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  #151  
Old Nov 6, '13, 9:28 am
Roscoe Turner Roscoe Turner is offline
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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A Levirate marriage does not consist in taking "another man's wife" because the other man has died. That is an illegitimate stretch of an example, not a case in point.

There is nothing in Judges that makes a claim that this act was a legitimate or morally correct one. "This is what happened" does not translate to "this was morally good."
Who's wife is she in Heaven?

It was ordered by The Assembly, the Judges that were to have special knowledge of God in order to lead the Tribes. You'd have to denounce them as evil or at least advocating evil.
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  #152  
Old Nov 6, '13, 9:35 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Peter was proposing a society were a shared morality was obligatory. I was suggesting that the only way to achieve that was if everyone shared the same religion. To ensure that everyone shared the same religion it would have to be the law of the land.
Again, an appeal to "it is never permissible to rape" is not borne of religion.

No referent to Scripture or revelation has ever been proferred here regarding morality.

Thus it is quite possible to have a moral society without having a theocracy.
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  #153  
Old Nov 6, '13, 9:35 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Peter was proposing a society were a shared morality was obligatory. I was suggesting that the only way to achieve that was if everyone shared the same religion. To ensure that everyone shared the same religion it would have to be the law of the land.
Actually, it is another stretch to claim that common morality depends upon common religious beliefs.

Human morality concerns the common "earthbound" good. It is entirely possible for a well-developed human morality to be consistent with a set of religious beliefs and yet not require those beliefs. Religious beliefs concern the eternal good of humankind. If that eternal good is consistent with living a morally good life as a physical human being, then religious beliefs can coexist with a common morality that does not require those religious beliefs.

On the other hand, religious beliefs that are inconsistent with a fully developed human morality would be problematic.

You would have to show that common religious beliefs are the only way to achieve a common, but fully developed morality.

I know atheists who would argue against your claim, as I would. Religion might provide a context* for adhering to strong moral convictions that atheism lacks, but to claim a well-developed set of moral beliefs requires theism is not a defensible position.

*By this I do not mean negative incentive (like Hell). What I do have in mind is a sense of ultimate purpose to existence, that a strict materialism would deny.
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  #154  
Old Nov 6, '13, 9:38 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Yes, I gave you an example. They were obligated to rape.

I don't see it as moral but there it is.
Egg-zactly.

You have only one answer to this question: is it morally permissible to rape?

You cannot countenance any other answer as being moral.

As far as this being a moral obligation in the Bible, I think that you are not familiar enough with the Scriptures to be able to discern what is a divine command and what is not.
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  #155  
Old Nov 6, '13, 9:50 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Who's wife is she in Heaven?
Do you read the New Testament or only the Old and incomplete one? Jesus addressed this very point. I'll leave it to you to find his answer.

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Originally Posted by Roscoe Turner View Post
It was ordered by The Assembly, the Judges that were to have special knowledge of God in order to lead the Tribes. You'd have to denounce them as evil or at least advocating evil.
Apparently, you don't read the Old one either. The judges were typically strong leaders who were raised up to lead the people against threats of some kind. Their role sometimes led to making judgements concerning right and wrong, but that was not their primary role.

The judges, typically compromised morality (think of Samson as a good example) and eventually became totally corrupt which led the people to clamor for a "king" to lead them, just like the other nations. The later judges were clearly denounced as evil in the Old Testament itself, and earlier judges were tacitly shown to indulge in evil. Samson, for example, took a wife (Delilah) from the Philistines and indulged in illicit activities even though his vow and common morality expressly forbade him.
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  #156  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:09 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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I agree that becoming "fully actualized" in pop culture speak is a worthy goal. It still leaves the problem that the answers may not be the same. A Catholic Saint and A Bodhisattva may intersect on many points but not all. It isn't an absolute morality.

Compassion seems to a running theme in most moralities which leads us back to the Golden Rule.
The "fully actualized" in pop culture speak is not what I am getting at.

The points where a Catholic saint and a bodhisattva intersect may help in discerning more accurately where true morality is to be found.

Just as an aside, the very last verse in Judges makes a very appropriate observation that, "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." This points to the reason that the Israelites were having great difficulties at this point in their history as attributable to their relativistic view of morality. That there was no discernible right or wrong that could be appealed to was precisely the problem.
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  #157  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:12 am
Roscoe Turner Roscoe Turner is offline
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Originally Posted by PRmerger View Post
Again, an appeal to "it is never permissible to rape" is not borne of religion.

No referent to Scripture or revelation has ever been proferred here regarding morality.

Thus it is quite possible to have a moral society without having a theocracy.
I never said that it was. I was pointing out an example where people where obligated to rape. It comes from the book of Judges. I don't think it was moral but they thought it necessary. I am surprised that you also find the Judges immoral.

I agree, it is possible to have a moral society without it being a Theocracy. Where I differed is saying that if the complete morality must be homozygous and obligatory, a Theocracy is the only method.
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  #158  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:19 am
Roscoe Turner Roscoe Turner is offline
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Actually, it is another stretch to claim that common morality depends upon common religious beliefs.

Human morality concerns the common "earthbound" good. It is entirely possible for a well-developed human morality to be consistent with a set of religious beliefs and yet not require those beliefs. Religious beliefs concern the eternal good of humankind. If that eternal good is consistent with living a morally good life as a physical human being, then religious beliefs can coexist with a common morality that does not require those religious beliefs.

On the other hand, religious beliefs that are inconsistent with a fully developed human morality would be problematic.

You would have to show that common religious beliefs are the only way to achieve a common, but fully developed morality.

I know atheists who would argue against your claim, as I would. Religion might provide a context* for adhering to strong moral convictions that atheism lacks, but to claim a well-developed set of moral beliefs requires theism is not a defensible position.

*By this I do not mean negative incentive (like Hell). What I do have in mind is a sense of ultimate purpose to existence, that a strict materialism would deny.
I just addressed this but to reiterate. A limited morality like don't Lie, Steal, Rape or Murder, can be and is shared by most societies and is enforced by civil laws. I would say we qualify under that limited scope. But a comprehensive morality of the whole of human conduct, I don't think is possible unless the civil and religious are the same authority.

If you are looking to an utopian society where no one is petty, or greedy or selfish... sign me up. I'd love to see it.
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  #159  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:22 am
meltzerboy meltzerboy is online now
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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The problem with tolerance is that it doesn't resolve the deep issues between moral perspectives, it simply ignores them under the umbrella of being tolerant.

As those moral differences deepen and become irreconcilable, the facade of tolerance will break apart and the "liberty" of those with power will undermine or subdue the liberties of those without.

This is precisely what has happened with abortion. The political power of women with a voice has simply overwhelmed the voiceless unborn. The unborn, largely because they have no voice have been relegated to non-person status by political fiat.

The morals of the less endowed, politically speaking, will simply be ignored or overwhelmed by the quest for liberties by the more powerful. Liberty is, at best, amoral.

Any political system that is based solely on the power of the majority will always be susceptible to the problem of political might (majority rules) makes right. The Casey Decision enshrined that ultimate flaw as law.

Morality functions as the governing control for liberty. Having a sound moral system is the only means by which the excesses of liberty (even of the majority) can be kept in check. A neutral (or natural) moral system must be the final arbitrator or the political system will impose political might rather than moral right.

The existing moral stasis will always be challenged by those who seek greater liberty and thus tension will always exist between liberty and morality. That tension exists within each of us and within every human society.

The danger in the current situation is that we have in the modern western world an inchoate admixture of moral positions that have been lumped together by globalization. That moral soup has no legs - no common base - from which to adequately assess, morally speaking, the overwhelming demands by libertarians that personal liberties be viewed as civil "rights."

The fact that we do have varying moral positions has led to the assumption of moral relativity as the de facto position, so there is no neutral moral standard or ground from which to assess the moral quality of those demands concerning personal liberty.

Libertarians have seized the opportunity within the existing moral vacuum to push forward their ostensibly morally neutral, but, in reality, morally flawed view that personal liberties ought to be paramount.

My own view is that the situation is a powder keg waiting to ignite. The personal liberties of some will always bump up against the personal liberties of others. So liberty cannot be the standard by which differences or conflicts about liberty are to be resolved.

A common morality is the only possible solution because liberties by their very nature must have limits in human society and must be abided (seen as obligatory) by every member of that society in order for the tension between personal liberty and the welfare of all to be balanced.
There is so much going on in your comment, much of which I question, that it is hard to know where to begin. One thing I am curious about is your statement regarding a common morality as being "neutral." In what sense is it, or any morality for that matter, neutral? You say that "...there is no neutral moral standard or ground from which to assess the moral quality of those demands concerning personal liberty," and you blame this on "moral relativity" as the "de facto position." But wouldn't a common morality be based on shared and consensual values that are NOT neutral in either the rational or emotional meaning of the term? True, morally relative values are even less neutral since they also incorporate a cultural, contextual framework; but can any morality really be neutral? Or do you define neutrality not so much as the process of arriving at a consensus of moral values but more the end-product which can serve as an anchor or reference point by which to measure more recent ideas concerning morality?
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  #160  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:31 am
Roscoe Turner Roscoe Turner is offline
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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Do you read the New Testament or only the Old and incomplete one? Jesus addressed this very point. I'll leave it to you to find his answer.



Apparently, you don't read the Old one either. The judges were typically strong leaders who were raised up to lead the people against threats of some kind. Their role sometimes led to making judgements concerning right and wrong, but that was not their primary role.

The judges, typically compromised morality (think of Samson as a good example) and eventually became totally corrupt which led the people to clamor for a "king" to lead them, just like the other nations. The later judges were clearly denounced as evil in the Old Testament itself, and earlier judges were tacitly shown to indulge in evil. Samson, for example, took a wife (Delilah) from the Philistines and indulged in illicit activities even though his vow and common morality expressly forbade him.
I'm familiar with Matt 22.

Can you point to where the Rape by the Benjamites is condemned specifically?
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  #161  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:45 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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I never said that it was. I was pointing out an example where people where obligated to rape. It comes from the book of Judges. I don't think it was moral but they thought it necessary. I am surprised that you also find the Judges immoral.
"They" being the "elders of the congregation" that came up with the idea. It wasn't one of the judges or even a group of them.

The influence of the judges had just about run its course by that time (Eli and and his sons were either corrupt or ineffectual and Eli's protege, Samuel, was the last Judge before King Saul was anointed.)

The decision in question was made by the "elders of the congregation" which would be analogous to the "leaders of the community" or even "the Council of Elders" or "the Sanhedrin" in later times.

Does it surprise you also that the Sanhedrin initiated the crucifixion of Jesus? Isn't it entirely consistent to think that if a leadership cohort could come to a decision to crucify the embodiment of moral goodness, the "Just Man," in the New Testament that a similar claim could have been made about the moral weakness of the council of elders in the Old?

Human leadership is consistently portrayed as failing in the Old Testament. Read the litany of evil kings (...”he did evil in the sight of The Lord...") in the books of Kings and Chronicles. These were supposed to have been an upgrade or improvement of leadership from their predecessors, the judges.
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  #162  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:52 am
Roscoe Turner Roscoe Turner is offline
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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"They" being the "elders of the congregation" that came up with the idea. It wasn't one of the judges or even a group of them.

The influence of the judges had just about run its course by that time (Eli and and his sons were either corrupt or ineffectual and Eli's protege, Samuel, was the last Judge before King Saul was anointed.)

The decision in question was made by the "elders of the congregation" which would be analogous to the "leaders of the community" or even "the Council of Elders" or "the Sanhedrin" in later times.

Does it surprise you also that the Sanhedrin initiated the crucifixion of Jesus? Isn't it entirely consistent to think that if a leadership cohort could come to a decision to crucify the embodiment of moral goodness, the "Just Man," in the New Testament that a similar claim could have been made about the moral weakness of the council of elders in the Old?

Human leadership is consistently portrayed as failing in the Old Testament. Read the litany of evil kings (...”he did evil in the sight of The Lord...") in the books of Kings and Chronicles. These were supposed to have been an upgrade or improvement of leadership from their predecessors, the judges.
The whole book of Judges is a cycle of redemption and punishment. Samson had redeemed them. It's a dark note it ends on. It isn't a condemnation, or punishment. It foreshadows the Kings. But the cycle ends there. There's no real condemnation.
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  #163  
Old Nov 6, '13, 10:59 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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There is so much going on in your comment, much of which I question, that it is hard to know where to begin. One thing I am curious about is your statement regarding a common morality as being "neutral." In what sense is it, or any morality for that matter, neutral? You say that "...there is no neutral moral standard or ground from which to assess the moral quality of those demands concerning personal liberty," and you blame this on "moral relativity" as the "de facto position." But wouldn't a common morality be based on shared and consensual values that are NOT neutral in either the rational or emotional meaning of the term? True, morally relative values are even less neutral since they also incorporate a cultural, contextual framework; but can any morality really be neutral? Or do you define neutrality not so much as the process of arriving at a consensus of moral values but more the end-product which can serve as an anchor or reference point by which to measure more recent ideas concerning morality?
Neutral, in the sense of unbiased towards any particular vested interest in the question. In the same sense as a judge ought to be (but often is not) neutral or impartial or in the sense of justice being "blind" to or not partial to the vested interests of litigants, although these interests would be taken into consideration, though not to unfairly favour one or the other.

A neutral morality would not "side with" any "competing" moralities but make a determination not biased by any of them. In a sense, the requirement would be that ultimate morality transcends bias although it may rule in favour of one or other moral position.
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  #164  
Old Nov 6, '13, 11:22 am
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Default Re: Is the Golden Rule a Foundational Moral Principle or A Rule of Thumb?

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The whole book of Judges is a cycle of redemption and punishment. Samson had redeemed them. It's a dark note it ends on. It isn't a condemnation, or punishment. It foreshadows the Kings. But the cycle ends there. There's no real condemnation.
There is a difference between "judgement," "punishment" and "condemnation." Judgement is a determination of where things are at. It may bring about punishment but need not imply condemnation, but rather the need for redemption. Punishment may be a means of changing or challenging behaviour, but it is not the same as condemnation.

Samson didn't redeem anyone. He was an incomplete representation of the possibility of and need for redemption. Just as Moses and Exodus incompletely represent the promise of salvation (the Promised Land), Samson points forward, as a symbol, to redemption as requiring the sacrifice or "giving up" of one's past life.

Recall that by his death he brought down the "works of evil." In that, he prefigured Christ, but the fact that he also died and was not resurrected shows, minimally, that his own life exhibited a measure of evil. He, too, died in the destruction (judgement of God) that he, as its instrument and judge of Israel, brought down on the Philistines.

Condemnation implies no possibility of redemption. Israel and the nations around her were repeatedly judged and punished by God (through various instruments), but no where is condemnation (in the sense of beyond hope of redemption) ever stated or implied.
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  #165  
Old Nov 6, '13, 11:40 am
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I'm familiar with Matt 22.

Can you point to where the Rape by the Benjamites is condemned specifically?
The very last line of Judges, "Everyone did what was right in their own eyes." That means the people were not doing what was right "in the eyes of God," but rather only what they thought to be right. Note, they didn't seek God's "advice" in the decision, they just did what they thought was right. That is Biblical code for, "You did WHAT?"
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