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  1. #1
    Pure Venom. Lordofchange's Avatar
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    Morality and the West

    Ok then, we recently discussed this at my philosophy group(and somewhat delved into it in another thread) - in your opinion, is there an absolute correct moral code, and as such, does the West have the right to condemn other cultures as being "primitive" or just plain wrong, because of their differing views? Or are they simply following the wrong moral code? Or do they set out to be evil? There are many views, and i'd like to know yours.

    It is my opinion personally, that there is no absolute moral code - cultures develop differently from a number of influences, including religion, necessity, history, and the like. As such, different moral codes emerge - as i've mentioned before, there are tribes in South America who condone paedophilia, others in Africa that condone succession by murder, nations in the middle east that murder religious deviants. I would agree with the point that they are legitimate societies, but does that mean we can condemn them for what they do? Surely they have developed in somewhat the same manner that we have, so have just as much right to their own moral views as we do? Who is to say WE are the absolute right, outside of our own minds of course?

    Anyway, i'd like to know your views - please tell, as i've always found this to be a fascinating subject for debate.

    LoC

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  3. #2
    Ayatollah Moomintroll Hard A**'s Avatar
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    It's a tricky one. Personally, I abhor any 'belief system' that seeks to recognises some arbitrary sentient intellect (such as a 'god') and imposes the 'will' of that diety on human society, where that will goes against normal common sense. Especially when the 'will' of several of these dieties have come down to modern times from ancient ones, with all the problems of translation and political 'alteration' of the original inspirational text.

    There are areas in human society where natural laws should pertain, those of ownership of certain items and concepts - each of which aids that human to prosper, and in doing so, generally aids human society - The right to own property and territory. The right to freedom. The right to live as long as one can.

    Thats really about it, I can't think of any other fundamental 'rights' that should pertain. Everything else is a modification of those - if one owns property, then one has the right to expect society to protect it, etc.

    Anyway, my understanding is that its not Islamic law that is threatening this gentleman, its Sharia law, the bastardised 'law' that tries to impose a form of Islamic thought on modern secular matters. And I hope the poor guy gets acquitted.

    Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?

  4. #3
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    This is an interesting discussion for sure, and probably one that will spark a lot of heated debating.

    My personal opinion is that no, there are no absolute moral codes, just as there are no absolutes of any kind. Morality is very much a matter of one’s personal worldview, and even among those supposedly sharing the same moral code there are so many subjects of disagreement and opposing opinions that in the end one must often be content with agreeing to disagree. Indeed, one needs only look at the topics of this subforum to see that even we, who supposedly all share a similar cultural background and moral upbringing, disagree fiercely on such matters as capital punishment, civilian gun-ownership, and physician-assisted suicide.

    However, I do believe that there are certain moral laws that must be seen as universal if humanity is to function as a race of socially interacting individuals. This kind of morality almost seems to be ingrained in us on an instinctive level, perhaps even being an evolutionary inheritance from our animal forbearers (or God, if you will ). Most of us seem to feel an instinctive wrongness about committing acts such as murder and incest, and most societies around the world have laws condemning such acts. It is true that some societies allow killing of other human beings, in war, self-defence, or to protect personal interests, but most would likely frown upon randomly killing others.

    This, I believe, is because we are marked by evolution (or, again, God) to be social animals living in large groups that must be able to interact and work together in order to survive, and this is only possible as long as there are certain unbreakable rules to prevent absolute chaos and anarchy from splitting the group and having everyone fend for themselves. It is simply in our best interest as a species to conform to the commonly accepted rules of behaviour and avoid acts that would compromise the life and health of our race.

    To further the debate by using a recent example from the real world, it seems utterly paradoxical to me that certain Islamic nations are at the same time demanding respect for their religion and pushing to get the UN to decree that all religions should be protected and respected while also working to execute a person for no other reason than his religion. The question is now whether we should allow this, on the grounds that Muslims have the right to live by their own moral code, or whether we should protest that this moral code is forcibly applied to others not sharing it.

    It is a paradox of gigantic proportions, for we ourselves have already accepted that we can apply our moral code to those not sharing it, namely the murderers and rapists punished by our legal systems every day. In that light, wouldn’t the right thing to do then in fact be to punish those who refuse to live by our moral code, be damned all noble ideas of agreeing to disagree? For surely we do not agree to disagree with murderers? Or should we accept that others may not share our moral code, including those persons currently taking up space in our prisons? It wouldn’t do for us to be inconsistent in our leniency, after all.

    In the end it all boils down to this: we must as a species be able to work together in order to survive, and to do so there are certain basic rules that must provide the foundation for any meaningful society, be it primitive or advanced. These rules are so basic, indeed so instinctive, that they have actually made their way into most modern religions. Even the Koran states that ’thou shall not kill. If anyone has killed one person it is as if he had killed the whole mankind’ (Koran 5:32), which actually pretty much sums up my entire post. Whoever goes against this basic morality is therefore not excused by his religion, nor by anything else; such a person is not fit to share the protection of the proverbial group and must be cast out, lest he pass on his lack of morality to others.

    Therefore, I do believe that Western society has a right to condemn other nations not respecting these basic rules; those nations are splitting humanity and threatening our continued survival as a race, after all, which is acceptable to neither evolution nor God, not even their own.

    ~Grephaun.
    Last edited by Grephaun; March 27th, 2006 at 18:32.
    "Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.


  5. #4
    Senior Member impending slaughter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Aun
    It's a tricky one. Personally, I abhor any 'belief system' that seeks to recognises some arbitrary sentient intellect (such as a 'god') and imposes the 'will' of that diety on human society, where that will goes against normal common sense. Especially when the 'will' of several of these dieties have come down to modern times from ancient ones, with all the problems of translation and political 'alteration' of the original inspirational text.
    Personally, I'm getting kind of sick of this view. You dont have to believe the Bible or any other religious text to be religious. You can simply be theist. Also, whos to say that EVERYTHING that science has come up with isnt another test from (a) God? That our perception of the world is being warped or that ''knowledge'' is planted in scientists' minds to further test our faith? A test that increasingly more people are failing, partly cos they can just say ''but teh science!'' or ''I dont want a God like that'' (as if you have a choice :glare?

    Or maybe I'm just getting too philosophical :/ And sorry for the little rant ^^;;

    On a random sidenote (nothing at all to do with the thread), has anyone else ever noticed that the majority of people who go on about the Di Vinci Code have never even read it? 0_o

    Anyway, about the moral issue, no noone is born with any rights at all imo. Some poltical philosopher said something to similar effect (I forget who) and I agree with that. People throw words like ''freedom'' around FAR to easily. Fact of the matter is you only have what freedom society gives you. The rights that that society gives you will be a reflection of its history, as with its morale code.

    Just my 2c

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    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Also, whos to say that EVERYTHING that science has come up with isnt another test from (a) God? That our perception of the world is being warped or that ''knowledge'' is planted in scientists' minds to further test our faith? A test that increasingly more people are failing, partly cos they can just say ''but teh science!'' or ''I dont want a God like that'' (as if you have a choice :glare?
    I agree with this opinion. As it has been said, ’we tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the Earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.’

    So there you go.

    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Anyway, about the moral issue, no noone is born with any rights at all imo.
    This, however, I must disagree with. I believe every human being is born with a set of indisputable rights. No one can in my opinion be born to slavery or oppression, nor does anyone have the right to kill innocent children and claim that children have no right to live. Everyone has the right to live and to be free.

    ~Grephaun.
    "Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.


  7. #6
    Slave to the flesh The_Outsider's Avatar
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    Nothing is absolute anyway, its all relative.

    If your group of people deem it acceptable to molest children then you will see nothing wrong with it, it doesn't break your set of morals.

    I see morality as whatever you make it, if it is acceptable by 80% of your town/city/country then it is madness to think anyone else has the right come along and say "you are all living in sin, unless you live like us we will kill you/you are going to hell".

    I call any people who psimply claim it is God's will or whatever as an excuse to do whatever they like BS.

    IMO religion is a guide book to life nothing more, it doesn't give you the right to jack, simply a guide how to live- most holy books (e.g Bible) tell you how to live in ways that are hygenic and sensible, the only reason it is wrapped up in stories is beacuse few could read or write so stories make it easier to share them.

  8. #7
    Ayatollah Moomintroll Hard A**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Personally, I'm getting kind of sick of this view. You dont have to believe the Bible or any other religious text to be religious. You can simply be theist.
    Why? That's not only a denial of good solid scientific proof, it's dissatisfaction with the various flavours of organised religion that are available these days.

    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Also, whos to say that EVERYTHING that science has come up with isnt another test from (a) God? That our perception of the world is being warped or that ''knowledge'' is planted in scientists' minds to further test our faith? A test that increasingly more people are failing, partly cos they can just say ''but teh science!'' or ''I dont want a God like that'' (as if you have a choice :glare?
    As the guys who postulated the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster illustrated, anyone can fabricate any kind of invisible 'deity' that does nothing detectable on the material plane. So why should not the Judeo-Christian God or indeed Allah have an identical track record to the FSM in that respect?

    So, why do we need to respect a God that 'dodges' all scientific tests? We already cannot call him God the Creator any more, as life, including human life, has been proven to develop spontaneously from chemicals. Is He really so neurotic that he needs to play mind games with his potential followers by fabricating evidence that he probably does not exist? What is the point of that? And isn't it blasphemous to assume you know what his divine purpose is? In fact, why do so many so-called Christians assume they speak for God anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Or maybe I'm just getting too philosophical :/ And sorry for the little rant ^^;;
    No worries, believe me I get sick of people spouting half-baked theology at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    On a random sidenote (nothing at all to do with the thread), has anyone else ever noticed that the majority of people who go on about the Di Vinci Code have never even read it? 0_o
    It's DA Vinci. And what is your point here? Are you talking about people who are criticising it, or espousing its themes?

    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Anyway, about the moral issue, no noone is born with any rights at all imo. Some poltical philosopher said something to similar effect (I forget who) and I agree with that. People throw words like ''freedom'' around FAR to easily. Fact of the matter is you only have what freedom society gives you. The rights that that society gives you will be a reflection of its history, as with its morale code.
    More or less correct, but don't overlook the fact that society is made up of individuals. If that society does not 'give rights' to its individuals, then they will not buy into that society, and the society will collapse. In any realistic society, the individuals have both rights and responsibilities within that society - for example, the supposedly anarchic buccaneer (pirate) societies of the 17th and 18th Century probably had both more rules and responsibilities but also allowed more freedom than the legitimate navies of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by impending slaughter
    Just my 2c
    That seems to be a really common turn of phrase on the other side of the pond. Anyway, go in peace, my friend.

    Last edited by Hard A**; March 27th, 2006 at 19:50.
    Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?

  9. #8
    Senior Member impending slaughter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Aun
    Why? That's not only a denial of good solid scientific proof, it's dissatisfaction with the various flavours of organised religion that are available these days.
    Depends how you define ''fact'' I guess. And are you saying that to be religious you HAVE to be a member of a religion? They all describe roughly the same thing after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Aun
    As the guys who postulated the existance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster illustrated, anyone can fabricate any kind of invisible 'diety' that does effectively nothing on the material plane. So why should not the Judeo-Christian God or indeed Allah have an identical track record to the FSM in that respect?

    So, why do we need to have to respect a God that 'dodges' all scientific tests? We already cannot call him God the Creator any more, as life, including human life, has been proven to develop spontaneously from chemicals. And is He really so neurotic that he needs to play mind games with his potential followers by fabricating evidence that he probably does not exist? What is the point of that? And isn't it blasphemous to assume you know what his divine purpose is? In fact, why do so many so-called Christians assume they speak for God anyway?
    Noone knows. Pretty simple really. I'm not a big fan of organised religion because of that but I do tend to think of myself as ''religious'' simply because I believe in some kind of God.

    Anyway, both science and religion are philosophies. Because neither can 100% be proved, no matter what anyone says makes them philosophical, not factual in nature. Anyway, this can be debated endlessly, so theres little point in debating it at all (not to say I wont of course ). Suffice to say, its hard to convert from either side.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Aun
    No worries, believe me I get sick of people spouting half-baked theology at me.
    No more half baked than other philosophies e.g. science :tongue:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Aun
    It's DA Vinci. And what is your point here? Are you talking about people who are criticising it, or espousing its themes?
    Thinking out loud mostly :/ And both
    Last edited by impending slaughter; March 27th, 2006 at 20:16.

  10. #9
    Pure Venom. Lordofchange's Avatar
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    Hmm. Just a quick point this time - i figure that people in a society as such, are born with rights. But if a person is born on say, a desert island, no other human contact, and the like, do they have a right to life, a right to freedom, etc. I personally think they do not - rights are a society-created thing, and IMO are not intrinsically given to humans. As such, even if that human was brought up in a rights-centred society, they still wouldn't have any rights on that desert island - it's not as if they're genetic.

    LoC
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    "War does not determine who is right - only who is left."

    RAMROD ONE

  11. #10
    Slave to the flesh The_Outsider's Avatar
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    Agreed.

    No one has rights anyway, society give you rights as (as a whole) it makes us stronger, thus is a good investement.

    I am a firm beleiver in that whatever humanity decides is right and wrong is all relative, we are judging it by our own cultures.

    Say what you like but I beleive certain things (like being too politically correct) will bring about the destruction of society, thus causing things like morality to change.

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