If you agree with the definitions that follow, do freethinkers havr morals or ethics, or a combo?

Ethics:  A system of thinking about correct behaviour that comes from personsl introspection.

Morals:   A system of thought about behaviour that is based on some outward form od authority such as government ornreligion.

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First of all thanks for the reply.

And I admit those definitions are trite, but they are what I grew up with. I'm trying to come up with an idea or concept that I can use to explain to others where my ideas of right and wrong come from.  Since you seem to have a different POV, I would love to know what it is.

"A scenario arises in which an individual is attempting to harm children, and I can only suppress this individual violently."

I will whack the hell outta somebody.  Don't mess with the babies in front of me.

Hi Lori,

"I'm trying to come up with an idea or concept that I can use to explain to others where my ideas of right and wrong come from."  - I've been developing one, it's here and here.  Some parts of it are more developed than others.  I think it's neat, accessible, and powerful, but at first sight it may seem very abstract. 

Sorry, Simon, but aside from the religious rants, uh, I mean quotes, you blurbled, you didn't say anything about ethics vs morality.  You talked of a healing principle, which wouldn't be able to guide you in a decision making process when confronted with the situation of: either you harm someone else or they'll harm you AND others.  YOUR philosophy would say to not do anything but forgiveness and "allowing yourself and others to make mistakes."

Yeah, I'll bet if one of your loved ones was being threatened at knife point and you could save them with violence - you would, thoroughly preventing the knife-wielder from making a mistake called MURDER.  You selfish person - you prevented him from making that mistake!

See, THIS is why we say religious people are insane.  They have no consistency, logic, or reason in their ramblings.

I would fight the murderer. 

But, HOW would you do it Simon?

As much as I hate to admit it, I'd do as much damage to Jack's hypothetical knife dude as it took to protect my loved one.

But then again, that goes back to my definitions of Ethics and Morality.  It would be ethically correct to do so.  

@Lori - I'd do the same as you. 

People are free to do what they like.  I'm suggesting what is the right thing to do.  If you do the wrong thing, the consequences tend to be bad.  Hence, Mr Knife Dude will be unpopular and people will try to hurt him. 

Everyone who is affected by my actions gets the maximum benefit and the minimum of harm.  Therefore: stop the knife man, let everyone else get away, if possible. 

This is what the Dalai Lama says about it

So, when a problem first arises, try to remain humble and maintain a sincere attitude and be concerned that the outcome is fair. Of course, others may try to take advantage of you, and if your remaining detached only encourages unjust aggression, adopt a strong stand, This, however, should be done with compassion, and if it is necessary to express your views and take strong countermeasures, do so without anger or ill-intent.

You should realize that even though your opponents appear to be harming you, in the end, their destructive activity will damage only themselves. In order to check your own selfish impulse to retaliate, you should recall your desire to practice compassion and assume responsibility for helping prevent the other person from suffering the consequences of his or her acts.

Thus, because the measures you employ have been calmly chosen, they will be more effective, more accurate and more forceful. Retaliation based on the blind energy of anger seldom hits the target.

- do not kill the knife man but allow him to survive and be educated and be given the chance to become a compassionate human being. 

"adopt a strong stand". 

Last time somebody was on my case, they weren't being violent, and this is how it played out.  If someone is being violent towards you, then you don't have much choice.  The ideal is to inflict the minimum harm. 

Don't ask me about violence, I'm no good at violence.  I do know however, if someone's acting badly towards you, it's good to think about the long-term consequences and do one's best to make the best possible outcome for everybody, including the idiot, who we hope will learn something from the whole process.  As well - "hatred is not overcome by hatred but by love". 

That's all good and well, but at what point, what number of whatever, do we as a society get to say "This dude/ette is never going to change, and it would be better that we keep him out of society all together?:  To give an extreme example, I think that everyone reading this would agree that Charles Manson should never see the light of day while alive. In and out of prison he has shown himself not to be worthy of society. And I, for one, am all for that.


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