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darko
01-07-2006, 11:16 AM
Saw an ad on T.V recently for a documentary been shown soon on channel 4 asking: If we got rid off all religion, would the the rules defining right and wrong be easier to understand?

Not sure where to put this....so i though in GC....but if you want to move it....feel free

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 11:20 AM
No...?

The question doesn't seem to make much sense. I suppose it goes down to the debate, are we born with an internal sense of right and wrong or are we taught right and wrong?

Understanding right and wrong depends on the social definition of right and wrong and how they were taught to you. Whether religion was the way it was taught to you or not, is not particularly important.

Original prankstA
01-07-2006, 11:24 AM
Saw an ad on T.V recently for a documentary been shown soon on channel 4 asking: If we got rid off all religion, would the the rules define right and wrong be easier to understand?

Not sure where to put this....so i though in GC....but if you want to move it....feel free
what's the question?........if you're asking should all religion be eliminated then the answer would be hell no, that really would just show how stupid the world has become, all of humanity is based on religion, and the world would be like biblical times only in the digital age

darko
01-07-2006, 11:25 AM
cant remember how it was worded exactly on the ad...when i see the ad again i'll edit the question.

BATWT
01-07-2006, 11:50 AM
From what I remember, the programme argues that religion is a force that can "turn a good man bad". And from that quote, they will go ahead and discuss that if we didn't have religion, would the world be a better place? I think, anyway. It's a response to 9/11, 7/7 etc and the extremists who performed the acts.

the_GoDdEsS
01-07-2006, 11:52 AM
It's kind of an inner code you develop. I don't think it's got to do all that much with religion, religion is only supposed to endorse the Good and surpress the Evil by means of Guilt usually. It's more a question of how you were raised and what your environment is like. Just like in different countries, different things are considered good and evil. So the question to me would be, would it be easier to determine if we had only one single culture? And my answer to that is no as well. Good and Evil are relative and have to co-exist.

Paint_It_Black
01-07-2006, 11:53 AM
Sounds a bit pointless. Firstly, we can only speculate what the world would be like without religion. Secondly, we'd have to find a definition of "better" that we could all agree on.


So the question to me would be, would it be easier to determine if we had only one single culture? And my answer to that is no as well.
Well, since different cultures define good and evil differently, if we all shared the same culture wouldn't that have to make it easier to determine right from wrong? At the least, everyone would know what society considered right and wrong.

darko
01-07-2006, 11:58 AM
hmm interesting so far no. you know i havent quite made my mind up yet.


Well, since different cultures define good and evil differently, if we all shared the same culture wouldn't that have to make it easier to determine right from wrong? At the least, everyone would know what society considered right and wrong.

yeah but which society or culture do you choose?

the_GoDdEsS
01-07-2006, 12:01 PM
Well, since different cultures define good and evil differently, if we all shared the same culture wouldn't that have to make it easier to determine right from wrong? At the least, everyone would know what society considered right and wrong.

It would be much easier, I'm convinced. The general idea of Good and Evil might be the same. But not necessarily in all cases. Like I've said, environment and the way you're raised are major factors. If you were the child of let's say a convinced criminal, your values would probably be completely different than those of a kid who grew up in upper class and is completely naive. And it goes on and on.

the_GoDdEsS
01-07-2006, 12:02 PM
yeah but which society or culture do you choose?

You can't choose. This is far too hypothetical.

darko
01-07-2006, 12:05 PM
You can't choose. This is far too hypothetical.

yeah i guess.

Paint_It_Black
01-07-2006, 12:08 PM
You're a bunch of cynical BBSers labelling everything ethnocentrism.

Of course, good & evil exist independently of what we're taught.

Let's all rob & kill! It's so good!

There is nothing cynical about anything anyone has said. And to believe good and evil exist as some fundamental rules outside of humanity is to be rather naive I'm afraid. Of course, I hold "do not kill" and "do not rob" to be fundamental codes of behaviour, but only because I believe in it.

Paint_It_Black
01-07-2006, 12:15 PM
I meant "independant of what we're taught".

Don't back away from a discussion just because someone disagrees with you.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 12:28 PM
We're not saying good and evil doesn't exist. We're saying it's different from society to society. There is no universal morality. That's obvious enough I would think.

Paint_It_Black
01-07-2006, 12:31 PM
I expect we would completely agree on what is good and what is evil, and both believe it equally. But I still feel that to say these concepts exist without us is naive, and also somewhat arrogant. But I hope you're right. I hope one day I'll die, and be greeted by some creator, and he'll explain to me that good and evil are quite indifferent to my own beliefs. That would be very nice. I'm just not expecting it. Maybe I am cynical afterall.


We're not saying good and evil doesn't exist. We're saying it's different from society to society. There is no universal morality. That's obvious enough I would think.

I think she understands your point, yet she feels that good and evil are definite. Differing viewpoints would simply be incorrect viewpoints. Her own morality is to her the universal morality.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 12:34 PM
No. That's the ethnologist's point of view. It clashes with any philosophical reasoning.

ah but then, the ethnologists don't allow for anything TRANSCENDENTAL. It just depends on societies, culture they say. hahaha what a laugh. I suggest you read Kant someday.
Pure reason won't get me anywhere in reality. I want to read Kant, I imagine it will stir quite a headache though.

How do you deal with the fact that different societies find different things immoral then? And why morality has changed over the centuries?

It's not an ethnic thing to me. Really the question is entirely fundamental to one's belief in a God. Because if there is a universal moral, then there has to be something higher and bigger that instilled this moral in us. So we're just picking at that really old, Is God alive? Debate.

Paint_It_Black
01-07-2006, 12:35 PM
If you are not bringing any higher entity into this, then are you saying that all humans, regardless of culture, can agree on what constitutes good and evil? It looks like that's what you are saying.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 12:35 PM
what says you? God? I'm not referring to a god. I'm not referring to any supernatural entity.

I'm referring to humanity, precisely.
Humans are dissimilar, in social development, economic development, and thus cultural development. Morals are different even in our own society from class to class. And always have been.

Paint_It_Black
01-07-2006, 12:40 PM
Because if there is a universal moral, then there has to be something higher and bigger that instilled this moral in us.

I don't necessarily agree with that. Self preservation could account for a lot. Murder is generally frowned upon. This could be because of God's decree, or because we realize on a fundamental level that it would be bad for ourselves and our species. Same with incest. Even the fact that cannibalism is abhorred in so many places could be a survival trait.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 12:51 PM
I don't necessarily agree with that. Self preservation could account for a lot. Murder is generally frowned upon. This could be because of God's decree, or because we realize on a fundamental level that it would be bad for ourselves and our species. Same with incest. Even the fact that cannibalism is abhorred in so many places could be a survival trait.
Except murder is not generally frowned upon. Honor killings happen in large parts of the world. To us that is murder, but not to them. Abortions same deal.

Cannibalism still exists. And not just among weird freaks in the countryside. But as a social action that no one thinks twice about.

Incest would be one yes, although it was a practice among the aristocracy of yore. And for example some places you can't marry your cousin, and in others you can. (the great Shelbyville/Springfield debate :p).

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 01:10 PM
But your point about the lying kinda makes the Kantian idea ...incorrect.

EDIT: Evil. Yes how to define it. I simply don't believe in it. Everything happens with an explanation and conditions, and consequences independent of the concepts of good and evil.

I do however believe in good. Just not a universal one.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 01:22 PM
It doesn't make it incorrect. It makes it harsh.
Yes if you agree with it. Do you? It makes things into an extreme. Without consideration for circumstance. That would imply a universe evil in a world that is not universal. Way too absolute.

I don't know how religious you are exactly. But isn't it against the will of God to judge in the first place? I had heard that right was reserved for Him alone.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 01:32 PM
I'm not that religious... I do like folklore, bearded popes, iconas, etc (being christian orthodox)


Yeah, the Catholics really don't approve of your Icons at all. Or maybe it's the protestants. I heard it from a Protestant minister while doing a church-wandering.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 01:56 PM
Protestants are austere. So are catholics, to a lesser extent...

you're a church-wanderer, darling? that's so romantic.
It was out of interest for the religions and their differences (international churches, the Swedes, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Protestant). Nothing particularly romantic about it.

wheelchairman
01-07-2006, 02:03 PM
funny, Antoine did the same (I KNOW it's not at all romantic, dear...)

& recommended my going to a Protestant temple, saying the way the service was done was most interesting!
It's less painful. The Russians prefer to stand apparently.

The Greek Orthodox, do they do their sermons in Latin? At one point that was the norm. But that might've been stopped a few hundred years ago for what I know.

Paint_It_Black
01-08-2006, 12:20 AM
Except murder is not generally frowned upon. Honor killings happen in large parts of the world. To us that is murder, but not to them. Abortions same deal.

Cannibalism still exists. And not just among weird freaks in the countryside. But as a social action that no one thinks twice about.

Incest would be one yes, although it was a practice among the aristocracy of yore. And for example some places you can't marry your cousin, and in others you can. (the great Shelbyville/Springfield debate :p).

Murder is still generally frowned upon, some people just define it differently. Which directly relates to our argument I suppose. I hadn't thought about such things as honour killings at the time, because since they don't consider it murder, I don't absolutely consider it murder either in their sociological setting. Anyway, I was thinking more about random murder I suppose.

Cannibalism does exist in many forms, but I'm fairly sure that the majority do not practice it. As far as I'm aware a lot of other animals won't do it unless given little choice.

The practice of incest among aritocracy came about because of pride and arrogance, a belief that they were somehow superior to the rest of us and needed to remain pure. It's an example of allowing "intellect" to over-rule good instinct.

wheelchairman
01-08-2006, 08:16 AM
Murder is still generally frowned upon, some people just define it differently. Which directly relates to our argument I suppose. I hadn't thought about such things as honour killings at the time, because since they don't consider it murder, I don't absolutely consider it murder either in their sociological setting. Anyway, I was thinking more about random murder I suppose.

Cannibalism does exist in many forms, but I'm fairly sure that the majority do not practice it. As far as I'm aware a lot of other animals won't do it unless given little choice.

The practice of incest among aritocracy came about because of pride and arrogance, a belief that they were somehow superior to the rest of us and needed to remain pure. It's an example of allowing "intellect" to over-rule good instinct.
Agreed, you, I, most people will find random murder of people wrong. But we excuse it often enough, we used to approve of duelling for instance. Human history is pretty much one of killing each other. If we're going to argue it's genetics, than that's part of a survival of the fittest thing I'd say. We excuse murder all the time. Except if it happens to people who we think don't deserve it. But that changes based on the societal perception of innocent and not on anything genetic.

Cannibalism. It's most common among tribal societies. For whatever reason. Although during the Vietnam war and other wars, it wasn't uncommon for regiments, or whatever to "go tribal." So to speak. And cannibalism was often a noted part of doing this. Apocalypse Now is based on this phenomenon. Our distaste for human meat is societal I should think.

I agree it's the aristocracy being too arrogant. That doesn't change the fact that to them it was more moral to do it their way. Morality changes from where you come from class-wise.

Vera
01-08-2006, 08:37 AM
Cannibalism is usually a form of ancestor worship, the best way to honor a dead relative is to consume his flesh in a ritual. It's not done because people need meat to eat. Of course, it can be done when in desperate need. If taking your life means I'll survive, I'll take your life. That sort of thing.

I don't know about universal moral but I do know that there are something called Ethical Principles.

1) The principle of respecting life
- all life is valuable
( - human life is in a special position)
2) The principle of respecting human worth
- everyone has an equal human worth and must be treated like it
3) The principle of self-determination
- autonomy
4) The principle of justice
- fairness

Yes, I did copy my Ethics notes and translate them to English but those make a lot of sense. If you want to go around and ask people, do you think this or that is wrong, you might get different answers but you will probably see that even if someone does accept killing as self-defence, they do not accept killing in general - thus, they respect life.

The abortion debate is mostly just about self-determination and of course, the hidden argument of what is life, how do you define it, when does it begin.

If we remove religion, I think the basic ethical principles will remain because they probably existed among men before men started to practise religion.

Paint_It_Black
01-09-2006, 04:29 AM
Cannibalism is usually a form of ancestor worship, the best way to honor a dead relative is to consume his flesh in a ritual.

Another fairly common one is to eat your dead enemies, though I'm not sure of the reasoning. Either way, I think cannibalism, like incest, is an example of our intellect getting in the way of instincts. It does seem to me that not eating our own dead is instinctive, though not an incredibly strong instinct as social norms and dire hunger can easily change it.

wheelchairman
01-09-2006, 06:15 AM
1) The principle of respecting life
- all life is valuable
( - human life is in a special position)
2) The principle of respecting human worth
- everyone has an equal human worth and must be treated like it
3) The principle of self-determination
- autonomy
4) The principle of justice
- fairness

1. Of course. But there are instances when we don't respect life. Countries with the death sentence, honor killings, abortions in the eyes of some people, duelling, war. All these things bring about "necessary deaths."

2. Human worth is a human notion. It should be fairly obvious that there is a large group of people who think some other people aren't of equal worth. Whether they be muslim, jews, slavs, celts, blacks, indigenuous, asian or whatever. This shouldn't need to be said.

3. Again not everyone believes people have a right to self-determination. I believe that many countries have laws against suicide. Ireland had outlawed divorce until recently.

4. Fairness, the most subjective of them all.

I mean sure, boiled down, we can all agree to that. But then we easily make up excuses to subvert these principles. They are alien notions that we are raised with, not genetic or divine concepts.