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Atheists: Is Murder Acceptable With You?


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#41 jonas5877

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:17 AM

I know it's only been 2 days but I am surprised that there are no responses. I am posting so the thread will stay high up on the list.

What's the point of having absolute morality if you have no practical way of telling it from morals based on societal norms?

#42 jonas5877

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 05:29 AM

I suppose I should change the thread title to, "Why is murder wrong". I still haven't seen anything that tells me WHY.

Again, if we are just a bunch of molecules, that over billions of years, went from a big lifeless rock and evolved to what we are today (humans), why is it wrong if your average Joe wants to kill someone? Yes, society, laws, etc say (in general) it is wrong. Why?

Why is it wrong according to the Bible? What is the reason that God tells us not to do it?

What are the Biblical requirements to classify a particular killing as "murder"? Was the killing of Achan (Joshua 7) murder? Why or why not.

Dictionary.com:

mur·der (noun)

1. Law . the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).



Why is murder wrong from a secular point of view? I don't want to be killed on the whim of another individual so I think my killing of another person is morally incorrect. I guess thats a "do unto others" type of rationalization.

From society's point of view, allowing indescriminate killing without punishing the killer is damaging to good order and affects the stability of that society and, thus, the stability of the government.

#43 JayShel

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:01 AM

I know it's only been 2 days but I am surprised that there are no responses. I am posting so the thread will stay high up on the list.

What's the point of having absolute morality if you have no practical way of telling it from morals based on societal norms?


Strange, I thought I responded to you already, I must have just thought I did. Bear with me, I have been a bit busy lately. I will type up my response when I can.

#44 jonas5877

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:11 AM

Strange, I thought I responded to you already, I must have just thought I did. Bear with me, I have been a bit busy lately. I will type up my response when I can.

Thanks. I'm not in a hurry to get a response, but I know that these threads disappear if someone isn't writing in them. So, I will write something every few days to keep this topic "hot".

Can anyone give an example of an action that is always morally correct and which another person can see that it is morally correct?

#45 jonas5877

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 04:55 AM

Just got through the storm that was Sandy. Not much damage to my stuff and my family is safe. I hope everyone here made it through safely.

Just keeping the topic high on the list.

What particular physical action by a person is always considered immoral according to the Bible.

#46 jonas5877

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:15 AM

Bump for anyone wanting to discuss absolute morality and the support for it in the Bible

#47 Tirian

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:36 AM

Bump for anyone wanting to discuss absolute morality and the support for it in the Bible


This is an interesting topic, but hard. But first I'd like to point out that I believe that objective morality needs God, or as the moral argument goes:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
And that argument does not depend on your understanding of Gods objective moral values from reading the Bible.

#48 jonas5877

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:53 AM

This is an interesting topic, but hard. But first I'd like to point out that I believe that objective morality needs God, or as the moral argument goes:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
And that argument does not depend on your understanding of Gods objective moral values from reading the Bible.

1. Not sure this is true, logically but I am willing to accept this.
2. What is your evidence that objective moral values exist? Name one objective moral value.
3. Without 2 being shown to be true, this cannot be true.

#49 Tirian

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:36 AM

1. Not sure this is true, logically but I am willing to accept this.
2. What is your evidence that objective moral values exist? Name one objective moral value.
3. Without 2 being shown to be true, this cannot be true.


Well if 2 is not true, then this argument is not correct. But earlier you stated that it was not OK to kill kids and own black slaves. But if there are no objective moral then killing kids or owning slaves are neither right or wrong. It just a question of personal preferences. Also another thing to think about is that if objective moral values do exist, they are discovered not invented.

So let's say that someone tortured small children in some imaginary country. And also imagine that this torturing was legal in that country. Would you become upset about that? If you get upset you have an example of something you believe is an objective moral value. If on the other hand a person in that country liked the color green. Would you become upset? Why is that not upsetting but torturing small children is, if both are just personal preferences that may change depending on culture and person.

So yes I would say that torturing small children is a good example of an objective moral value.

#50 jonas5877

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:55 AM

Well if 2 is not true, then this argument is not correct. But earlier you stated that it was not OK to kill kids and own black slaves. But if there are no objective moral then killing kids or owning slaves are neither right or wrong. It just a question of personal preferences. Also another thing to think about is that if objective moral values do exist, they are discovered not invented.

So let's say that someone tortured small children in some imaginary country. And also imagine that this torturing was legal in that country. Would you become upset about that? If you get upset you have an example of something you believe is an objective moral value. If on the other hand a person in that country liked the color green. Would you become upset? Why is that not upsetting but torturing small children is, if both are just personal preferences that may change depending on culture and person.

So yes I would say that torturing small children is a good example of an objective moral value.

Why is torturing small children a good example of an object moral value? What makes it so? Your abhorance of it? What is intrinsic about that action that makes it an objective moral value (I assume it is an example of a wrong moral value)? What if they knew the location of a nuclear device in Washington DC but refused to give you that information? 5.4 million people, including yourself and those children are going to die in 12 hours if you don't find that bomb. Is it now a wrong objective moral value?

What if God told you to torture some small children? Would it then be a right objective moral value? Saying that God wouldn't ask you to do that is only side-stepping the question.

As for me, I say it is wrong because I would not want it to be done to me. I would be upset about the torture. However, I don't know all the circumstances.

#51 gilbo12345

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:35 PM

Why is torturing small children a good example of an object moral value? What makes it so? Your abhorance of it? What is intrinsic about that action that makes it an objective moral value (I assume it is an example of a wrong moral value)? What if they knew the location of a nuclear device in Washington DC but refused to give you that information? 5.4 million people, including yourself and those children are going to die in 12 hours if you don't find that bomb. Is it now a wrong objective moral value?

What if God told you to torture some small children? Would it then be a right objective moral value? Saying that God wouldn't ask you to do that is only side-stepping the question.

As for me, I say it is wrong because I would not want it to be done to me. I would be upset about the torture. However, I don't know all the circumstances.


Because it is wrong. As Tirian said, without objective moral values then EVERYTHING is up to mere personal preference... Therefore no-one can be convicted of a crime since there is no wrongdoing as its just down to personal preference.

Lets say a man molests a child, most people would find that disgusting and horrific however if there is no objective moral values then whilst we may feel that such an act is evil, there would be no grounds to claim as such since the person who did such a thing can claim that they see it as "morally good".

Therefore the foundations of a society are actually created from concepts taken from Religion, (Religion was also the cause for Science), so its quite ironic that modern society is attempting to reject Religion on the grounds that it doesn't do any good for society.

#52 Tirian

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:56 AM

Why is torturing small children a good example of an object moral value? What makes it so? Your abhorance of it? What is intrinsic about that action that makes it an objective moral value (I assume it is an example of a wrong moral value)? What if they knew the location of a nuclear device in Washington DC but refused to give you that information? 5.4 million people, including yourself and those children are going to die in 12 hours if you don't find that bomb. Is it now a wrong objective moral value?

What if God told you to torture some small children? Would it then be a right objective moral value? Saying that God wouldn't ask you to do that is only side-stepping the question.

As for me, I say it is wrong because I would not want it to be done to me. I would be upset about the torture. However, I don't know all the circumstances.


Yes torturing small children was given as an example of something that is objectively evil / morally wrong. And what you tried to do was just to give a circumstance where something would justify breaking the moral law. And there are really only two choices here as gilbo pointed out. Either it is always morally wrong to torture small children or there do not exist any moral law that governs if torturing children is right or wrong.

All this is just to make a point that belief in objective moral values are not dependent on some specific understanding of the Bible, but rather it comes from personal reflection and experience. C.S. Lewis wrote a lot about moral values in his book Mere Christianity. And one of his argument for the existence of objective moral values might be summarized as follows:

1. If ethics is subjective, then we should expect people to recognize that actions which they are inclined to think of as "wrong" are only wrong from their point of view.
2. But invariably, people view wrongs against themselves as actions that are really wrong.
3. Therefore moral values are objective and not subjective.

So do you believe objective moral values exists or not?

#53 jonas5877

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:20 AM

Yes torturing small children was given as an example of something that is objectively evil / morally wrong. And what you tried to do was just to give a circumstance where something would justify breaking the moral law. And there are really only two choices here as gilbo pointed out. Either it is always morally wrong to torture small children or there do not exist any moral law that governs if torturing children is right or wrong.

But God ordered the deaths of small children before. Does that mean that God ordered something that broke a moral law? If He would do that, how can we trust that what He is telling us is morally right? If His ordering of the deaths of children was not morally wrong then particular actions (killing or torturing children for instance) are only morally wrong under particular circumstances. Which one is it? Can God require us to perform a morally wrong action or do the circumstances determine the moral value of a particular action?

All this is just to make a point that belief in objective moral values are not dependent on some specific understanding of the Bible, but rather it comes from personal reflection and experience. C.S. Lewis wrote a lot about moral values in his book Mere Christianity. And one of his argument for the existence of objective moral values might be summarized as follows:

1. If ethics is subjective, then we should expect people to recognize that actions which they are inclined to think of as "wrong" are only wrong from their point of view.

This is how people usually determine the morality of their own actions.

2. But invariably, people view wrongs against themselves as actions that are really wrong.

Like when people believe it is wrong to steal from them but it is ok to defraud an insurance company or the government (because they have lots of money)?

3. Therefore moral values are objective and not subjective.

So do you believe objective moral values exists or not?

Nope. Still waiting for an objective moral value that can be seen by anyone as objectively moral. What can we compare any action against in order to determine its moral value?

#54 Tirian

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:44 AM

But God ordered the deaths of small children before. Does that mean that God ordered something that broke a moral law? If He would do that, how can we trust that what He is telling us is morally right? If His ordering of the deaths of children was not morally wrong then particular actions (killing or torturing children for instance) are only morally wrong under particular circumstances. Which one is it? Can God require us to perform a morally wrong action or do the circumstances determine the moral value of a particular action?


I think it is somewhat early to try to discuss how we can use the Bible to understand what objective moral values God has given us and what God can and can't do. If you don't even believe in the existence of objective moral values, the discussion will be somewhat strange.

But just a short answer anyway. No I don't think God would require us to perform a morally wrong action under the covenant of Jesus Christ. But the context and situation described under the old covenant in the old testament was different. So to answer this question we first have to understand the context of this unique case, which would require some Bible studying.

Nope. Still waiting for an objective moral value that can be seen by anyone as objectively moral. What can we compare any action against in order to determine its moral value?


In my first case for objective morality you seems to say that the premises are OK, but the conclusion is not. If the premises are OK, why don't you think that the conclusion follow? It sounds like you want a list like the ten commandments. But to even start that discussion I'd like to first establish if we have good reasons to believe that objective moral exist. The next step would be to discuss how to discover the moral law.

So back to arguments for that there exists objective moral values : two more of C.S Lewis arguments

1. If morality were a subjective matter, we would expect to find sizable differences of fundamental principles amongst moral codes.
2. But there is, in general, agreement concerning fundamental principles amongst moral codes.
3. Therefore, morality is objective rather than subjective.Yes, there are differences in moral codes. However, some differences in moral codes can be explained in terms of differences about the facts.

1. If moral values are subjective, then moral codes cannot improve, since there is no objective standard by which to judge one code better than another.
2. But the work of people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks shows that moral codes can be made more just
.3. Therefore, moral values are objective rather than subjective.

And to summarize I would like to quote Lewis own words, instead of just summarizing he's arguments :


"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"

One strong argument for the existence of objective moral law is that without having any knowledge or feeling for what is right, we would not have the heated discussion on all the wrongs that people think exists in the world today.

#55 jonas5877

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

I think it is somewhat early to try to discuss how we can use the Bible to understand what objective moral values God has given us and what God can and can't do. If you don't even believe in the existence of objective moral values, the discussion will be somewhat strange.

But just a short answer anyway. No I don't think God would require us to perform a morally wrong action under the covenant of Jesus Christ. But the context and situation described under the old covenant in the old testament was different. So to answer this question we first have to understand the context of this unique case, which would require some Bible studying.

Your short answer points to subjective (subject to context of a unique case) morality, which I am sure that is not what you are meaning. So, I can wait until we finish hashing out the lower level of understanding.



In my first case for objective morality you seems to say that the premises are OK, but the conclusion is not. If the premises are OK, why don't you think that the conclusion follow? It sounds like you want a list like the ten commandments. But to even start that discussion I'd like to first establish if we have good reasons to believe that objective moral exist. The next step would be to discuss how to discover the moral law.

No, I did not say the premises were OK.

1. If ethics is subjective, then we should expect people to recognize that actions which they are inclined to think of as "wrong" are only wrong from their point of view.
Everyone thinks this way. You think that same s3x marriage is wrong (I presume), but others don't think it is wrong. You think that killing of a non-believer is wrong but some radical Islamist think it is right and even necessary.

2. But invariably, people view wrongs against themselves as actions that are really wrong.
But people don't view wrongs that way. For example: People who don't think stealing from them is right, will steal from an insurance company (fraud) or the government (fake disability).

3. Therefore moral values are objective and not subjective.
The first premises are not shown to be accurate ==> This conclusion does not logically follow.



So back to arguments for that there exists objective moral values : two more of C.S Lewis arguments

1. If morality were a subjective matter, we would expect to find sizable differences of fundamental principles amongst moral codes.


And we do find sizable differences in fundamental principles. Of course that depends on what is meant by "sizable".

2. But there is, in general, agreement concerning fundamental principles amongst moral codes.


No there's not. It is not ok to kill "innocent" people by our standards and it is ok to kill them by radical Islamist standards. I would say differing standards for taking a human life would be a significant difference in fundamental principles.

3. Therefore, morality is objective rather than subjective.Yes, there are differences in moral codes. However, some differences in moral codes can be explained in terms of differences about the facts.


Even if people believed the "fundamental" moral values, that does not show those values to be objective or even prove that there is an objective moral value. It only shows that humans are in agreement about a particular moral code.

1. If moral values are subjective, then moral codes cannot improve, since there is no objective standard by which to judge one code better than another.
2. But the work of people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks shows that moral codes can be made more just
.3. Therefore, moral values are objective rather than subjective.


Those moral values are only improving against a standard that we approve of as a society. Sure the Golden Rule could be a standard that is being used but that is because it is convenient and applicable to our sense of empathy. We don't want to be tortured so we abhor it...normally.

So, what is the standard against which we measure the value of moral codes.

And to summarize I would like to quote Lewis own words, instead of just summarizing he's arguments :


"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"

One strong argument for the existence of objective moral law is that without having any knowledge or feeling for what is right, we would not have the heated discussion on all the wrongs that people think exists in the world today.


That is only an argument for the existence of moral values not an objective moral standard. If you were living in England in 1680, your moral values would likely include the idea that black human beings should be unpaid servants. The moral values of society have changed since then and now you don't think slavery is morally correct.

If there were an objective standard you should be able to provide an example of that standard.

#56 Tirian

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:31 AM

Why use red color, it just makes the text harder to read?

Your short answer points to subjective (subject to context of a unique case) morality, which I am sure that is not what you are meaning. So, I can wait until we finish hashing out the lower level of understanding.


Good, lets wait with that since it is a discussion about the reasons why and how God acted in a particular case and what God can and can't do. We need some common grounds before starting to discuss that.

No, I did not say the premises were OK.

1. If ethics is subjective, then we should expect people to recognize that actions which they are inclined to think of as "wrong" are only wrong from their point of view.
Everyone thinks this way. You think that same s3x marriage is wrong (I presume), but others don't think it is wrong. You think that killing of a non-believer is wrong but some radical Islamist think it is right and even necessary.

2. But invariably, people view wrongs against themselves as actions that are really wrong.
But people don't view wrongs that way. For example: People who don't think stealing from them is right, will steal from an insurance company (fraud) or the government (fake disability).

3. Therefore moral values are objective and not subjective.
The first premises are not shown to be accurate ==> This conclusion does not logically follow.


Let's just focus on this argument first. Either I truly do not understand you, or you are completely missing the point.

1 - I strongly disagree with you here, probably because you did not understand the premise. If you think that murder is morally wrong you will not think it becomes morally right just because it is done by someone else. People think that what is morally wrong is wrong regardless if it is done by oneself or by someone else. Like in your example, I think that killing unbelievers is morally wrong and I do think that it is morally wrong for radical Islamist to kill unbelievers as well, regardless of what they think.

2 - Yes and that is the point. People might talk about that morality is subjective, but once a morally wrong occurs to themselves they get very upset and act as they have been subject to something that is truly wrong. They might say that moral is subjective until something they believe is morally wrong befalls themselves, then they act as that wrong doing against themselves is objectively wrong.


An example. If a student puts several weeks of work into a well-written essay defending subjective moral values on a course, packs it in a blue folder and turns it in to the teacher. The teacher returns it with an 'F' saying that he don't like blue folders. And the students starts to protest explaining all the research and effort that went into the paper. Then the teacher just asks "You argue that moral values are subjective and just a matter of preference, right?" Yes, replies the student. The teacher again states "The grade is an 'F', I don't like blue folders".

The student could say that is not fair, but then he would compromise the subjective principles for morality that he argued for in his essay.


If there were an objective standard you should be able to provide an example of that standard.


Why?

I might not have discovered what the moral standard is and where it is described. And even if I do, I might not understand how I should apply that moral standard in all cases.

But I might know or suspect that there exist a objective moral standard, because otherwise it would be very strange to talk about that things are morally right or wrong. If the standard is not objective it's just personal preferences. And who am I to decide which personal preferences other people should have? In that view if someone steals from you he has not done anything wrong to you, he just has some other preferences.
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#57 gilbo12345

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:23 AM

Why use red color, it just makes the text harder to read?



Good, lets wait with that since it is a discussion about the reasons why and how God acted in a particular case and what God can and can't do. We need some common grounds before starting to discuss that.



Let's just focus on this argument first. Either I truly do not understand you, or you are completely missing the point.

1 - I strongly disagree with you here, probably because you did not understand the premise. If you think that murder is morally wrong you will not think it becomes morally right just because it is done by someone else. People think that what is morally wrong is wrong regardless if it is done by oneself or by someone else. Like in your example, I think that killing unbelievers is morally wrong and I do think that it is morally wrong for radical Islamist to kill unbelievers as well, regardless of what they think.

2 - Yes and that is the point. People might talk about that morality is subjective, but once a morally wrong occurs to themselves they get very upset and act as they have been subject to something that is truly wrong. They might say that moral is subjective until something they believe is morally wrong befalls themselves, then they act as that wrong doing against themselves is objectively wrong.


An example. If a student puts several weeks of work into a well-written essay defending subjective moral values on a course, packs it in a blue folder and turns it in to the teacher. The teacher returns it with an 'F' saying that he don't like blue folders. And the students starts to protest explaining all the research and effort that went into the paper. Then the teacher just asks "You argue that moral values are subjective and just a matter of preference, right?" Yes, replies the student. The teacher again states "The grade is an 'F', I don't like blue folders".

The student could say that is not fair, but then he would compromise the subjective principles for morality that he argued for in his essay.




Why?

I might not have discovered what the moral standard is and where it is described. And even if I do, I might not understand how I should apply that moral standard in all cases.

But I might know or suspect that there exist a objective moral standard, because otherwise it would be very strange to talk about that things are morally right or wrong. If the standard is not objective it's just personal preferences. And who am I to decide which personal preferences other people should have? In that view if someone steals from you he has not done anything wrong to you, he just has some other preferences.


I really really like this!

I've never thought of how people who claim subjective morals are quick to think objectively once they are a victim. Its an extention of what I was saying about how no-one can be commited of a crime since anything can be claimed to be morally good, (meaning that there is no way that the definition of a "crime" can be established), I hadn't thought about it outside of that, thanks Tirian :D
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#58 jonas5877

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:52 AM

Why use red color, it just makes the text harder to read?



Good, lets wait with that since it is a discussion about the reasons why and how God acted in a particular case and what God can and can't do. We need some common grounds before starting to discuss that.



Let's just focus on this argument first. Either I truly do not understand you, or you are completely missing the point.

1 - I strongly disagree with you here, probably because you did not understand the premise. If you think that murder is morally wrong you will not think it becomes morally right just because it is done by someone else. People think that what is morally wrong is wrong regardless if it is done by oneself or by someone else. Like in your example, I think that killing unbelievers is morally wrong and I do think that it is morally wrong for radical Islamist to kill unbelievers as well, regardless of what they think.

But murder is not an action per se. Killing is an action. Murder is a killing that is classified as illegal or wrong. So to say murder is wrong is rather redundant...of course it is because the very definition of murder makes it wrong. It would be like saying sin is wrong...well, duh. You can say murder is always wrong but you can't say any particular killing is wrong because you don't know what standard you are comparing it against. Example: I, personally, am against abortion and I consider it to be murder. However, neither the abortionist nor the woman who chose the abortion are charged with a crime. Why? Because the current US legal standard does not classify abortion as murder. The abortion was a killing, both standards agree that it is. Determining whether it is right or wrong requires adherence to a particular standard.

2 - Yes and that is the point. People might talk about that morality is subjective, but once a morally wrong occurs to themselves they get very upset and act as they have been subject to something that is truly wrong. They might say that moral is subjective until something they believe is morally wrong befalls themselves, then they act as that wrong doing against themselves is objectively wrong.

So, if a parent believed that your sharing the salvation message to their children was wrong, that would make it objectively wrong? You argument that people don't like things they believe are wrong to happen to them does not really support objective morals. At best, it supports the perception of a particular standard of morals that the people of that society have generally chosen to abide by.

An example. If a student puts several weeks of work into a well-written essay defending subjective moral values on a course, packs it in a blue folder and turns it in to the teacher. The teacher returns it with an 'F' saying that he don't like blue folders. And the students starts to protest explaining all the research and effort that went into the paper. Then the teacher just asks "You argue that moral values are subjective and just a matter of preference, right?" Yes, replies the student. The teacher again states "The grade is an 'F', I don't like blue folders".

The student could say that is not fair, but then he would compromise the subjective principles for morality that he argued for in his essay.

Having a moral standard that is not objective does not mean there is no moral standard at all. You seem to be saying that I can't pass judgement on your killing someone or stealing, but I can based on the moral standard of society. You may actually have a personal moral standard that allows killing, raping and stealing but only keep it in check because of your belief that God will judge you later. In the same way, the teacher may have a personal dislike of blue folders but must follow the moral standards of a person in that career field. To do otherwise would result in judgement against that teacher, either legal or social.

Why?

I might not have discovered what the moral standard is and where it is described. And even if I do, I might not understand how I should apply that moral standard in all cases.

But I might know or suspect that there exist a objective moral standard, because otherwise it would be very strange to talk about that things are morally right or wrong. If the standard is not objective it's just personal preferences. And who am I to decide which personal preferences other people should have? In that view if someone steals from you he has not done anything wrong to you, he just has some other preferences.

You claim that there is an objective standard that we compare our morals against but cannot show that standard. You say that without an objective standard that we have no right to expect "good" behavior in others. Now it is my turn to ask why.
Why does the possibility of a not-objective standard remove the requirement of people to behave as the majority of society has determined is morally correct?
Why is it that without the objective moral standard, you can still determine if any particular act is morally good or morally reprehensible? What are you comparing it to in order to make that claim?

#59 gilbo12345

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

But murder is not an action per se. Killing is an action. Murder is a killing that is classified as illegal or wrong. So to say murder is wrong is rather redundant...of course it is because the very definition of murder makes it wrong. It would be like saying sin is wrong...well, duh. You can say murder is always wrong but you can't say any particular killing is wrong because you don't know what standard you are comparing it against. Example: I, personally, am against abortion and I consider it to be murder. However, neither the abortionist nor the woman who chose the abortion are charged with a crime. Why? Because the current US legal standard does not classify abortion as murder. The abortion was a killing, both standards agree that it is. Determining whether it is right or wrong requires adherence to a particular standard.


So, if a parent believed that your sharing the salvation message to their children was wrong, that would make it objectively wrong? You argument that people don't like things they believe are wrong to happen to them does not really support objective morals. At best, it supports the perception of a particular standard of morals that the people of that society have generally chosen to abide by.


Having a moral standard that is not objective does not mean there is no moral standard at all. You seem to be saying that I can't pass judgement on your killing someone or stealing, but I can based on the moral standard of society. You may actually have a personal moral standard that allows killing, raping and stealing but only keep it in check because of your belief that God will judge you later. In the same way, the teacher may have a personal dislike of blue folders but must follow the moral standards of a person in that career field. To do otherwise would result in judgement against that teacher, either legal or social.


You claim that there is an objective standard that we compare our morals against but cannot show that standard. You say that without an objective standard that we have no right to expect "good" behavior in others. Now it is my turn to ask why.
Why does the possibility of a not-objective standard remove the requirement of people to behave as the majority of society has determined is morally correct?
Why is it that without the objective moral standard, you can still determine if any particular act is morally good or morally reprehensible? What are you comparing it to in order to make that claim?


If morality is subjective then there is no way anyone can claim anyone else is wrong.

Lets assume I murdered your mother, you may think that is an evil act, a morally wrong act. I could turn around and say that I spared her the misery of life which is a charitable / morally good act... Since morallity is claimed to be subjective there is no way you can claim you are right since it is entirely up to the individual. Therefore under subjective morality ANYTHING is allowable, the murderer, serial rapist, child offender, etc can all claim that in their own view what they do is "morally good".

There is no way you can escape from this conclusion, if morals are subjective then anything is permisable.



Your analogy with sharing the gospel message reflects that you do not understand what OBJECTIVE moral values are. Objective moral values are values that are determined outside of human society, for example from God. A parent cannot be the provider of objective moral values because the parent is a part of society.

Having a subjective moral "standard" means there is no "standard" because everything is subjective. Therefore what is morally good for one can be morally wrong for another... There is nothing to base morals on. Ergo the problem I mention at the start. Again this stems from your confusion on what objective moral standards are.

The Christian derives objective moral values from God. This is why I claim that with the rise of evolution and disbelief / disinterest in God that we see the fall in human decency in society, in that there is a lacking of foundation for people to base their morality on. We cannot base it on ourselves since
- we are flawed
- we tend to bypass things if we want to of feel the need to, (a man lying to hide his cheating)
- it would inevitably lead to the problem mentioned earlier

#60 Tirian

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:03 PM

I think Gilbo gave a good example to what subjective moral values are all about. If morals are subjective you have no ground to classify murder as wrong for example.

1. If ethics is subjective, then we should expect people to recognize that actions which they are inclined to think of as "wrong" are only wrong from their point of view.
2. But invariably, people view wrongs against themselves as actions that are really wrong.
3. Therefore moral values are objective and not subjective.

But murder is not an action per se. Killing is an action. Murder is a killing that is classified as illegal or wrong. So to say murder is wrong is rather redundant...of course it is because the very definition of murder makes it wrong. It would be like saying sin is wrong...well, duh. You can say murder is always wrong but you can't say any particular killing is wrong because you don't know what standard you are comparing it against. Example: I, personally, am against abortion and I consider it to be murder. However, neither the abortionist nor the woman who chose the abortion are charged with a crime. Why? Because the current US legal standard does not classify abortion as murder. The abortion was a killing, both standards agree that it is. Determining whether it is right or wrong requires adherence to a particular standard.


If you think abortion is morally wrong. Do you think a woman that makes an abortion since a child would hamper her career makes a morally correct choice or not? If you have any moral opinion on other peoples action, with which right do you judge others people actions based on your own preferences. Should not everyone (if moral is just personal preferences) be judged by their own preferences. But what we are discussing are if this premise is true or not :

1. If ethics is subjective, then we should expect people to recognize that actions which they are inclined to think of as "wrong" are only wrong from their point of view.


The only thing this premise says is that if moral is subjective then people in general should think that their moral preference is just a point of view. Like people know that their favorite color is a preference that is not shared by everybody.

So, if a parent believed that your sharing the salvation message to their children was wrong, that would make it objectively wrong? You argument that people don't like things they believe are wrong to happen to them does not really support objective morals. At best, it supports the perception of a particular standard of morals that the people of that society have generally chosen to abide by.


Of course not. People might have moral standards that are more or less in tune with the objective moral ground that they are derived from. Some standards might be so far from the objective ground that they could be called immoral. But here we where discussing if this premise is true :

2. But invariably, people view wrongs against themselves as actions that are really wrong.

What this premise is describing is that it exists at least one circumstance, namely wrongs against oneself, where people do not act in accordance to the 1st premise. Or would you like to try and convince us that people that are lied to, raped or stolen from do not think that those actions are really wrong. Do you really think that they will view those actions as if they where only wrong from their point of view and that the offender did not do anything wrong?

So since both premises seems to be true the conclusion is also true, namely :

3. Therefore moral values are objective and not subjective.

Having a moral standard that is not objective does not mean there is no moral standard at all. You seem to be saying that I can't pass judgement on your killing someone or stealing, but I can based on the moral standard of society. You may actually have a personal moral standard that allows killing, raping and stealing but only keep it in check because of your belief that God will judge you later. In the same way, the teacher may have a personal dislike of blue folders but must follow the moral standards of a person in that career field. To do otherwise would result in judgement against that teacher, either legal or social.

You claim that there is an objective standard that we compare our morals against but cannot show that standard. You say that without an objective standard that we have no right to expect "good" behavior in others. Now it is my turn to ask why. Why does the possibility of a not-objective standard remove the requirement of people to behave as the majority of society has determined is morally correct? Why is it that without the objective moral standard, you can still determine if any particular act is morally good or morally reprehensible? What are you comparing it to in order to make that claim?


What is legal or social accepted does not need to be morally right. Of course you can set up some sort of rules, like it is illegal to :

1 - Murder people
2 - Like any other color but green

But without some objective moral ground the standard just contains arbitrary points that is just rules decided by someone containing no real moral value.

Remember that in the beginning I said that objective morals are discovered, not invented. So different moral standards might have discovered more or less about the underlying objective moral that all standards are indirectly referring to. One way to find out would be if the lawgiver would have given us some writings where his law is stated.
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