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Why are so many people so bad?

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by dysert, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    To "mean" is to refer to something external. That's why we have dictionaries. If you want to know what a word means you can look it up. You can't make the word "table" mean a "chair" unless you're an anarchist.
    "True" would be in accord with fundamental reality.
     
  2. primarymay

    primarymay Member

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    Because we haven't grown out of our primitive savagery, one day we will, or end up extinct.
     
  3. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Bingo!

    You win at Godwin's law bingo. I can't believe it took 275 posts in a morality thread. That's gotta be a record!
     
  4. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    You seem to want to explain morality in terms of its effects rather than in terms of its pure essence. What I'm saying is that if it exists in a pure essence, I would expect it to result in order and happiness.

    I don't understand. What you've described is exactly utilitarian.
     
  5. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    You win at being trite.
     
  6. Freodin

    Freodin Devout believer in a theologically different God

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    Then don't call it an "instrument"... just answer the question. How do you find out what is "true and good" to fine-tune the art you use to find out what is "true and good"?

    With all the evasion and excuses, I might start to think that you don't want to defend the concept of "conscience" at all.
    This is the statement I initally referred to:

    Everybodyknows: "If God is good how do we know and apply his standards of goodness to our lives?"
    you: "I decided to rely on my conscience (which I believe is God-given) and on the teaching and examples of Christ."

    And up to now, you have done your best to point out all the reasons why this conscience that you believe is God-given completely fails at knowing what is good.

    I have an idea why you do that... must do that. I think, as I have said before, that the Christian moral system is purely authoritarian. It is not based on reason, examination, societial interactions, learning, experience... all you have is an authority that you copy.

    Just admit it.

    Ah, yes. I pointed out the flaw in such a reasoning in one of my posts to Oseas. If you include the concept of a divine creator, there can be no difference between "intention" and "actuality". That leaves only the conclusion that, whatever we are is the way we are intended to be.

    They strove to shape their countries and societies in a way they thought it was "intended to be". And they did so, even when it was not useful, or even hurting their country/society. They did that in accordance with a fixed dogmatic worldview, even when it contradicted reality.
    How is that utilitarian?

    You are the last person who should refer to dictionaries to support your position. Just go back a few posts and look at you using a very personal definition of "delusion"... and someone throwing a dictionary at you.

    And what's more: the "something external" that dictionaries refer to is convention. It is nothing more than "what a lot of other people mean when they use this word". It doesn't refer to a "meaning" of a word externally to human usage.

    Wow... I would agree with that!

    And now tell me how a skyscraper is not "true"?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  7. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Whichever way it exists it results in order and happiness, that's kind of the point of morality.

    One of the foundational principles of utilitarianism is that the interests of all are considered equal. Those three dictators certainly didn't consider all interests equally.
     
  8. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    I suppose humor doesn't exist objectively.
     
  9. dysert

    dysert Member

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    Sticking to the assumptions posed in the OP, I can't put a percentage on the number of bad people. As for the badness criteria, I'm kind of partial to what has been bandied about earlier, viz., that something is bad if it results in negative effects for others. But I hasten to add that that criterion has problems, too.
     
  10. dysert

    dysert Member

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    You identify as a Christian yet argue against an objective morality? Is cold-blooded murder objectively wrong? How about rape?
     
  11. Freodin

    Freodin Devout believer in a theologically different God

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    Can we discuss this rationally? Without emotional involvement? Accusations?

    I hope we can.

    Let's see. The main problem I see with your questions is the term "objectively".
    I have to use a dictionary definition now - if you disagree with it or want to expand on it, please say so.
    Objectively: "in a way that is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions.", or "in a way that is not dependent on the mind for existence; actually."

    That is the problem here: it is impossible to discuss the topics of "murder" or "rape" - or basically any concepts dealing with human interaction, that does not include personal feelings, opinions or the human mind.
    Just consider: would cold-blooded murder still be wrong if it was impossible to kill? Would it be wrong if there were no living beings to murder or be murdered?

    Only then could it be "objectively" wrong... and I hope you will agree that it would be quite meaningless in these cases.

    Second problem is the connotations of these terms, which already are non-objective.
    A more objective term would be "killing". There are factual conditions that can - without feelings or opinions - be ascertained to find out if something that was "alive" is now "dead".
    But "murder" is already defined as "killing without any 'good' reasons"... so there already is a subjective appeal to feelings or opinions involved. It is a similar case with rape.

    So even as a non-Christian I can say: "Murder and rape are always wrong, when these terms can be applied."
    But that doesn't make them objective.
     
  12. dysert

    dysert Member

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    Certainly

    I don't think I have a problem with that definition, but if there were no spiritual realm it just seems like nonsense. How can one say that murder is "actually" wrong if there is no irrefutable canon/standard/rule specifying what's "actually" wrong? Or is that your point? That based on the definition, we can't say what's "actually" wrong because there is no standard?
     
  13. Freodin

    Freodin Devout believer in a theologically different God

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    I am not sure how I can make this clearer.

    "Murder" is "actually" wrong, because we define it as such. I ask you: try to explain what "murder" is without any reference to opinion.

    That is the first problem. The second problem is: you need to have a "physical realm", you need to have very specific conditions within this "physical realm" to make such a statement. Without it, the whole concept has no meaning.
    And that leads to the question why a "spiritual realm" would be necessary... or what that even is.

    And to answer your question: yes, there is no "objective" standard. There are NO "objective" standards... every existing standard is a conventional one.

    Are you, by chance, from the USA? Then you might be aware of the fact that the USA is to only industrialized country in the world that hasn't officially adopted the metric standard. And still, it works.
    Because standards are conventional. They are agreed upon. They are shared. Even if there is no "objective" standard. There is no "objective" meter or yard in a "spiritual realm". There is no objective meter or yard that does not refer to the physical realm... and there doesn't need to be one.
     
  14. bhsmte

    bhsmte Newbie

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    What is your method to determine what 'fundamental reality' is?
     
  15. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    I don't believe I called it an instrument, you did.

    That's like asking me how we think. No one knows how we think.
    I haven't evaded anything. I had a friend who was a social worker. He told me how the very youngest children knew something wrong was being done when they were molested by an adult. On rare occassions, criminals will turn themselves in because of a guilty conscience, people have even committed suicide because of it. Conscience is innate and powerful. If you want to chalk that up to unsupported surmises about pre-historic evolutionary psychology, fine, but don't write off what I'm saying as "Christian authoritarianism". It's just what I believe, and I'm sure I'm not going to be able to prove it to you. Besides, I could just as easily accuse you of wish fulfillment.
    How does that conclusion follow?
    Exactly how you said - they strove to shape society as they thought it was "intended to be".
    Um, I was the one who suggested consulting a dictionary (I've been around here long enough to know you shouldn't ask a question you don't already know the answer to :D). And the definition given agreed more with me than with the other guy.
    Yes, obviously. It was only an analogy.
    Silly question. What color is a mile?
     
  16. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    Okay.
    Sounds like an idealistic definition from a philosophy textbook. In real life, what's useful for some may not be good for everyone.
     
  17. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    I guess at it, based on my experience and other people's experience, I determine what sounds most likely, and pray about it. What do you do?
     
  18. bhsmte

    bhsmte Newbie

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    I always like to check my personal experience against as many established facts and evidence as possible.

    I am a rock turner. I am aware of personal bias getting in the way (including my own), which is why i like to cross reference, with independent and objective information.
     
  19. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Just look at the world around you and history. Morality is dynamic, responsive and progressive in response to changes in society. Many of the things we find immoral today weren't considered immoral by past generations. Can you explain how you think objective morality exists and how we know it? Is there some list of things we can refer to that to see what is objectively right and wrong? I'm not saying that objective morality can't exist but if it does we don't know it. I see morality as something we discover rather than something that is innate. It's dynamic rather than static.
     
  20. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    So you're measuring morality by the results of order and happiness?

    If we're going to discuss philosophical concepts then we need to use philosophical definitions.

    With utilitarianism the emphasis is on the 'good for everyone' part. I think what you are thinking of is individualism.
     
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