necessarily mean they choose right.

A child with a moral upbringing my turn out to have low morals. Perhaps his inherent personality rebels against morality, or perhaps it rebels against authority in general. Therefore, perhaps he would have come out moral if raised by immoral parents. This could be switched around of course, and examples of all (moral children/immoral parents, immoral children/immoral parents and the reverse), have been found.

Hmmmm...now what about clones?


Sable
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Jeb Sherrill
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Allen,
Well put. My only real problem with Socrates is that I feel he should have looked beyond the constraints of his own culture’s view of God, but given his variables, he is correct. I also feel that any Christian theologian, who agrees with him, should perhaps look again at their own view of God.

Christians do seem to feel a certain monopoly on "Truth", "Morality", etc., and I find this to be very limited thinking in the same way.

Allen makes an excellent illustration of "Natural Law" as opposed to "Arbitrary Law", and I’ll go into that a little later.

I will say (and perhaps this is too close to a rigid opinion), but I feel that by anthropomorphizing God, it has led to these ideas of Arbitrary law. It should really be viewed closer to the way laws are (or at least should) be enacted in a government.


A law: Don't drive both ways on a one-way street.
Biblical version:Thou shalt not drive both ways on a one way street.

Why: Because you can get killed if you do. Not because the government will shoot you for doing it, but because you will hit someone and die.
Biblical version:For in that day, thou shall die. (Same reason really, just stated in a simpler, harsher way)

Morality should be looked at in much the same way. The only problem, is that, it is much harder to see the repercussions of many moral or immoral actions, as it is difficult for our human minds to calculate many of them. This is perhaps why many Christians (whether they realize it or not), state that only God can give, state, bequeath morality; because only he can calculate the repercussions on a global, long term level.


Sable
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maurile
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I think I agree with everything Sable just said (two posts ago), but I'll add another few thoughts anyway.

I believe it's likely that morality is largely hard-wired into us -- i.e., it's more a matter of genetics than of environment or social conditioning.

As C.S. Lewis observed in Mere Christianity, all human cultures seem to share the same basic moral principles. Sympathy for those in need of help, and anger toward those who victimize others, are universal human traits. If morality was just a cultural thing, we'd expect it to differ from place to place, and from time to time, the same way languages differ. But the moralities of different cultures tend to be much more similar than they are different (although differences do exist).

That our moral sense is an evolved trait -- an adaptation shaped by natural selection -- is a theme that runs through evolutionary psychology. (See, for example, The Moral Animal by Robert Wright; or The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley.) If that's the case, it explains why basic human morality is shared to such a large extent in so many different cultures. And it also predicts, tentatively, that a person who grows up on an island, in isolation, will develop a basic moral sense that will be not so different from our own. (I say "tentatively" because, as Sable pointed out, there won't be anyone around for him to be immoral to. His moral sense will be unrefined, perhaps underdeveloped. But I bet he'd pick it up quickly once he starts interacting with others.)

So my answer to Yak's question is: yes, a child raised in isolation will probably develop at least a rudimentary (but unrefined) knowledge of right and wrong. Not necessarily "imparted by God" -- but imparted by instinct. He'll know, without having to be taught, that torturing others for entertainment is wrong just as he'll know, without having to be taught, that bananas taste better than dirt. Such things are a matter of genetic programming.
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Well Friends, Although it is not hundred percent agreeable for me to all above, it is because of the society,the location and the cultural differences where I have been brought up. No matter there may be minor differences in the values, Basically they are all oriented to the betterment of humanity. So to speak, I think that I have had a very heavy course of "ethics" here. I am sure it will help me alot.!!!
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