I see ethics, as you've described it here, as a much more useful construct. It is definitely meaningful to talk about systems of decision-making. We all have one, in some form or another. A system where we all act in our own better interests and rely on civil institutions to enforce the boundaries between us works for me. For me crossing those boundaries would be anything that diminishes the rights of another. This is all just descriptive as I see it and makes no claim of universal truth or right or wrong.
Having said all this, I suppose we can say I am ensnared in moral issues if I bring up "rights". But at the end of the day I don't think we have to appeal to "morality": those of us who want a civilization that works can agree to certain rules that will allow society to work. That means respecting each other's "rights" in the sense that we do not interfere in their lives without their free consent.Those that disagree or who cannot accept the minimum amount of interference necessary for civilization to function we can exile. That is, we can kick them out. It's just pragmatic.
Ask him to tell you the "goodness" in Psalm 137:9, in the "New living translation:... that says...Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them on the rocks...", or Isaiah 13:16..."Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravaged..."
Where's the GOOD in these Bible quotes...?? The Bible is FILLED with this kind of horror...!!
The problem is, those passages seem descriptive rather than prescriptive. They don't seem to be saying "Go thou and do likewise."
These answers are all very earnest and erudite but it seems to be all resting on the fact that God exists. Since we all know (we all know this don't we?) that God is a man-made construct created to fill in the gaps of unknowing and thereby stave off fear (to a degree) I just wonder why are we even entertaining this question.
God can do whatever the hell it wants depending on how it has been defined by the definers.
Good has nothing to do with God and apportioning 'good' to God and good being Godly or even God-like is just stupid and plays into the hands of the perpetrators of the hogwash that you seem to be wrestling with.
I am a bit confused why you would not dismiss this question out of hand. Socrates never saw planet Earth from outer space, he couldn't sample all the world's religions at the touch of a button. He might be clever, he might have been a genius, but he did not have the context we have today.
The principle of "for the sake argument, let's just say..." is an accepted feature of almost all discourse.
But we don't even have to point to that principle. The theist is offering the Moral Argument for God as a way to shore up and establish the case for God's existence. By responding to the claim you're responding to that case, directly undermining the proposition that he exists, not assuming that he does.
RE: "whatever someone does is ipso facto ethically correct simply because it's what they wanted to do."
Which brings us back to the question I asked earlier that appears to have gone unanswered. in who's mind? Mine or theirs?
Explain first what difference does it make, since they are both in their own mind and in yours? Do you not make ethical (or moral) judgments regarding the behavior of others? and isn't that based on what you would do?
And you mentioned, "ethically correct" - do you see no difference between ethics and morals? If so, please elaborate.
Of course they are totally different. Ethics involves a system of deciding what to do based on an analysis of the circumstances and the impacts of various responses to said circumstances. Moral people simply follow prescriptions by rote. It's rule-bound as in following The Ten Commandments. Morality is typically bound with a religion, ethics with a philosophy. An ethical person, for example, might ask himself "Whereas I believe in telling only the truth as a principle worth striving toward, realistically I have to ask what happens here if I tell this lie?" whereas the moral person is restricted to "It's wrong to tell a lie."
RE: "what difference does it make, since they are both in their own mind and in yours?"
Are they? Could that not be a faulty assumption on your part?
RE: "Morality is typically bound with a religion."
I can best respond to that by quoting another member who posted this on the board some time ago (emphasis, mine):
"...evidence from behavior of other species and from research into moral psychology in humans shows that morality is an evolved behavior, with precursor (proto-morality) behaviors like altruism, reciprocity, fairness, justice, empathy and others existing in other species with an understanding of these basic concepts in babies as young as only a few months. This means that morality was around way before religion was, and certainly way before the Yahwist cult or its subsequent permutations in Christianity and Islam were around."
Well, let's put it this way, if it's false that people are in both their own minds (as individual selfs) and in mine (as objects of attention), then we are not actually having this dialog and it doesn't really matter what the answer is.
The person you're quoting is confusing moral behavior with ethical behavior. They are different. When you are immoral, you are breaking a rule concerning right and wrong and are thus incurring praise or blame. Ethics isn't so much concerned with right and wrong as with making the best decision all things considered. Ethics doesn't measure its decisions against set prescriptive standards like The Ten Commandments or even The Golden Rule, and it may sometimes find itself making decisions which fly in the face of such standards.
Rather than risk anyone thinking that I might have taken that quotation out of context, I'll reprint it all.
Nelson replied to Robert Karp's discussion "Atheists Are Not Moral People! Get Your Argument On!" on Think Atheist
Trouble is, all of the facts demonstrate the absurdity of such a view.
First, research into moral psychology shows that, like language, though there's an innate capacity for altruism, fairness, justice, and cooperation, there's a developmental path from infancy through childhood and into adolescence to an understanding of right and wrong– no, we aren't born with a sense of right and wrong.
Second, if we get our morality from God, why is it that our moral intuitions are so radically different from his? Why do we agree that women are entitled to equal rights and opportunities and yet God views them as property, as a commodity to be traded, bought and sold? Why do we agree that genocide is wrong while he not only permits it, but encourages it, even urges it? Why do we agree that slavery is wrong and yet he not only permits it but even provides rules governing the institution? Why do we agree on the value of religious freedom and yet he dictates slaughter for anyone that would dare worship another god than he?
Third, evidence from behavior of other species and from research into moral psychology in humans shows that morality is an evolved behavior, with precursor (proto-morality) behaviors like altruism, reciprocity, fairness, justice, empathy and others existing in other species with an understanding of these basic concepts in babies as young as only a few months. This means that morality was around way before religion was, and certainly way before the Yahwist cult or its subsequent permutations in Christianity and Islam were around.
So, as a theist, if you would argue that way, you would be, and are, wrong.
Possibly you and Nelson can work out your philosophical differences between yourselves, considering you both have such extensive backgrounds in the field.
Far be it from this Community College, General Education major to decide between the points of view of two such obvious intellects.
lmfao - kk
I am so tired of hearing about Santorum, he is a terrible person and I can not believe that he has made it as far as he has in the current election! It makes me a-little ashamed to be an American. Sorry for not reading all the other post, but I did not have the time. I just wanted to make a point that "good" is not an actual thing, but an opinion over the judging of some-thing’s value when applied to some-sort of moral scale that is completely biased to anyone's opinion of what is "good" (or positive towards one's view of what "ideal" is). So no one can say what some-thing that does not physically exist comes from, because it isn't there in the first place. It is just a biased labeling of opinions to mentally "raise" your opinion over others’ opinions (or making your ideas "good" or "better" over the "bad" or "worse" ideas). I hope that made sense, and I am sorry if some-one already made this point. :(