Jan 12, 2006

response to a post on independant morality

A very thought provoking post on independant morality.
My response to some of the points (there were some points I did not discuss but might later):
Actually in Judaism we do say just that point (though I do not remember hearing it in relation to sleeping with your sister). The Bible talks about eating only certain foods and the commentators say that our attitude when refraining from eating prohibited foods is not supposed to be how much you detest pork or snail or cheeseburgers (or whatever), rather I wish i could eat that slice of bacon that smells so wonderful, but as a Jew I have self control and do (or at least try to do to the best of my abilities) what God wants of me, rather than what i want. If he does not want me to eat pork, I will not eat pork. If he does not want me to sleep with my sister, i will not, no matter how appealing she is (ugh).
I do agree with your premise, however, that there is a certain amount of inate morality even without the Bible dictating such morality. The problem is that humanity will uphold such morality only temporarily while it is convenient and eventually we find that humanity digresses back to the middle ages where it was ok to sleep with your sister (or kill or steal, etc..). Humanity will always find an excuse to justify what they want to do and explain how it is moral. In nazi germany it was moral to kill Jews and Gypsies. In Cold War Soviet Union it was moral to repress freedom and individuality. The examples can be researched and be analyzed, but there is widespread immorality and it is usually somehow declared justified and moral.
If one uses the Bible as a base for morality rather than a man made decision on what is moral and what is not (as society changes, morals change), then the morals are (fairly) absolute. While they can be, and are, perverted as well for personal gain, if one is honest and keeps to those morals, s/he will be consistentin his actions and morals.
I do agree with you that one persons virtues should not be exclusive of others. Everybody sees the world through his/her own pair of glasses sees virtue in other things. One person is no more of an authority on virtue than the next.

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