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MacAllister
05-25-2005, 06:35 AM
There is an endless and fascinating range of social issues that modern churches must reconcile with faith and doctrine. I personally would LOVE to see these things discussed in a rational and civilized fashion.

In fact, many American Christian churches support women in leadership positions--some do not. Some Christian churches advocate committed relationships for homosexual couples, and will perform commitment ceremonies--others do not. Some Christian churches support a woman's right to choose, others vehemently do not.

What do ya'll think--not so much about the issues themselves, as I'm NOT trying to burn Betty's nice room down--but about the differences in denominational approaches to those issues?

mommie4a
05-25-2005, 06:43 AM
Mac - if this is too burdensome, just ignore the request. But for those of us who aren't Christian but are interested in learning more about the debates between and within denominations, is there any quick glossary or guide to the various main denominations that would crop up in this thread? I'm familiar with Episcopalian, Unitarian, Congregationalist, Protestant, Lutheran, Baptist, Fundamentalist. And within Catholicism, I'm familiar with Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans. But I only know one or two word phrases that keep them distinct in my mind.

Any kind of useful thumbnail sketch of these and others that you might suggest to would help those of us who probably won't and can't comment but still want to read along?

MacAllister
05-25-2005, 06:49 AM
Jill--if you find one, I'd love to know about it, too! I'm not a Christian, either--but am ever-curious.

Just from a historical perspective, Christianity has had so much to do with shaping Western civilization and politics, that as a writer, reader, and thinker, I'd be a fool not to investigate the hows and whys, as much as possible. :)

Anyone else know the answer to Jill's question?

mommie4a
05-25-2005, 06:56 AM
Jill--if you find one, I'd love to know about it, too! I'm not a Christian, either--but am ever-curious.

Just from a historical perspective, Christianity has had so much to do with shaping Western civilization and politics, that as a writer, reader, and thinker, I'd be a fool not to investigate the hows and whys, as much as possible. :)

Anyone else know the answer to Jill's question?

Mac - you've spurred me on! Especially if I know I'm not doing it just for myself! Let me see what I can find.

brinkett
05-25-2005, 06:58 AM
What do ya'll think--not so much about the issues themselves, as I'm NOT trying to burn Betty's nice room down--but about the differences in denominational approaches to those issues?
I think every organization has the right to decide what's acceptable behaviour for its members. However, that's where the buck stops. I'm a strong believer in the separation of church and state. Religious organizations should not impose their views on society.


Any kind of useful thumbnail sketch of these and others that you might suggest to would help those of us who probably won't and can't comment but still want to read along?

Try here:

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations/comparison_charts.htm

I don't know how accurate it is - I just googled for it. You might find others. It's limited to denominations in the US, as well. For a more "worldly" view of Christianity, this site might be useful:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_comp.htm

mommie4a
05-25-2005, 07:00 AM
Thanks! Very helpful indeed.

mommie4a
05-25-2005, 07:01 AM
www.beliefnet.com (http://www.beliefnet.com) of course!

MacAllister
05-25-2005, 07:05 AM
The interesting thing about the separation of Church and State, as suggested by the framers of the constitution, is that it remains a source of argument as to whether the Establishment clause of the Constitution was designed specifically to protect religion from the Government, vice versa, or both.

From one such discussion (http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/estabinto.htm):

At an absolute minimum, the Establishment Clause was intended to prohibit the federal government from declaring and financially supporting a national religion, such as existed in many other countries at the time of the nation's founding. It is far less clear whether the Establishment Clause was also intended to prevent the federal government from supporting Christianity in general. Proponents of a narrow interpretation of the clause point out that the same First Congress that proposed the Bill of Rights also opened its legislative day with prayer and voted to apportion federal dollars to establish Christian missions in the Indian lands. On the other hand, persons seeing a far broader meaning in the clause point to writings by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison suggesting the need to establish "a wall of separation" between church and state.

Great links, Brinkett! Thank you!

brinkett
05-25-2005, 08:01 AM
The interesting thing about the separation of Church and State, as suggested by the framers of the constitution, is that it remains a source of argument as to whether the Establishment clause of the Constitution was designed specifically to protect religion from the Government, vice versa, or both.
I'm not American, so what the constitution intended doesn't matter to me. I just believe that religious organizations shouldn't impose their views on society because usually when they do, they have no rationale for doing so except "because that's what our organization believes."

As for whether a society should impose its views on religious organizations, that's a tricky one. I would say sometimes it should when there is clear emotional or physical abuse, or when it's certain that someone will be harmed if the state doesn't do anything. For example, Jehovah's witnesses don't believe in receiving blood transfusions. If a child with JW parents has a disease and must receive blood transfusions or s/he will die, should the state step in? Should the state step in if a religion teaches that it's okay to beat children black and blue? I would say yes, but I'm willing to entertain rational arguments to the contrary.

DrRita
05-25-2005, 07:36 PM
What do ya'll think--not so much about the issues themselves, as I'm NOT trying to burn Betty's nice room down--but about the differences in denominational approaches to those issues?

MacAllister,

Interesting question, one that has plagued Christianity since Christ ascended. I've found that usually everyone has a preconceived opinion and belief which is usually not up for reconstruction. That's why I usually don't get involved in discussions about Christian issues when it involves the different denominational scraps over the questions you raised, MacAllister. You may have a difficult time drawing conservative Christians into the discussion because Christians have a very different viewpoint of spiritual issues than do non Christians and it has to do with the overall worldview differences. Let me add some food for thought, much of which you are probably already aware. I have no bone to pick and am not out to change anyone's mind. Here's what I see as a major underlying problem.

First, there is the distinction between "Christians." Many people call themselves Crhistians because they have adopted the Christian religion as their preferance over other religions. Much like one would choose a bank or a college or something like that. They only are Christians by default.

The second group Christians by denominational distinction and are more active and participate in the religious activities of the particular denomination they have chosen, whether Catholic, Luthern, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian etc. Their allegiance is to the denomination and the church and tend to have a variety of beliefs and world views, often adapting other "non-Christian or non-traditional" views and incorporating them into their Christian worldview. They are Christians by religion. It is in this group where most of the differences of opinion on social and governmental issues arise.

The last group are Christians by committment to the Person of Christ. They can belong to any denomination, any race and any culture. They view the world as subject to God and Christ irregardless of the religious and governmental preferances of a society or nation. This group considers all mankind in subjection to God and His word is the final authority over all. What it says in the Scripture applies to all humanity, not just those who believe in Him or his son or his written word. So they do not believe they are imposing anything of their own beliefs upon society but merely upholding the truth as it is spelled out by God. (this tends to give the fundamental Christians a very bad rep) It is in this group that you have problems with the interpretative issues and doctrinal differences. The fundamental belief in the depravity of man, virgin birth, incarnation of Christ, death and resurrection of Christ, ascention and immenant return are the warp and weave of this belief system but the scraps and fights come over the smaller doctrines. That's why there are so many fundamental Christian denominations, Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God and the list is a mile long. Within this group is a large segment who holds no allegiance to any denomination at all and simply are independant Christians. They have an allegiance to God alone, many of these are not even members of a church. (refer to thread "Reasons to leave a church for more info on that hot controversy).

I think your question, MacAllister, cannot be answered by Christianity as a whole. There is too much debate even among Christians themselves on these issues. They can't even get along with each other over these issues.

As to the church and state issue, there are as many opinions to that from both sides as their are hairs on a rabbit. When I want to know what the "Christian" take or action is on an issue, I tend to look into Jesus life for the answer. He never go involved in politics. He never imposed himself on the Roman government nor did he expect his followers to become activists. But there are issues worth fighting over and those who feel called to do so need to step forward. It's a fine zig-zag line between church and state, one that will go on as long as there is government and church.

Pat~
05-26-2005, 04:13 AM
Well thought out answer, Dr. Rita!

MacAllister
05-26-2005, 10:28 AM
Hmm. I particularly like the way you leave room in your third group of Christians for them to belong to any or to no specific denomination or culture. I'm not satisfied that the three groups accurately sums up the range of Christianity that I've observed--but it makes a good start towards dissecting some of the fundamental difficulties in lexicon, when approaching the original question.

Thanks, Dr. Rita, for your response!

DrRita
05-26-2005, 05:02 PM
To be sure the three groups are in no way inclusive of all Christians or Christianity but a general lumping together of types. As with any "tag," there are those who are in a sub group of their own. It's a very broad spectrum. God Bless, Mac.

eldragon
05-26-2005, 05:13 PM
For example, Jehovah's witnesses don't believe in receiving blood transfusions. If a child with JW parents has a disease and must receive blood transfusions or s/he will die, should the state step in? Should the state step in if a religion teaches that it's okay to beat children black and blue? I would say yes, but I'm willing to entertain rational arguments to the contrary.



The reason I would agree, and say yes, is because I think the child (who cannot decide, being a minor) should be able to choose their own destiny - life or death.

The parents shouldn't choose death for the child, based on the parents views. If the parent needs a blood transfusion and doesn't get one based on religion - that's their right.

Scientologists, I believe, have a list of medical procedures they will not allow.


Wouldn't it be a shame for a parent to deny their child the right to live based on their religion, and then, years down the road........discover a different religion?


A little off the topic ....but I once knew a Penecostal man - and they believe that women should not cut their hair. This guy worked as a hairdresser by profession.


Isn't that ironic? And, his wife and children were not allowed to cut their hair. But it was ok to make a living cutting other (sinners) hair.

HMM.

DrRita
05-26-2005, 11:48 PM
The reason I would agree, and say yes, is because I think the child (who cannot decide, being a minor) should be able to choose their own destiny - life or death.

The parents shouldn't choose death for the child, based on the parents views. If the parent needs a blood transfusion and doesn't get one based on religion - that's their right.



If this applies to all living children, why shouldn't this be true for the baby in the mother's womb? Should a mother have the right to chose death for an unborn child?

eldragon
05-26-2005, 11:59 PM
If this applies to all living children, why shouldn't this be true for the baby in the mother's womb? Should a mother have the right to chose death for an unborn child?

In that case - the unborn embryo or fetus cannot survive without the mother's approval.


An unborn embryo or fetus is not a separate unit, it's part of the woman carrying it.

Abortion is a sticky, sensitive issue. Nobody that has to have one is doing it for fun. It's a time of horrendous stress.

If a girl (woman) has the baby.........and she didn't want it....where are the people to help her? The only thing that matters is whether or not the fetus is allowed to survive the birth. Whether or not the fetus is healthy, loved, wanted, or able to be supported, is irrelevant.

eldragon
05-27-2005, 12:01 AM
And then, as soon as the baby gets married ......the parents have no right to decide whether she lives or dies. (Terry Shiavo).

MacAllister
05-27-2005, 12:24 AM
Personally? I think abortion is one of the great shames of humanity. That said--I also absolutely support a woman's right to choose.

I'd vastly prefer to see widely available, cheap/free, practical, safe, and effective contraceptives. What we already have is apparently not enough.

I do not, however, think legislation will solve the problem. I think it's a social/cultural problem that must be changed by altering people's hearts and minds in a way that they change their own behavior.

Historically, women have abortions whether or not it's safe and legal. Women have also, historically, abandoned or killed unwanted babies after those babies were born.

The whole thing makes me think there's something more underlying this issue, and abortion is only one symptom of an enormous human "disease."

eldragon
05-27-2005, 12:24 AM
If this applies to all living children, why shouldn't this be true for the baby in the mother's womb? Should a mother have the right to chose death for an unborn child?

You know - nothing is easy.

I volunteer at a nursing home, and know several people that would be better off dead. We're talking no quality of life. NONE. I spent an hour with my friend Janice yesterday. Her husband shot her in the back of the head about 5 years ago.


She spent the hour silently crying (she can't talk or make any sounds).....was covered in urine (can't afford diapers), and choking on her bile (has a constantly dripping trach). She is paralyzed and spends her days lying in bed. No visitors - save a few volunteers.


I swear - everytime I'm with Janice - I wish I could end her misery - in some way.

brinkett
05-27-2005, 12:49 AM
Mac: I agree with everything in your post.

eldragon: You have a heart of gold.

Betty W01
05-28-2005, 10:51 AM
I guess I'm part of the third group that Rita mentioned. As for the "don't force your beliefs on society", I have mixed feelings about that. For one thing, I do not believe that minors have the right to make most choices on their own, since they are not old/wise/responsible enough to decide many things for themselves. Minors cannot marry, drink, enlist, or be held liable for contracts they've signed unless their parents agree. They cannot have sex with someone much older than themselves. They cannot decide how many hours they will work, or whether they have to go to school or not. So, keep in mind I am talking about adults (whatever that is defined as - that's another kettle of fish! <grin>)

On the one hand, I don't think anyone should be forced by the government or by another grown-up (husband, boss, whatever) to attend any particular church or a church at all, if they choose not to. This, as I see it, is what the separation of church and state really means: freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.


On the other hand, of course we force our beliefs on society! A murderer believes that his needs and desires are more important than the value of a human life and that it's permissible to take a life, in order to get what he wants (money, freedom from annoyance, removal as an obstacle.) I disagree. So does society. So does the Bible, what I consider the Word of God, which is where my disagreement comes from. God sets the value of a human life and the conditions under which it can be taken, and personal convenience isn't one of them. And if someone comes along and takes issue with me trying to stop him from taking a life, too bad. Even if society someday says murder is Ok (and no, I'm not gettin into the abortion issue, thanks, not now), it's not. It is wrong. That is a Truth, capital T.

Rapists believe that they can use sex to overpower another human being, against that person's will, based on nebulous things like "She was asking for it", "I couldn't help it!" "Look how she's dressed or where she was walking!" and so on. I disagree. So does society. So does God. So, if someone comes along and attacks your sister or your neighbor and then says, "Don't force your beliefs on me, I think I ought to be allowed to have sex with anyone who catches my fancy, regardless of what you think or they think", what do you say? "Oh, well, sure, go ahead, far be it from me to force my beliefs on you..." I doubt it.

A child molester believes that a child is a legitimate sexual partner. I disagree. So does society. So does God.

The problem comes in when society thinks something is OK or that it doesn't affect society, so it's no one's business (adultery, for example), and God says it's not OK. Do I think adultery ought to be against the law? Yeah, I actually do, although I'm not going to lobby for laws against it. That's one of many laws that would be pretty hard to enforce! But it does affect society, through the breakdown of the marital bonds and the family, and it's Truth, with a capital T. Do not commit adultery.

So, when someone says she doesn't believe religion ought to affect a society's laws, I say, where do you think moral law comes from? Either there's an objective standard of right and wrong that stands outside of mankind's wishes and desires and societal fashions - in which case it is, it must be, the root of all law - or there is not, in which case no one has a right to tell anyone else anything about what is right or wrong, and everyone's rights will only be what they can grab and hold at the end of a fist.

And if you agree that there is an objective standard, where did it come from?

(Eldragon, I'm so sorry for your friend's pain, and your own grief. How awful to have someone who should have loved and cared for her treat her so.)

brinkett
05-28-2005, 05:11 PM
freedom of religion, not freedom from religion

People must be able to choose no religion. There are implications from this.



The problem comes in when society thinks something is OK or that it doesn't affect society, so it's no one's business (adultery, for example), and God says it's not OK.

And religious groups are free to set the rules they expect their members to obey. They can't force those rules on everybody.


So, when someone says she doesn't believe religion ought to affect a society's laws, I say, where do you think moral law comes from?
Not religion, that's for sure. If everyone was an atheist, do you think we'd be living in a state of anarchy? No, we wouldn't. Atheists respect their fellow humans like everyone else does. Intelligent people recognize that in order for humans to live together in some degree of harmony, there have to be rules, and for the same reason, they do their best to follow those rules. Religion doesn't have to enter into it.



And if you agree that there is an objective standard, where did it come from?

I don't agree that there's an objective standard.

Doyle
05-28-2005, 05:37 PM
I have a different take on this social issue of the day. I have written a short piece, but I don't know if I can include it here -- basically, scripture teaches that "the life is in the blood", an embryo does not have rudimentary blood cells until many days after conception. If the life is in the blood, and there is no blood, then there is no life, so embryos without bloodcells could be made available for research because they have no life.

Is there a way to embed an already written article here, or do I need to create a new thread?

Thanks

Betty W01
05-28-2005, 07:45 PM
Doyle, start another thread, and paste the URL in here.

Brinkett, the freedom not to choose religion is in freedom of religion. Currently, it seems to be interpreted as freedom to not pay any attentiion to religion, whether it is important to someone or not, though, and that's not what that meant originally.

And of course you believe in an objective standard. Why is murder wrong? Why is rape wrong? Why can't we all do whatever we want, with no regard for anything except the rule of the fist and full purse? You say, "Intelligent people recognize that in order for humans to live together in some degree of harmony, there have to be rules, and for the same reason, they do their best to follow those rules." OK, who sets the rules and from what moral standard?

Ooops, thunderstorm - gotta go!

robeiae
05-28-2005, 09:51 PM
I think abortion is one of the great shames of humanity. That said--I also absolutely support a woman's right to choose.

:Clap: :Clap: :Clap:

Mac, I've never seen/heard anyone express this position so concisely and so correctly. I agree with you 100%!

Denominational issues can be very minor, or very significant. I am a Presbyterian, but there are two kinds of Presbyterianism and they do not play well together; one difference: one allows women to be pastors and elders, the other doesn't.

Such a difference can have severe implications when it is applied to societal issues, assuming members of both really believe what they claim to believe.

Yet, when it comes to church doctrine, both are very similar; indeed, they are also similar to Episcopaleanism and Anglicanism. It is a very difficult discussion to have fully; maybe it would make a nice book...any takers?

brinkett
05-28-2005, 10:07 PM
Brinkett, the freedom not to choose religion is in freedom of religion. Currently, it seems to be interpreted as freedom to not pay any attentiion to religion, whether it is important to someone or not, though, and that's not what that meant originally.

Why shouldn't someone have the freedom to not pay attention to religion?



And of course you believe in an objective standard.

Please extend me the courtesy of allowing me to speak for myself.



Why is murder wrong? Why is rape wrong?



Intelligent people recognize that in order for humans to live together in some degree of harmony, there have to be rules, and for the same reason, they do their best to follow those rules.

There was a time when nobody talked about date rape, and the concept of rape within marriage was unheard of. The US sometimes puts criminals to death. Other countries have done away with that, thinking it barbaric. Domestic violence wasn't always taken as seriously as it is today. In some societies, it's still not considered any sort of crime. The rules evolve. There aren't really any absolutes.



Why can't we all do whatever we want, with no regard for anything except the rule of the fist and full purse?



Intelligent people recognize that in order for humans to live together in some degree of harmony, there have to be rules, and for the same reason, they do their best to follow those rules.




OK, who sets the rules

The state does. People who wish to supplement those rules with those imposed on them by their religious leaders are free to do so in their own lives.



and from what moral standard?

Why do they have to be set from a moral standard?

DrRita
05-29-2005, 12:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by brinkett
Intelligent people recognize that in order for humans to live together in some degree of harmony, there have to be rules, and for the same reason, they do their best to follow those rules.




Quote:
OK, who sets the rules


The state does. People who wish to supplement those rules with those imposed on them by their religious leaders are free to do so in their own lives.



Quote:
and from what moral standard?


Why do they have to be set from a moral standard?



Hmmmm. This reminds me of the arguments concerning the origin of matter. It just came from somewhere, but no one knows where. Kabang and there it was?? Is that where morality comes from? Oh that's right, it comes from the state. Where did they get it?:Shrug:

Doyle
05-30-2005, 08:22 PM
I have found that still most Christians do not know if there is a difference between the spirit of a person and the soul of a person. Not knowing this puts them in the place of trying to understand and live a spiritual life in the power and authority of the soul. Hence the confused mess we have around us. If one does not make the leap from doctrinal Christianity to spritiual Christianity then all that is possible is the endless tail chasing around and around the many divisive issures without any resolution. Anyone know the diference between Christianity and Religion?

Betty W01
05-31-2005, 06:52 AM
Doyle, I'll make a stab at it:

Religion - a belief in a set of rules by which one conducts one's life, often but not always including a belief in the supernatural or a Supreme Being of some sort

Christianity - a personal life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, in which He becomes your Savior, Ruler, Lord, and Friend

And also:

Soul - the mind, will, and emotions of a person
Spirit - that part of a person that can connect with God and communicate with Him outside of human understanding (i.e. without words, gestures, etc.)

And Rita, you said it well. If morality ["of or pertaining to a standard of behavior that relates to right or wrong"] does not come from somewhere outside oneself, it is only rules that apply if I like them and agree with them and want to follow them. Not all laws are based on moral issues. A speeding law that says you can not drive 100 mph isn't based on morality, but on society standards, safety issues, and possibly local tolerance. A law that says you can't murder someone - well. that's a question of right and wrong, and where did the original standard come from?

brinkett
05-31-2005, 05:41 PM
A law that says you can't murder someone - well. that's a question of right and wrong, and where did the original standard come from?
Observation and experience.

DrRita
05-31-2005, 07:03 PM
Observation and experience.

Whose?

Pat~
05-31-2005, 07:22 PM
Observation and experience.

And those observations and experiences led to some conclusions which prompted the laws; but where did those conclusions come from?

brinkett
05-31-2005, 07:40 PM
Whose?
Humans.



And those observations and experiences led to some conclusions which prompted the laws; but where did those conclusions come from?

Observation and experience. You just said it yourself.

Pat~
05-31-2005, 07:51 PM
Humans.


Observation and experience. You just said it yourself.

But what if my human conclusions are different than your human conclusions (for example, if I were a murderer)?

Pat~
05-31-2005, 08:13 PM
I have a different take on this social issue of the day. I have written a short piece, but I don't know if I can include it here -- basically, scripture teaches that "the life is in the blood", an embryo does not have rudimentary blood cells until many days after conception. If the life is in the blood, and there is no blood, then there is no life, so embryos without bloodcells could be made available for research because they have no life.

Is there a way to embed an already written article here, or do I need to create a new thread?

Thanks

Doyle, I'm no medical expert, but it seems to me that there could be no embryo without blood cells. Its life is first sustained by the mother's blood cells. So it seems, if it is viable at all, it is always supported by living blood cells, (i.e. there is no such thing as an embryo without blood cells).

Pat~
05-31-2005, 08:21 PM
An instinctive need for survival. If you kill my wife, I'll kill yours. If I kill my husband, who will hunt? If we kill too many people, who will defend us against attacks from other people or animals, who will care for me if I am injured? But people did routinely kill other people - old people, deformed people, sick people, children they didn't like and through sacrifices to appease gods.

I'm not sure, but I believe the first society to actually bring this "no killing" into formal law was the Jews, with the 10 commandments. Until then, killing people may have been a crime, but quite likely you would not be caught and it had nothing to do with an afterlife.

Cathi

So that it would be similar as to why we have laws against speeding...you're not saying murder is morally wrong, here, it's just that you value (your own) life. So therefore, you would have no problem, personally, with murdering someone...? (Not accusing you personally, Cathi!--just trying to follow the logic...)

brinkett
05-31-2005, 08:43 PM
But what if my human conclusions are different than your human conclusions (for example, if I were a murderer)?
Then you have two humans living in the same society who disagree with each other over what you consider to be a moral issue. If this is intended to be an argument supporting your assertion that the laws of western society must have followed from some external moral standard that humans just seem to know, you're shooting yourself in the foot. :guns:



An instinctive need for survival. If you kill my wife, I'll kill yours. If I kill my husband, who will hunt? If we kill too many people, who will defend us against attacks from other people or animals, who will care for me if I am injured?

Yes, this is the sort of thing that might have led humans to conclude that killing each other at will probably isn't a good idea, and that in order for the tribe or community to survive and flourish, a rule should be created against it.

To those who are arguing that the laws of the US (I assume this is what we're really discussing) follow from some absolute moral standard external to humans, what arguments do you have to offer that support your assertion?

Pat~
05-31-2005, 08:57 PM
hahahha, NOOOOO...I was answering the question about "who decided" it was wrong, or how we came to that conclusion in the first place since the one poster's "observation and experience" answer wasn't being accepted.......I think it likely evolved as we became educated, philosophical and religion developed and a belief in a higher power(s) and an afterlife...

Without the civilization part, we are only animals.

Cathi

So it rather evolved as we developed a belief in a system of moral absolutes...(just clarifying...and I happen to agree with this)

brinkett
05-31-2005, 09:01 PM
It's not just humans. Although Watership Down was a great book, I don't believe rabbits have a belief system, (although, if a member of their community dies, they do dance around the body and kiss the dead or dying animal once, and it looks VERY ceremonial) but they don't kill each other...most animals have communities and don't kill within their communities and many types of animals don't kill at all. It's not a moral thing, obviously... mother nature has it there for a reason.

Tomcats will kill the kittens of their rivals. I'm sure we can find other examples if we look.

Having said that, I agree that if we're discussing murder specifically, probably there's some innate survival instinct coming into play, both in terms of the individual and the human race as a whole. But that's not the same thing as an external moral standard, as you pointed out, and doesn't address other laws.

Pat~
05-31-2005, 09:03 PM
OH God...I thought being called homely on another thread was about as much trouble as I could get into!! I've underestimated myself.

As a rational, civilized human being I believe murder is wrong, morally and in all other ways (I also posted I was pro-life, so if I don't want to kill an unborn child, I'm not going to be willing to kill his mother).

Cathi

LOL...they called you homely??! (Isn't that your picture??)

Pat~
05-31-2005, 09:06 PM
Then you have two humans living in the same society who disagree with each other over what you consider to be a moral issue. If this is intended to be an argument supporting your assertion that the laws of western society must have followed from some external moral standard that humans just seem to know, you're shooting yourself in the foot. :guns:

So then, why would the adopted law be against murder instead of supporting it?

brinkett
05-31-2005, 09:10 PM
So it rather evolved as we developed a belief in a system of moral absolutes...(just clarifying...and I happen to agree with this)
I think we'd almost be on the same page in that case, except I prefer not to bring morality into it. Rather than "moral absolutes", I'd say something like "rules that promote a stable society" or something like that. And we're still evolving, which is why I'd be loathe to use the term "absolutes".



So then, why would the adopted law be against murder instead of supporting it?

Because others would show that to allow people to murder at will doesn't promote a stable society. Of course, if for some reason everyone agreed with the murderer, then you'd have a society without a law against murder. It might not last very long, though.

Pat~
05-31-2005, 09:22 PM
I think we'd almost be on the same page in that case, except I prefer not to bring morality into it. Rather than "moral absolutes", I'd say something like "rules that promote a stable society" or something like that. And we're still evolving, which is why I'd be loathe to use the term "absolutes".


Because others would show that to allow people to murder at will doesn't promote a stable society. Of course, if for some reason everyone agreed with the murderer, then you'd have a society without a law against murder. It might not last very long, though.

So, if you had a society where the majority felt murder was ok, then for that society a good law would be one that allowed murder?

brinkett
05-31-2005, 09:22 PM
We have all sorts of laws that allow murder, we just rename it and act all civilized about it: Terri Sshaivo comes to mind; we executed Ted Bundy; the burning bed woman (can't recall her name); war.

It's mercy killy, execution, self-defense, protection, but it all falls under the "killing" category...it's just that we come together as a society and decide that it's not "murder" in the legal sense.

Yes, I completely agree. I was going to pull out cases like those if people kept arguing with me about moral absolutes. ;)

When I've been speaking about murder, I've meant as western society generally views it, though even that isn't uniform. Another argument against the laws of society following from an absolute moral standard.

brinkett
05-31-2005, 09:28 PM
So, if you had a society where the majority felt murder was ok, then for that society a good law would be one that allowed murder?
It's not a matter of feeling, it's a matter of demonstrating that not having a law against murder would not be detrimental to the stability of the society.

Pat~
05-31-2005, 09:28 PM
Yes, I completely agree. I was going to pull out cases like those if people kept arguing with me about moral absolutes. ;)

When I've been speaking about murder, I've meant as western society generally views it, though even that isn't uniform. Another argument against the laws of society following from an absolute moral standard.

Except that many who believe in moral absolutes do not support the ideas of mercy killing, et al.(--any other killing that is not a matter of self-defence...)

Pat~
05-31-2005, 09:32 PM
It's not a matter of feeling, it's a matter of demonstrating that not having a law against murder would not be detrimental to the stability of the society.

So if the majority concluded this, a law protecting a person's right to murder would be a good one?

brinkett
05-31-2005, 09:35 PM
Except that many who believe in moral absolutes do not support the ideas of mercy killing, et al.(--any other killing that is not a matter of self-defence...)
Isn't this an argument against the assertion that the laws of society are based on a moral standard?



So if the majority concluded this, a law protecting a person's right to murder would be a good one?

No, it doesn't automatically follow.

Pat~
05-31-2005, 09:52 PM
Isn't this an argument against the assertion that the laws of society are based on a moral standard?


No, it doesn't automatically follow.


To answer the first question, no...it only shows that the laws of society are inconsistently based on moral standards (in other words, they are often based on personal, variable moral standards of right and wrong). Our society (I'm speaking specifically of America, tho it probably applies elsewhere, too) is governed by laws voted on by the people. The people voting have (often) curiously inconsistent reasons for thinking something should or shoudn't be legal; but most would still back up their assertions by referencing some moral standard.

In answer to the second, why not?

Pat~
05-31-2005, 11:02 PM
I don't think this applies to all laws. There are lots of laws that have nothing to do with morals or moral standards. Furthermore, all moral laws are not even important.
Cathi

I'd agree with you that some laws are based more on expediency, though sometimes they are ascribed a moral basis. The statement above referred to Brinkett's mention of the variable laws concerning killing, and this usually is founded on some moral standard.

brinkett
05-31-2005, 11:40 PM
To answer the first question, no...it only shows that the laws of society are inconsistently based on moral standards (in other words, they are often based on personal, variable moral standards of right and wrong).
Yes, the laws of society aren't based on a single moral standard or on a set of moral absolutes. Thank you.



In answer to the second, why not?
Not outlawing something and protecting the right to do it are two different things.

Pat~
06-01-2005, 12:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb10220
To answer the first question, no...it only shows that the laws of society are inconsistently based on moral standards (in other words, they are often based on personal, variable moral standards of right and wrong).


Yes, the laws of society aren't based on a single moral standard or on a set of moral absolutes. Thank you.

Quote:
In answer to the second, why not?

Not outlawing something and protecting the right to do it are two different things.


The laws are based on moral standards which are based on an innate sense of an Absolute Truth.

Not outlawing something (e.g. murder) and protecting the right to do it are based on the same moral standard...that murder is okay.

brinkett
06-01-2005, 12:21 AM
The laws are based on moral standards which are based on an innate sense of an Absolute Truth.

Well, you have to provide arguments that support that. You haven't provided any, except to say that most people vote for laws based on their personal view of morality. And you haven't provided anything to support that, either.

I'm not thrilled with abortion. But I would oppose any law that would remove a woman's right to choose. Some people think homosexuality is wrong. But they support the right of gays and lesbians to marry. People can and often do recognize that they cannot impose their own version of morality on others.



Not outlawing something (e.g. murder) and protecting the right to do it are based on the same moral standard...that murder is okay.
Moral standards are irrelevant. This fictitious society we've been discussing doesn't base its laws on moral standards.

Pat~
06-01-2005, 12:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb10220
The laws are based on moral standards which are based on an innate sense of an Absolute Truth.



Well, you have to provide arguments that support that. You haven't provided any, except to say that most people vote for laws based on their personal view of morality. And you haven't provided anything to support that, either.

I'm not thrilled with abortion. But I would oppose any law that would remove a woman's right to choose. Some people think homosexuality is wrong. But they support the right of gays and lesbians to marry. People can and often do recognize that they cannot impose their own version of morality on others.

Quote:
Not outlawing something (e.g. murder) and protecting the right to do it are based on the same moral standard...that murder is okay.

Moral standards are irrelevant. This fictitious society we've been discussing doesn't base its laws on moral standards.
I would agree with you that we can't impose our moral standards on anybody. I would disagree, though, that moral standards are irrelevant.

You asked for some examples that would support the idea that people operate from standards that reflect an innate sense of Absolute Truth--an Absolute Moral Standard. I think I can give you a few.

Consider the morality of Nazi Germany...why is it that the prevailing opinion seems to be that their 'morality' is not as good as the morality that says the Nazi regime was wrong? Both are standards reflecting the prevailing morality of a society. See, the minute you say one standard of morality is superior to another, you are judging them both by an understood 3rd Standard...an Absolute, as it were; you are saying that one standard comes closer to that Absolute than another.

Here's another example (and this goes against the "morality = human survival instinct" idea). Say you are crossing the street, and you see a young child start to get hit by a car. Your survival instinct, the stronger one, would tell you to keep out of the way of that car...but something else would tug at you to try to save that child from harm. If that something else is just a lesser instinct, why would so many agree that it is the "better" one? Rather than instinct, is it not an innate sense of what is the morally higher choice? And then, doesn't that, too, indicate the presence of an inner 'standard' of right and wrong?


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Doyle
06-01-2005, 01:06 AM
Doyle, I'm no medical expert, but it seems to me that there could be no embryo without blood cells. Its life is first sustained by the mother's blood cells. So it seems, if it is viable at all, it is always supported by living blood cells, (i.e. there is no such thing as an embryo without blood cells).

It is many days after conception that an embryo can be said to have rudimentary blood cells -- and since conception usually occurs in the fallopian tubes, it is also several days, even weeks before the deveoping embryo lodges in the uterus. I am very sincere about the blood issue, it is one of the most sweeping teachings of scripture, the life is in the blood.

brinkett
06-01-2005, 01:07 AM
Quote:
I would agree with you that we can't impose our moral standards on anybody. I would disagree, though, that moral standards are irrelevant.

I didn't say moral standards are irrelevant. I said they're irrelevant when discussing the fictitious society that decided not to create a law against murder, which was the context of that part of your post.



You asked for some examples that would support the idea that people operate from standards that reflect an innate sense of Absolute Truth--an Absolute Moral Stanard. I think I can give you a few.

No, I asked for supporting arguments that people always vote for or against laws based on their personal view of morality. Of course people sometimes act based on their personal view of morality. I'd be a moron to suggest otherwise.

Doyle
06-01-2005, 01:08 AM
[QUOTE=Betty W01]Doyle, I'll make a stab at it:

Religion - a belief in a set of rules by which one conducts one's life, often but not always including a belief in the supernatural or a Supreme Being of some sort

Christianity - a personal life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, in which He becomes your Savior, Ruler, Lord, and Friend

And also:

Soul - the mind, will, and emotions of a person
Spirit - that part of a person that can connect with God and communicate with Him outside of human understanding (i.e. without words, gestures, etc.)



One of the best responces I have ever heard to this question, thank you. I like to do it this way, Religion is any and all of man's attempts to reach God. Christianity is God reaching man.

Pat~
06-01-2005, 01:12 AM
Well, you have to provide arguments that support that. You haven't provided any, except to say that most people vote for laws based on their personal view of morality. And you haven't provided anything to support that, either.

That's what I said, and I think that's what I just did...

Doyle
06-01-2005, 01:17 AM
Two things, Adam and Eve had only one "law" -- and they broke it.

It was the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (not good and bad) -- we are all inheritors of that fruit, on some level we know what is good and what is evil, wether we wish to admit it or not. Much of what we call "law" just allows us to have mutual support within the society for doing evil, or for not doing good.

brinkett
06-01-2005, 02:16 AM
That's what I said, and I think that's what I just did...
I disagree. You gave two extreme examples - one involving Nazi Germany, and one involving saving a child from an oncoming car. I don't see how this shows in any way that when someone has a chance to impact the law, they do so in accordance with their moral views.

Anyway, I don't think the discussion is going to go anywhere, so I think it's time for us to drop it. I do appreciate the civil discussion, Pat, and I sincerely mean that.

Pat~
06-01-2005, 02:27 AM
I disagree. You gave two extreme examples - one involving Nazi Germany, and one involving saving a child from an oncoming car. I don't see how this shows in any way that when someone has a chance to impact the law, they do so in accordance with their moral views.

Anyway, I don't think the discussion is going to go anywhere, so I think it's time for us to drop it. I do appreciate the civil discussion, Pat, and I sincerely mean that.

I think I gave credence to the idea that the choices we make (and law making is an exercise of a choice) are governed by a sense of an Absolute standard.

Enjoyed the exchange, Brinkett! It certainly livened up my day of filing...

brinkett
06-01-2005, 04:59 AM
Altruism...I love exploring this.
One of my friends strongly believes that there is no such thing as altruism, that people always offer aid expecting something in return, whether they realize it or not. Not necessarily a "thank you", but they might do it because it makes them feel better about themselves, for example. I think she has a point for "run of the mill" altruism, but when it comes to heroism, I think people are often acting on instinct. And I don't see anything wrong with helping others as a way of enriching one's own life. Everyone benefits.

Who is Kitty Genovese?

brinkett
06-01-2005, 03:46 PM
It's a point, but people sometimes act altruistically anonymously (making themselves feel good, in return???)

Yeah, my friend would say that it's not necessarily recognition that the person wants, but the feeling one gets when helping someone. So the person extending the helping hand is getting something in return--they feel better about themselves, or their day is brightened, whatever. This is one of her favourite topics so we've discussed this several times.



or in ways there's no reward (saving an injured bird and setting it free, later).

Personal satisfaction, maybe?

I don't agree with her--I think people do sometimes give expecting absolutely nothing in return. I do agree that performing acts of kindness makes the person performing the act feel good, but I don't necessarily think that's the motivation for everyone.



and I do it to the point of falsely giving other people credit for things I've done,

I wouldn't go out of my way to toot my own horn about something, but I wouldn't pass the credit to someone else, either. I guess I'm not as altruistic as you are!



but his promises to call us to go get money the next day never came to fruition (we didn't expect it though, we knew the risks) and hubby found out the guy had jumped parole in Ontario..hahah.

Similar situations have happened to me a few times, but I always "lend" money with no expectation of getting it back. When the person does pay it back, it's a bonus.

Kitty Genovese - awful story.

Doyle
06-09-2005, 06:17 AM
Concerning your discussion of altruism -- I believe many folks do what is "right" from an inner prompting of the Holy Spirit. If you want to say that their reward is in heaven, maybe so, but there is not really a reward in doing what you are designed to do -- scripture says that there are good works for us to walk in, or walk into -- I think maybe you have over intellectualized the simplicity of just being a converted human with a loving soul. Do you ever go to the beach and pick up a piece of trash and dump it later? Do you let someone else go "first" at a four way stop? Our lives have the opportunity to express God's love and blessings -- I do so without thought of reward, either here or in heaven, but out of the way in which I am now made, I am a new creature in Christ. It is the unconverted who need a reason to do well.