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Perspective.


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Initial post: 10 Mar 2014 10:38:13 GMT
T. Green says:
Perspective

Those familiar with my posts will know that I consider morality in humanity to be due to upbringing environment and genetics, and that I do not accept (due to life experience and research) that either theists or atheists are more or less moral in comparison to each other.

This is supported by psychological studies that I have read that effectively state that morality and ethical judgements in individuals work independently of religion and belief.

This is the position that I am taking for the rest of this post, to understand my perspective on good or evil this must be understood and accepted, if anyone reading this does not agree with the above in at least a general way then by all means post why this would not be the case, after reading the paragraph below.

I have heard no proper augments that make any sense at all to contest this, if anyone has any that do that don't rely solely on the idea that theists must be more moral because there is some aspects of morality written into the Bible or that their God told them they were, then I would be more than happy to hear them.

As I said I haven't heard any yet, apart from these easily refutable claims.

Im not going to address specific justification issues for individuals in this post except in a very general way as it pertains to either objective or subjective.

Does "evil" exist?

I would have to say yes, from where I am sitting it seems very much that pretty much all the evil that humans do is caused by or is rooted in subjectivity, or to not be able to fully comprehend the causal chain of events that is created by action or inaction as it pertains to others (including lower life forms) and others environments whether that be now or indeed in the future.

What is "evil?"

To me this would be causing harm to others pure and simple in this I would also include causing harm to other animals (physical and non-physical) and also environment, if others have to share or use.

I would also say that any contrived morality that is forced upon others resides fully in the subjective, or in other words is expectation on ethical values from others; it makes no difference if this expectation comes from a club or from an individual, nor does it matter if it is with the very best of intentions, the Bible in fact warns against this very clearly.

Does "good" exist?

I think this is down to perspective all it really seems to boil down to is more objectivity by some, some examples of this might include charity work or dedication to humanitarian causes (not addressing any other reasons why, as there may indeed be many reasons, but just how this relates to objectivity in individuals) another example might be planting a tree that you will never get to sit in the shade of but others might in the future even after your own death.

It also seems that when "evil" people rise the common "good" is fought by "normal" people.

This "normality" is at this point considered "good" by the majority, but it seems it is really just defending what should be in fact "normal" and is only deemed "good" by a comparison with an evil.

Excuse the very non-specific general terms, written like this for overall perspective rather than specific examples. I understand fully that terms like "normal" "good" and "evil" are relative to situation and location before anyone points this out.

Perhaps a better way to put this is: would "good" exist at all without "evil?"

It is also true that we can create our own future demons with our actions, or our inaction with others; this is more difficult to separate but it does seem that most of the time that this is a failing sometimes on all sides to understand each other initially.

I would be interested in any and all points of view and anything that relates (in a sensible way) to our ethics or morality, which is of course plays a large part of being human.

It is a recurring theme by some theists that religion or belief is either responsible for this or that in some magical way belief in a God makes the individual more ethical and I would hope this thread and the contributions of others would try to put this myth to bed, as I am sure that what I would consider "evil" could easily come out of this particular delusion.

This is my perspective; feel free to state your own.

Thanks all.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2014 13:51:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Mar 2014 20:35:21 GMT
I can't deal with everything that you say T, and I've spent enough time dealing with similar issues to know that it would be foolish to try.

Let me just try and clear up what I think is often a confusion and make one (very big) general point and leave it undetailed for now.

People often confuse the fact that moral judgement and strictures are objective with the idea that they must be absolute. These are not the same thing. To believe that morals are objective simply means that they are not determined by the will of individuals or just a matter of opinion. This seems to me to be obviously right and I will say why in a minute.

But it does not follow that there are absolute and immutable moral laws or rules which thereby govern behaviour. Objectivity can, and ought to be, context sensitive.

My argument for the objectivity of morals has a positive and a negative side.

This is the positive. It just seem as obvious to me that torturing children to death for fun is just very wrong period, as it does that I am sat here now. It follows that any argument or reason I may have for doubting this must somehow be less obvious than the sense that it is wrong itself. I cannot imagine a more simple reason to believe it. Thus if someone comes up with an elaborate story for why there are no objective morals I have a prima facia reason to believe that they are wrong, even if I cannot show why they are straight away.

The situation is similar to that of epistemological scepticism.

It seems to me obvious that I am sitting here writing this. If someone gives an argument which entails that I don't in fact know this (I could be dreaming, I might be in a Matrix) then I feel that even if I don't know how to show I am not dreaming etc. the fact that I am sitting here is more compelling than such elaborate arguments.

The negative part is this:

Given my assumption I have not heard any argument that shows that morals are not objective in a way that does not equally apply to any KIND of known truths. Thus, for example, the fact that there are many different moral opinions is often evoked to show that morals can't be objective, but it is also true that there are lots of different factual opinions. This does not lead people to think that facts are not thereby objective and so on.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2014 19:39:16 GMT
richard says:
Hi,

i have a bit of a problem with the word 'evil' as it feels to be something associated with the'Devil' or malicious spirits, an outside influence on people affecting their behavior. we become puppets with god and the devil as puppet masters. same idea with the Greeks and their gods manipulating humans according to their whim. as an atheist i don't think that there are outside supernatural influences on us so it gives me a bit of a problem as i said.

if one does believe in outside supernatural forces then would that make the person affected by them culpable for their actions? can one do evil without outside influence?

if one does not believe in outside supernatural influence then can a person still be seen as 'evil' or doing evil? i am unsure of this! without outside forces what separates a 'bad' person from an 'evil' one? how do divide things up into wrong/bad/evil? i think sometimes it is by the level of disgust that we feel at the actions of the individual but how objective is that! if enough people do it don't we start to become desensitized to it and it become somehow less evil!

i wonder sometimes if we measure evil as how far away from our perception of normal it is. the further away the more evil we see it as being. it's as if we believe that we are only capable of actions outside of 'normal' up to a point and beyond that there must be other explanations. some might look to supernatural forces whilst others look to psychological reasons. is someone influenced by supernatural forces culpable, well is someone subject to psychological problems culpable either?

then again our perception of right and wrong or good and bad do seem culturally determined and subject to a number of conditions as well.

all in all a very difficult topic.

Posted on 10 Mar 2014 20:36:20 GMT
Spin says:
There is no such thing as "Good" or "Evil"; there is only correct and incorrect thought and action. The terms "good" and "evil" reflect, not morality, but personal opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2014 22:01:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Mar 2014 22:16:25 GMT
T. Green says:
Hi Tony,

I don't think I disagree too much with your post. I perhaps wrote more detail in my reply to Richard underneath that might add to my initial one.

I hope your new one is not giving you too much trouble for now?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2014 22:01:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Mar 2014 22:15:02 GMT
T. Green says:
Hello Richard,

This relates to a subjective > objective perspective I think as It is impossible to be completely objective, due to the nature of ourselves and the way that we learn some of this moral structure through upbringing and environment coupled with the fact that we can only judge by what we are, and by what we know.

"***if one does believe in outside supernatural forces then would that make the person affected by them culpable for their actions? Can one do evil without outside influence?***"

Your point about outside influence is interesting.

Yes I believe it does Richard even if we assume that such things exist and most of the time this seems to be reversed anyway. I think the more subjective the individual the more inclined some are to justify actions with a belief, but the acts still all come from themselves, this makes them responsible not what they believe.

I have no doubt at all that humans can do damage to other humans without outside influence and perhaps would say that we live in a world full of influences so impossible to avoid.

"***i think sometimes it is by the level of disgust that we feel at the actions of the individual but how objective is that! if enough people do it don't we start to become desensitized to it and it become somehow less evil!***"

Its objective in the regards of our understanding its wrong for others or for others to do this to other individuals, we can feel empathy by understanding or at least trying to imagine what it might be like in others shoes, and its subjective in the regards of the way we know this, as we do not want this on some level to happen to ourselves.

This is an automatic response in most humans.

Your right about the desensitized part I think, some of this I might put down to adaptability in our species and in the way our brains can protect us. If tolerated long enough almost anything can appear "normal."

In the cases of actual defects in humans in brain development then it is fair to state that this means limited or diminished responsibility with that individual, sometimes others around this individual will assume some of this responsibility, for example in Downs syndrome cases.

Excuse the word "evil" to me it is merely a word that signifies general unethical immoral acts of mankind towards others.

It is very difficult to pin down absolutes for certain, but there does seem to be a few things that most people would agree is wrong globally. Genetically I think we know it is wrong to murder this would most likely come from a species survival need as well as a social cohesion need.

Despite whatever differences there may be in actual ethical judgements in individuals within different environments and situations, it does seem to be driven by "do unto others what may be done to yourself"

Understanding the *others* is the objective part in this I think, the greater the understanding the more empathy one might have for others.

To be driven by Greed for example might be seen to be purely subjective as it disregards others needs in complete favour of oneself.

I saw an interesting program actually on BBC2 the other day in one part it had dogs that were MRI scanned, they had to be trained first to enable this.

They had a signal from the handler that meant that reward was coming but not immediate which created an emotional response in the dogs and when the scans were complete identical areas in every dogs brain lit up, I think the conclusion was that even dogs have the ability to conceptualisation the future and rewards that are not in the "now" perhaps just in a more limited way than us.

A very difficult topic indeed as you say, as it seems to be a mixture of things and location based also as much as anything, but not one that is fully beyond our understanding and as I said in my last post there is actual evidence in the form of tests that have been done to support the viewpoint that belief and religion plays no part in this.

This is specifically what I would like to address the belief by some that joining a church or virtue of belief makes them better ethically or morally.

I am not contesting that individuals could (learn) greater ethics through a club or organisation or even that an individual may benefit from ethical values that might be encouraged. However values must be learned and actually acted upon by individuals, they are not given freely by virtue of religion or belief and any individual must also want this to happen or want to change anyway.

Thanks Richard.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2014 22:07:08 GMT
T. Green says:
It is, as I think you know Spin (or as you should know by now) a little more complex than that.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2014 09:33:32 GMT
Spin says:
T: No, it is as simple as that. The concepts of "Right/Wrong" and "Good/Evil" are judgements brought to an objective thoughts or actions. A correct thought or deed soes not rely on human judgement or concepts; it is intrinsically correct. For instance, it may, at times, be necessary to commit an "evil" in order to preserve a greater "good" (eg; murdering a tyrant in order to prevent the deaths of many); commiting that act may be judged as "evil" but it is the correct thing to do. And by "correct" I do not mean it is "right"; I mean that it is the only appropriate action possible. "Correctness" has nothing to do with "morality". This is the basis of Buddhist ethics; remove the confusion of human concepts of "good" and "evil" and one will clearly see that it is the correctness of ones thought and deed, not its "rightness" or "wrongness" that is the foundation of ones trust and security in ones deeds.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2014 10:01:31 GMT
T. Green says:
"***T: No, it is as simple as that. The concepts of "Right/Wrong" and "Good/Evil" are judgements brought to an objective thoughts or actions. A correct thought or deed soes not rely on human judgement or concepts; it is intrinsically correct.***"

By what value system do we decide right from wrong if not human ones Spin? Including of course genetics and upbringing.

"***For instance, it may, at times, be necessary to commit an "evil" in order to preserve a greater "good" (eg; murdering a tyrant in order to prevent the deaths of many); commiting that act may be judged as "evil" but it is the correct thing to do. And by "correct" I do not mean it is "right"; I mean that it is the only appropriate action possible.***"

Well that depends actually on situation and circumstance which I think you will find I have already mentioned. It is also a slippery slope to work on the premise that the ends justify the means.

*** "Correctness" has nothing to do with "morality". This is the basis of Buddhist ethics; remove the confusion of human concepts of "good" and "evil" and one will clearly see that it is the correctness of ones thought and deed, not its "rightness" or "wrongness" that is the foundation of ones trust and security in ones deeds.***"

I never mentioned "correct" this was all you, our instincts which include our morality, work independently of exterior human concepts of good or evil, this is in fact my reasons for starting this thread.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2014 10:27:10 GMT
Spin says:
R; but that is my point; we should not refer to any "value" when making moral decisions. It is such values which confuse us as to the correct action to take. A belief that "Good" and "Evil" are something intrinsic in phenomena skews our reasoning. If you fancy a cup of tea, you do not consider which is the "Good/Right" and "Evil/Wrong" thing to do. You know what the correct course of action is without referring to value system. It is only the belief, a false belief, that "good" and "Evil" are real in some way that hinders our recognition of the only correct action to take. "Morality" is not instinctive or inherent; it is a learned behaviour. The fact that there are so many differing moral value systems at play across the human race proves this. Un our youth we are taught, and conditioned to, what is "good" and "evil" but not what is correct and incorrect. Hence the moral dilemmas and debates in our adulthood as we gain more experience of the world and realise that 'Good' and 'Evil' are relative terms and concepts which we apply as mere labels but which do not help us decide which is the correct course of action. According to Buddhism, all things change, even value systems. And change causes "suffering" at various levels and in various ways. But correctness of thought and deed is constant. Correctness of thought and deed is 'Truth", so to speak.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2014 10:37:39 GMT
T. Green says:
I will reply to this later if no-one else does Spin, I would give others a chance to reply first I think.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2014 13:53:41 GMT
T. Green says:
"***R; but that is my point; we should not refer to any "value" when making moral decisions. It is such values which confuse us as to the correct action to take. A belief that "Good" and "Evil" are something intrinsic in phenomena skews our reasoning. If you fancy a cup of tea, you do not consider which is the "Good/Right" and "Evil/Wrong" thing to do. You know what the correct course of action is without referring to value system. It is only the belief, a false belief, that "good" and "Evil" are real in some way that hinders our recognition of the only correct action to take.***"

Your point as always remains unclear; nobody need refer to any value system when making moral decisions as I pointed out this part is instinctive and immediate, but obviously this value set exists conceptually within the person.

Evil is very real, the immoral actions that humans do to each other requires a label. it's as good as any.

***"Morality" is not instinctive or inherent; it is a learned behaviour. The fact that there are so many differing moral value systems at play across the human race proves this.***"

Your beginning to contradict yourself Spin a lot of learned behaviour becomes instinctive, and I have read many articles that point to genetic traits being at least partially responsible, also genetic instinctive traits could be considered learned behaviour.

The instinct not to murder is pretty global as far as im aware.

The fact that there are many differing moral value systems across the globe proves only that one set of values does not fit all, which fits in with the crazy notion that morality in society is made up of individual ethical decisions, the ones most people agree with we call law.

A contrived morality that tries to (decide) for other individuals about issues that is within the scope of the law interfere with the natural progress of morality in our society, as this seems to evolve naturally over time.

"***Un our youth we are taught, and conditioned to, what is "good" and "evil" but not what is correct and incorrect. Hence the moral dilemmas and debates in our adulthood as we gain more experience of the world and realise that 'Good' and 'Evil' are relative terms and concepts which we apply as mere labels but which do not help us decide which is the correct course of action. According to Buddhism, all things change, even value systems. And change causes "suffering" at various levels and in various ways. But correctness of thought and deed is constant. Correctness of thought and deed is 'Truth", so to speak.***"

Yes we are taught in our youth of course, this is important as it sets basic values in an individual a starting place if you like and all things change of course. Your use of the word "correct" implies that you are looking for some kind of black and white stark truth here, you won't find many.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 05:46:56 GMT
light says:
Hi Green,

Nice to read your reasonable post ;o)

"Perhaps a better way to put this is: would "good" exist at all without "evil?"

One man's good is another man's evil, like in the case of war, winning the war, it is good for the victor but for the defeated, it can be considered to be bad or having evil effects of losing the war. Do you think that it is possible for something to be neutral, neither good nor evil? and can something good be recognized through neutral events? If so then evil is not needed to show good.

"Does "evil" exist?"..."What is "evil?"

Yes, evil exists, but many people do not like the word but it is just another word for bad, destructive, harmful.........

"Does "good" exist?"

Yes, good exists, and in the bible good is also the same as righteous, which many people do not like this word either, but it merely means, right ways, which is also important in Buddhism. Right thinking, right speech and right action.

"Ethics and morality.......It is a recurring theme by some theists that religion or belief is either responsible for this or that in some magical way belief in a God makes the individual more ethical"

It is definitely not magic, it entails hard work and reflection on oneself. Recognition of where one falls short of proper behavior, words and even including proper thought, and the willingness to stop doing wrong/evil/sin/missing the mark and concentrate on doing what is right/good/righteous. The bible calls this repenting.

Sins of omission are also considered to be very harmful or evil. I sometimes struggle with this one. A few times I've seen someone driving very badly, they are swerving, taking too long at traffic light, driving way under the speed limit. There is a good chance that the person is drunk or under the influence of some chemicals. A couple of times I've called the police to report them, but then there are other times that I do not.

I feel bad about this because what if they have a car accident and hurt someone this would be bad/evil, I even think what if they hurt someone I know. But then I think if I call the police and they go to jail this would be bad for them, what if the lose their license, what if they drive for a living, there goes their income, possibly their house.....Which is lesser of 2 evils? What would you do? or WWJD ;o) If I can't figure out what would Jesus do, I sometimes try to picture, what would Satan do. For some strange reason that is easier to do.

take care light

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 10:49:18 GMT
richard says:
T,

............................ Your point about outside influence is interesting.

Yes I believe it does Richard even if we assume that such things exist and most of the time this seems to be reversed anyway. I think the more subjective the individual the more inclined some are to justify actions with a belief, but the acts still all come from themselves, this makes them responsible not what they believe..............................

i forgot to mention that although outside influence might seem to take away responsibility from the individual afflicted there are often factors introduced to put responsibility on that person. for example we might say that the person 'courted' evil spirits and by doing so invited them in. some would say that by not living a 'god fearing' life one was courting evil forces. however i think there's something to be said about those who through religious belief hold very strongly to the concept of 'good and evil' god and the devil etc. if one wholeheartedly believes it possible to let god into their life/heart then so too with the devil. if god wants us to accept him then so too with Satan. good and evil forces trying to gain control of our 'soul'. it's an interesting idea to explain behavior and if we take it back to early Judaism then the priests and prophets are trying to figure out what god wants of them to ensure his favor and how to appease him when he punishes them for transgressions. with the Greeks humans were mere pawns subject to the whims of the gods. various Pagan cults believed in seeking help from their gods and that those gods could affect their life.

we have a long history of thinking that outside supernatural forces are at work in the world and can be enticed to work for our benefit. on a simple level this can be used to explain our fortune as individuals and as ethnic groups or collectives as with those holding allegiance to a city or state. but i was not thinking of the individual blaming outside forces so much as others looking at the person and claiming that outside forces were at work. a bit like declaring a person to be possessed rather than the person themselves claiming to be possessed. someone committing an act that we consider evil might consider themselves to be quite normal and acting rationally. we on the other-hand are shocked by their actions and call them evil and seek some explanation for how they could have done such evil. some seek a psychological explanation whilst others look to outside forces working through that person.

..........................
Excuse the word "evil" to me it is merely a word that signifies general unethical immoral acts of mankind towards others.

It is very difficult to pin down absolutes for certain, but there does seem to be a few things that most people would agree is wrong globally. Genetically I think we know it is wrong to murder this would most likely come from a species survival need as well as a social cohesion need.

Despite whatever differences there may be in actual ethical judgements in individuals within different environments and situations, it does seem to be driven by "do unto others what may be done to yourself" .........................................

whereas i would see unethical immoral acts as wrong or bad rather than automatically evil. it's wrong to steal a sweet from a news agents shop but is it evil? it's wrong to lie to someone about why you are 10 mins late meeting them but is it evil? i think 'evil' is used when wrong or bad goes to the 'next level' and we look on with horror at what was done. and i think it's in trying to understand this that some people believe that only outside evil supernatural forces could produce this type of behavior. there are things we don't want to believe a sane or good human being is capable of doing and so when they do such things we look to classify them outside of the box that we want to see the rest of us being in. we are sane so they must be insane. they must be possessed with evil etc

generally we might know it's wrong to murder but the trouble with this is that when you think about it there starts to build up a whole list of exceptions! murder is 'unlawful' killing but there's a whole bunch of lawful killing that's acceptable. so now the intentional death of someone is a matter of the law as to whether it's okay or not. i expect this has always been the case right back to hunter/gatherer groups. there would have had to be circumstances where the killing of another human happened and i bet there was a consensus of opinion as to whether it was okay or not! we are a social species and as such need codes of behaviors but those codes are going to be determined by relevant factors rather than absolute beliefs.

the idea of 'do unto others....... sounds good and no doubt is very old (wisdom sayings) but i bet it's always been a bit idealistic. ever since there has been social demarcation in society (that is to say those who have higher status than others) i expect there has also been a general rule along the lines of 'do unto others according to your station in life'. the first is great in a very egalitarian society but the later reflects the hierarchical societies that we inevitably build. further to that we know that societies compete with each other and this in itself often creates distrust and something along the lines of 'do unto them before they can do unto you'! or 'think of your own needs first'.

as individuals we do seem to have a general concept of right and wrong behavior but we don't live isolated lives and as part of a group these concepts can get overridden by group concepts of right and wrong and the need to exist/compete as part of a group

.................................................This is specifically what I would like to address the belief by some that joining a church or virtue of belief makes them better ethically or morally..................................................................

not being a member of a religious group i can't really address this other than to say that i doubt it does.

wishing you a fine day. the sun is shinning in London and i hope it is shinning where you are as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 11:12:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Mar 2014 11:34:32 GMT
T. Green says:
Hello light,

"***One man's good is another man's evil, like in the case of war, winning the war, it is good for the victor but for the defeated, it can be considered to be bad or having evil effects of losing the war. Do you think that it is possible for something to be neutral, neither good nor evil? and can something good be recognized through neutral events? If so then evil is not needed to show good.***"

Thank you light, good post, this perfectly expresses the idea that what we call good and evil is what humans make it due to perspective, whether that is a group perspective or the individuals.

There are very real reasons why an individual has any particular moral values these pertain to upbringing environment, and in more non-specific way genetics.

This is the first thread I have created here, and I did this to try to expand any and all views about these concepts.

The reason I did this is because of the simple mindedness of all those who would claim human morality for themselves whilst seemingly ignoring the large percentage of "good" people who might follow other faiths or even none at all.

I have lost track of how many have claimed that (because) they believe in a God or join a club that this gives them automatic greater morality than others, of course it doesn't.

There are a good many threads that claim this; I thought it would be appropriate to address these concepts in a more open fashion starting with just the basics, ourselves.

If any wish to contest this with reason then by all means...

Do not misunderstand me; my intentions for this thread are not to attack theists or to address aspects about their belief in God, just to address this specific detail as it seems somewhat ridiculous to me, and I think to you.

Often I wonder when they claim this (what) their reasons are for believing this, I can only assume (although it is an assumption due to the way they post) that this is a lie that they would (like) to believe is true.

"Good" and "Evil" to me, is just perceptual recognition of events that is judged or "tagged" this way by the internal value system of the individual.

We ALWAYS have this recognition set and this value system in place, it no doubt changes over time (although the biggest changes I am sure happen up to about the age of twenty due to growing self-awareness) and young children learn like sponges even when we think they don't.

My question about does good exist is merely an attempt to make these others see that there are what we would call "good" people everywhere as well as "bad" of course. Im just not sure how it gets recognised as such without the comparison.

Our morality is something that actually unites us, it should not divide us, nor should we let it.

Part of any problem in discussing this in texts is in terms, righteoness has been used so many times by those that would try to convert others to their version of "God" that it has implications by association.

"***It is definitely not magic, it entails hard work and reflection on oneself. Recognition of where one falls short of proper behaviour, words and even including proper thought, and the willingness to stop doing wrong/evil/sin/missing the mark and concentrate on doing what is right/good/righteous. The bible calls this repenting.***"

I would call this common sense, so would many others, but same thing we either learn by our mistakes or we don't, this depends on the individual.

Much of this seems to come from an objective or subjective perspective from individuals on how they view events, or by understanding effect on others (objective) also a truly subjective person may never learn or change as they have already told themselves a story that they believe to be true.

"***Sins of omission are also considered to be very harmful or evil. I sometimes struggle with this one. A few times I've seen someone driving very badly, they are swerving, taking too long at traffic light, driving way under the speed limit. There is a good chance that the person is drunk or under the influence of some chemicals. A couple of times I've called the police to report them, but then there are other times that I do not.***"

Good example of one of the "seven deadly sins" to the way that I think light, ignoring this would fall under "sloth" to me. (Actively and objectively recognising actions others are doing that are harming, or can lead to harm for others or themselves, (Edit: but inaction when acting would have made a difference. doh.)

"***I feel bad about this because what if they have a car accident and hurt someone this would be bad/evil, I even think what if they hurt someone I know. But then I think if I call the police and they go to jail this would be bad for them, what if the lose their license, what if they drive for a living, there goes their income, possibly their house.....Which is lesser of 2 evils? What would you do? or WWJD ;o)***"

it actually does not matter what I would do light, the real question is what do you do, and by do I mean how do you act and not think as I do not believe we should be condemned by our thoughts, it is how we act that matters.

I think I would assess the overall risk to others which depends on situation and personal judgement.

(Hypothetically assuming the construct and the notion) I don't know how Jesus would judge this light; I would like to think he would see that it could lead to harm BUT perhaps would hold off on calling a lighting bolt from his Dad, for the reasons you mention and for other ones, for example driving very tired is apparently worse than driving tipsy.

You're talking about punishment for actions which may happen after events when or (if) recognised by others.

"***If I can't figure out what would Jesus do, I sometimes try to picture, what would Satan do. For some strange reason that is easier to do.***"

Perhaps the "what would Satan do?" part you find easier to visualise due to religion saturating the idea that people are all evil.

This I do not accept, I accept that I am flawed of course, as all are, and by accepting it I hopefully can understand myself better and work on those flaws.

Thank you light.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 11:16:50 GMT
T. Green says:
Hi Richard,

"wishing you a fine day. the sun is shinning in London and i hope it is shinning where you are as well."

Also to you, it's nice here :-) I will read and maybe reply later to the rest of your post, but my time just got sucked up in a reply to light, will be back later.

Thanks Richard.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 23:34:21 GMT
T. Green says:
Hi Richard,

Your post covered so many things I split my reply up to make it more easily digestible; I also tried to address each part.

"***i forgot to mention that although outside influence might seem to take away responsibility from the individual afflicted there are often factors introduced to put responsibility on that person. for example we might say that the person 'courted' evil spirits and by doing so invited them in. some would say that by not living a 'god fearing' life one was courting evil forces.***"

As far as im concerned none of these things take away personal responsibility for actions from any individual. Anything that an individual does is a choice by the animal that they are, a belief that an individual might hold becomes part of them if their actions stem from a belief system, so this all entails personal responsibility.

Not including actual physical brain defects or mental health problems of course as this would be a separate issue.

"***however i think there's something to be said about those who through religious belief hold very strongly to the concept of 'good and evil' god and the devil etc. ***"

Agreed on the positive messages, not so keen on how some interpret it.

"***if one wholeheartedly believes it possible to let god into their life/heart then so too with the devil. if god wants us to accept him then so too with Satan. good and evil forces trying to gain control of our 'soul'. it's an interesting idea to explain behavior ***"

To me these things are non-literal ideals, it's required to have a "bad guy" as well as a "good guy" I think to show comparison between values and ideals.

"***we have a long history of thinking that outside supernatural forces are at work in the world and can be enticed to work for our benefit. on a simple level this can be used to explain our fortune as individuals and as ethnic groups or collectives as with those holding allegiance to a city or state. but i was not thinking of the individual blaming outside forces so much as others looking at the person and claiming that outside forces were at work.***"

Very true we come from a long long line of superstitious humans, but I would question if this does not at this point in our development hold back our species, the idea that others may blame outside forces (supernatural ones) for actions in an individual is perhaps due to:

A: not looking hard enough,

B: Not finding the real reasons.

C: Being predisposed to the idea that these things are real or have real effects on people, or perhaps a combination of the three.

Im pretty sure this way of thinking does not help the individual in question as effectively as finding the real reasons and in some cases could do harm.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 23:35:02 GMT
T. Green says:
"***whereas i would see unethical immoral acts as wrong or bad rather than automatically evil. it's wrong to steal a sweet from a news agents shop but is it evil? it's wrong to lie to someone about why you are 10 mins late meeting them but is it evil? i think 'evil' is used when wrong or bad goes to the 'next level' and we look on with horror at what was done. and i think it's in trying to understand this that some people believe that only outside evil supernatural forces could produce this type of behavior.***"

When we consider this it seems to be a question of degree and severity. Although a good case might be made for some of the horrors that people can inflict on others a form of insanity.

"***there are things we don't want to believe a sane or good human being is capable of doing and so when they do such things we look to classify them outside of the box that we want to see the rest of us being in. we are sane so they must be insane. they must be possessed with evil etc***"

Perhaps an example of society taking morality into its own hands so to speak?

"***Generally we might know it's wrong to murder but the trouble with this is that when you think about it there starts to build up a whole list of exceptions! murder is 'unlawful' killing but there's a whole bunch of lawful killing that's acceptable. so now the intentional death of someone is a matter of the law as to whether it's okay or not. i expect this has always been the case right back to hunter/gatherer groups. there would have had to be circumstances where the killing of another human happened and i bet there was a consensus of opinion as to whether it was okay or not! we are a social species and as such need codes of behaviors but those codes are going to be determined by relevant factors rather than absolute beliefs.***"

You will get no augment from me here at all, fully agree.

"***the idea of 'do unto others....... sounds good and no doubt is very old (wisdom sayings) but i bet it's always been a bit idealistic. ever since there has been social demarcation in society (that is to say those who have higher status than others) i expect there has also been a general rule along the lines of 'do unto others according to your station in life'. the first is great in a very egalitarian society but the later reflects the hierarchical societies that we inevitably build.***"

I suppose it does sound idealistic and it is old but wise. This concept is not always attainable by individuals of course but most likely forms part of our instinctive set of values intrinsically to different degrees with different individuals as it relates in a way to need and co-operation.

"***further to that we know that societies compete with each other and this in itself often creates distrust and something along the lines of 'do unto them before they can do unto you'! or 'think of your own needs first'.***"

Well this is true, but it is also true that we ourselves shape society, it is what we make it into, and the world turns and changes in very small steps.

Trust is a subject all to itself, it is true that we and societies judge on past events of course, ironically we have to trust initially to know whether that trust is warranted.

Phew, thanks Richard good post sorry about the long responses, but it's impossible to reply to some of this in a short fashion.

At least for me :-)

Posted on 12 Mar 2014 23:39:37 GMT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 23:44:59 GMT
Anita says:
Spin - do you consider yourself a nothing?

Because if not and if you say "everyone", that pretty much includes you. So you also agree with everyone else. Nothing to complain about then - ?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 23:52:12 GMT
T. Green says:
If you have a viewpoint that does not entail the one word, "correct" then by all means share it Spin.

It's because you can't as you are just intent on winding others up, I just read your quite frankly disgraceful contribution on the other thread: "good-bye folks." Which Stu created, your post in full is:

Stu: To be honest, you are quite right not to log onto a discussion about topics you are not familiar with or knowledgable of. No doubt we shall find you on entertainment and politics forums, eh? Unlike you, there are some on this forum who refuse to abandon it because although they have nothing to say about religion they get a kick out of insulting others as a past-time. I hope these folk follow your example and leave the Religion forum to those with a genuine interest in, and at least a basic knowledge of, the religions of this world. Ciao.

You are a bully Spin, this says much more about you than Stu.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2014 23:58:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Mar 2014 00:01:50 GMT
Spin says:
T; You object to my use of your word "correctness? Ok, How about, in your "moral" terms I translate it as "Proper"? There is always one "proper" action to take...But you ignore this in favour of what you consider to be a "good" action...Get the drift or do I have to post blocks of text explaining western and eastern moral beliefs to you?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2014 00:11:13 GMT
T. Green says:
"***T; You object to my use of your word "correctness? Ok, How about, in your "moral" terms I translate it as "Proper"? There is always one "proper" action to take...***"

No Spin, I object to your total lack of meaning behind your empty words.

"***But you ignore this in favour of what you consider to be a "good" action***" perhaps if you provided meaning?...

"***Get the drift or do I have to post blocks of text explaining western and eastern moral beliefs to you?***"

By all means explain it me, try to use your own words as others have rather than pretending it's your view by copying chunks of others work.

Over to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2014 03:00:27 GMT
light says:
Hi Green,

I'm glad to see that there is a good discussion about this topic.

I think that evil and wickedness are outdated words, I do not say that someones is evil or has done wicked things that sounds really corny, when I think that someone has done something evil or wicked I use words like disgusting, horrendous, terrible.....those words do not sound sanctimonious.

"this perfectly expresses the idea that what we call good and evil is what humans make it due to perspective, whether that is a group perspective or the individuals."

I do not think that all good or evil is due to perspective, some behavior is pretty much cut and dry, such as plotting to murder a spouse and carry it out, adultery, stealing, cheating....is definitely bad, and good behavior is helping, encouraging, giving, being faithful.....

"The reason I did this is because of the simple mindedness of all those who would claim human morality for themselves whilst seemingly ignoring the large percentage of "good" people who might follow other faiths or even none at all."

I believe in karma and this includes all people whether they believe in god or not. Karma involves cause and effect and is a law of nature. The bible talks about a person receiving according to what they have done, whether it is good or bad, reaping and sowing....

"young children learn like sponges even when we think they don't."

Yep, monkey see, monkey do ;o) It's difficult for a child to understand that over drinking is bad while their parent is overly drinking every night.

"I would call this common sense, so would many others, but same thing we either learn by our mistakes or we don't, this depends on the individual."

I've finally gotten to the point of trying to learn from other people's mistakes, I'm hoping to save myself some grief.

"Good example of one of the "seven deadly sins" to the way that I think light, ignoring this would fall under "sloth" to me."

Good point, I never thought of sins of omission as sloth, but now that you mention it, it certainly is.

"for example driving very tired is apparently worse than driving tipsy."

I know someone who was killed while driving home from work, he was tired from working 3rd shift and fell asleep at an intersection. Driving while texting is dangerous, as well as applying make-up and fiddling with the radio, gawking at pedestrians, all have been known to cause car accidents.

"Perhaps the "what would Satan do?" part you find easier to visualise due to religion saturating the idea that people are all evil."

When I think of Satan I usually do not think of the devil, to me, Satan represents the "selfish" human side of the ego, as opposed to the spiritual "selfless" side of the ego.

For some reason prisons come to mind, is there anything that can reform a prisoner?

take care, light

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2014 12:52:57 GMT
T. Green says:
Hello light,

"***I'm glad to see that there is a good discussion about this topic.***"

Yes, there always is of course, but sometimes it tends to degenerate into name calling but discussion and augment for topics does not have to mean actual augment, we are allowed to discuss things in a civilised fashion, which I find this to be.

This thread is about perspective so would hope to avoid some of this; everybody's not just mine, different perspectives create interesting discussion.

Karma is an interesting concept, perhaps will come back to that later, along with maybe some of your other points.

For now though I would try to address this part of your post.

"***For some reason prisons come to mind, is there anything that can reform a prisoner?***"

Assuming that the individual is of sound body and mind and has been judged correctly in the courts I do not see why not light, prison is not supposed to be revenge as far as I know, it is merely just a way to show consequence to action by removing a persons freedom for a length of time.

However the same thing applies, an acceptance must take place within the individual if there is any hope of reform. (Or redemption?) There is also something to be said about long term prisoners being different people by release date if locked away early, education might be the key in many cases.

What do you think?

Thanks light, sorry for not replying sooner but have been busy (or it's busy around me) and sometimes my time is limited so I tend to try to stick to only a few threads at most.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
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Initial post:  10 Mar 2014
Latest post:  19 Mar 2014

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