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In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 11:51:20 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
I'm completely confused. You've just argued my point for me, showing that right and wrong exist as concepts and change over time (though generally murder and rape are considered wrong in almost all societies, even those with no Christian contact - even cannabalistic societies have rules regarding who/how you can kill and eat someone - you can't just bop whoever you feel like on the head and get munching).

You've confirmed that our morality is cultural, and does not come from the Bible (else why would the religious middle ages have been so violent?).

"I am sure that the concept of right and wrong existed in Germany in the late 1930's, but it clearly wasn't the same as what we now consider right and wrong"
Exactly the same concepts existed, just look at the stories of people helping and hiding those persecuted by the Nazis. Just because the Nazis had perverted morals, doesn't mean those morals didn't exist. Or else why would it have been considered, at the time, as an atrocity?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 11:55:56 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
"I would treat my slaves today the same as I would have 2,000 years ago"
Really? I don't think so. Had you been brought up in a society where slavery was considered completely normal, and people were bought, sold, punished however the owner wished (and such punishments were even condoned by your religion), you think you'd be taking a stance about having no slaves and wanting none?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 12:38:08 BDT
C. A. Small says:
wdb- you misrepresent me- my point is that just because there are parts that say be nice, that does not balance genocide. Any more than Hitler being nice to some people makes the holocaust acceptable.

BTW the Kray twins were good to their mum. But I still find them unacceptable.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 12:40:02 BDT
A. Little says:
Whoops ... Exodus 22:18, not Genesis.

Luke 19:27 - you don't find this verse to be somewhat out-of-place given the tenor of the preceding parable?
Matt 27:23-26 - Jews accept responsibility (being 'the people' demanding crucifixion) 'and our children' ... where does 'all mankind' (and their children presumably) come from? And in what way does this make any kind of logical let alone moral sense?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2012 02:02:10 BDT
CAS - "my point is that just because there are parts that say be nice, that does not balance genocide. Any more than Hitler being nice to some people makes the holocaust acceptable."

Why is Mendelian selective breeding, involuntary sterilisation and selective extermination for the improvement of the species "good" for every species except the human race, for which it is "bad"? How do you arrive at the underlying moral precepts?
Could humans be a special case because they are the "Children of God" or the "masters" of all other species?
What is your moral basis for condemning the "holocaust", since it was part of a "scientific" attempt to "improve" the human race, with precedents in various American states (Davenport's eugenics)?
If evolution eventually eliminates the weak and unfit, why should intelligent, rational human governments and scientists not help to speed up the process?
What we need here is to understand just where your moral and ethical concepts come from!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 15:28:38 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Mlj- perhaps you should try and explain how an old book that contains so much that is abhorrent can be a moral guide for anything?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 15:31:08 BDT
Jim Guest says:
What's abhorrent?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 15:40:53 BDT
Spin says:
Michael: You raise so many issues, I do not know where to start! =) The p[oint that grabs my attention is the concept of "eugenics". I am personally in two minds as to the value and the evil of such a practice...Today, genetics, funded and supported by the public, attempts to ensure perfect physical and mental existence. But "Eugenics" is frowned upon. It seems better to eliminate a gene through the governmentally and commercialy supported lab, than through a politic...Be under no illusion; the aim of biological research is to create a being resistant to the environment...Seig Heil..=)

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 23:41:34 BDT
CAS - "perhaps you should try and explain how an old book that contains so much that is abhorrent can be a moral guide for anything?"

It is not really surprising that a book written some two thousand years ago and more should condone, but not necessarily encourage, social practices and laws that were customary at the time, whilst also appealing for more charitable and humanitarian attitudes and behaviour.
What is surprising is that scientific efforts in the last 200 years or so towards the "improvement" of species should lead to the moral distortions of the holocaust.
Whilst humanist ethics should be essentially atheist and independent of religious precepts, historically they would seem to be largely derivative from pre-existant religious principles, partly, I am sure, to be acceptable and gain favour within the predominantly "religious" society within which they originated.
You yourself constantly make impassioned value judgements of "good" and "bad" without ever explaining (or perhaps even asking yourself) just where you get these concepts from.
As a whole-hearted, and sometimes unquestioning, supporter of science, I would expect you to support the aim of "eugenic" or genetic improvement of the human species, perhaps even to the point of involuntarism of the policies of Davenport and Hitler, but these last you seem to repudiate on some moral basis that you have not explained to date.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 00:04:03 BDT
Spin - "The p[oint that grabs my attention is the concept of "eugenics"."

When I originally used this term, thinking of its current negative connotations, arising from Davenport's and Hitler's programmes, I was immediately corrected with references to Mendel. In its original usage, the term was more or less synonymous with genetic improvement by selective breeding.
A quick web-search today will reveal a number of "eugenic" advisory services for people to produce "exceptionally gifted" children through selective partnering or AI. Sounds like a futuristic alternative to the now almost obsolete notion of romantic love marriages or the traditional financially arranged marriages! :-)
My point, though, was to question the basis for the atheist moral principles underlying CA's condemnation of the holocaust. Why should he judge the scientific "improvement" of the human race to be a bad thing?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 07:07:13 BDT
C. A. Small says:
MLJ_ way to miss the point- well done.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 22:43:39 BDT
Isobel,

I don't totally agree with your assessment. Morality IS culturally influenced, but there is no good reason for it not to be absolutely anything and different cultures have different mores. Rape and murder are a fact of life in African guerilla groups and in American street gangs, and if the only reason we can say they are wrong is because our society says so, we have no foundation.

This is why I refer to God/the Bible. A God-given morality is infinitely preferable to a morality that is derived from the majority rule of any given society.

Indeed there were people who opposed the atrocities of nazism (try reading about Andre Trocme or Corrie Ten Boom for example). However why were they a minority?

Have you ever read Fatherland by Robert Harris - it postulates an alternative world where Germany won the 2nd world war and relates to a policeman investigating a missing family of Jews from 20 years earlier (set in the 60's if I remember correctly). Had Germany won the war it is unlikely that anyone would ask what really happened?

The other thing to consider is that the Nazi mistreatment of Jews began before the war, but many refugees were refused entry to Britain. In some cases only children were allowed in, while their parents had to stay behind and die.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 22:49:17 BDT
Isobel,

I disagree with your assessment of the Jewish stance on slavery. I have no doubt that some slave owners would not have been good masters, but since the way Jewish slavery worked is that an individual offered himself and his family into temporary slavery to avoid starvation and they could pick who would be their master (as long as that person would take them), it is unlikely that anyone would be treated badly on a whim by the master.

There are key differences between the Jewish concept of slavery and the concept that the nations around them had. Also there are key differences between most people today's idea of slavery which dates back to the 15th-18th centuries and which all who are Christian should be opposed to.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 23:00:04 BDT
Exodus - to be fair there is no specific context within Exodus for this - it is part of a list of crimes... and that is the actual context. The wider cultural context must suggest that witches/sorcerers were common elsewhere and their claims put them in opposition to God. But I'd need to read a bit more before firming that up. I've said this before, but don't assume that this is some harmless wiccan thing.

Luke 19:27 - no, in fact it fits quite nicely with the parable - it is purely a story and the important part is the remainder of the parable, this is just window dressing to the story.

Matt - given that the writer of Matthew was Jewish and promoting a very Jewish view of Jesus as Messiah, he was either accepting responsibility on behalf of all of Judaism, or on behalf of all mankind - the latter seems more logical to me as it fits in with the general theology of the New Testament (Jesus' death was necessary because of the sin of mankind - both before he died and after).
Your reply to Mr. W. D. Burchell's post:
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In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2012 16:06:26 BDT
Jim Guest says:
'which all who are Christian should be opposed to'

For newcomers, this is from a confirmed follower of Satan.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  165
Initial post:  23 Jun 2012
Latest post:  21 Jul 2012

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