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FlyingToaster

A Question About Law's

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In this society it is a general consensus that certain thing's are wrong. Like stealing, like lying, like adultery, like murder. These moral values and many others have been taught to us by our parents, and other adults when we are young.

Even though there are some group's that do stray from these core values that society accepts as normal, there are a lot more people overall who protect our current moral system.

However, what I don't understand is this. Are the moral values that we are taught when we are young, values that we accept on the bases of belief alone? Or the fact's alone?

Should we just believe whatever people tell us is right or wrong, or should we ascertain by fact's why one thing is right or another thing is wrong?

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The only true measuring stick is scripture.  Measure right and wrong according to His word, not what people think.  Even when Paul was preaching, the Bereans took what Paul said and set it beside scripture to see if his words were true or not.

Acts 17:10-11

Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

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2 hours ago, FlyingToaster said:

Should we just believe whatever people tell us is right or wrong, or should we ascertain by fact's why one thing is right or another thing is wrong?

Faulty premise = faulty conclusion. Look back 100 years and see what was unacceptable then and how that has changed. The new age gnostic will say it is all relative. No absolutes. Laws written on a chalk board.

What folk think may not be so. There is an Absolute, but He is not of human origin. That Absolute is God, Yahweh, haShem. The Creator of all that is, seen and unseen. But if you only believe in human intellect and senses, you will not know who this Absolute is.

Edited by Justin Adams
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48 minutes ago, Justin Adams said:

Faulty premise = faulty conclusion. Look back 100 years and see what was unacceptable then and how that has changed. The new age gnostic will say it is all relative. No absolutes. Laws written on a chalk board.

What folk think may not be so. There is an Absolute, but He is not of human origin. That Absolute is God, Yahweh, haShem. The Creator of all that is, seen and unseen. But if you only believe in human intellect and senses, you will not know who this Absolute is.

To be fair....the OP did state we were to compare any 'moral knowledge received  with scripture !  Of course we should NOT believe anything PEOPLE tell us without checking it out....we see the results in our God-less society....even Christianity. 

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1 hour ago, Betha said:

To be fair....the OP did state we were to compare any 'moral knowledge received  with scripture !  Of course we should NOT believe anything PEOPLE tell us without checking it out....we see the results in our God-less society....even Christianity. 

The OP mentioned nothing about scripture that I could see..  Just what people say.

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2 hours ago, Justin Adams said:

The OP mentioned nothing about scripture that I could see..  Just what people say.

I do beg your pardon, you are right....it was One Light who mentioned scriptures. (i'll have to be more careful of who says what, sorry).

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@FlyingToaster

Good question.  Given your post in the Welcome forum, I take it that you are either seeking to understand for personal reasons, or researching for a college ethics course.

Either way, it is a good question.  The difference is in the acceptability of the answers you find here.

It is a deep question.  Deep questions require deep answers.

On 10/13/2019 at 12:30 PM, FlyingToaster said:

In this society it is a general consensus that certain thing's are wrong. Like stealing, like lying, like adultery, like murder. These moral values and many others have been taught to us by our parents, and other adults when we are young.

Like Justin said above, this is not quite accurate.  Western society no longer considers adultery wrong.  They may say they do but the society uses its power to defend such activities.  Every society has limits to what is murder: every society declares some people groups to be sub-human and therefore members of that society are justified or even lauded for taking action against the sub-human group.  Similarly, every society has rules about property and the taking of it without compensation, stealing in more precise terms.  But these rules vary dramatically, often with the society itself declaring that it is above its own rules.  Lying: people will say that they think it is wrong to misrepresent the truth,  the funny thing is that statement by itself is a misrepresentation of truth.  Humans engage in misrepresenting the truth more than any other activity.

Justin referred to society 100 years ago.  I think it is safe to assume that Justin was referring to either U.S.A. or U.K..  If you take the time to look back at the Laws in those time periods, you may be amazed at the things for which you would be severely punished vs the things for which there was either no punishment or the roles were reversed from modern Laws in those same countries. 

In each season of belief, the respective society instinctively elevates their current view to the status of Good and Evil.  Usually based on utilitarian reasoning.  During that season of belief, if you dare even speak out against a belief, you are likely to be subjected to severe punishment, and certain to face hatred, especially from the portion of the society that claims to represent the Good.  

What does this vicious cycle of societal belief about right and wrong tell us?   I feel it tells us that humans have an overwhelming desire to decide what is right and what is wrong, but humans ability to decide is almost completely obscured behind their own personal concepts formed through the experiences and societal training and, above all, their own desires and emotions. 

Which has some agreement with your last sentence in that first paragraph.

On 10/13/2019 at 12:30 PM, FlyingToaster said:

However, what I don't understand is this. Are the moral values that we are taught when we are young, values that we accept on the bases of belief alone? Or the fact's alone?

Your first question in the immediately preceding quote requires some definition: Belief in what?  Without exception people decide what is Good or Evil based on their initial feeling about a subject.  There is not necessairly fault in this, it is the way we reason as humans.  Unlike computers, we have a vast array of concepts in our minds, when someone presents us with a question our mind immediately, with astonshing speed aligns the question with a concept that already exists in our mind.  Then comes the opportunity to review for accuracy before speaking or taking action.   This is the major benefit of studying math.  Humans cannot generally do higher math at the conceptual level: most must sit down with paper and figure it out.   This excersize in school should  cause people to consider that a similar approach may be important for other subjects.  Which is probably why you are asking these questions and is definitely why I am taking up so much time responding.   (the subject of jurisprudence comes into view here, but we will skip it for now)

In light of that (so), we must step back to examine why we believe that a particular action is Good or Evil.  As you asked, is our disconnected belief system the sole source?  You added the question "Is it based on facts?".   What facts?  This is the endless topic of philosophies through the ages.  People are killed and destroyed by the 10,000 every day as a result of the answers that individuals enforce collectively through their respective societies.  We might even feel sorry for them, until we realize that some of those destroyed are probably guilty of actions that we ourselves despise (hate=despise). 

I am not sure I have explained adequately, but the post gets excessively long and most in western society only read short posts.  So I will assume that I have stated enough to build at least a weak case for the arbitrary nature of human determination of Good and Evil. 

In my view, there is no resolution to this possible in the eartly realm.  There are unsolvable issues no matter which way you take the whole issue of judging between Good and Evil.  That is, Under the sun, to use a phrase from Solomon in Ecclesiastes to indicate the exclusion of a heaven realm view.

I am writing this post on a Christian forum because I have chosen to believe that God exists and that he expressed what he wants Humans to know in the scriptures, commonly called the Bible in english.  The Bible lays out some very important assertions that lead me to believe that I can know the Holy God through the actions of Jesus the Christ.  This makes me categorizable as a christian.

So to continue answering your question. But now integrating thinking from the Bible.  

As mentioned earlier, people arrive at holding strong concepts without even considering them.  They want to kill or even worse, to send people to eternal torture, for actions that they feel are terribly wrong.  And those actions may be terribly wrong.   Note that last sentence.  I switched to an absolute perspective.  For me to imply that some actions are absolutely wrong requires that I have some basis for deciding that it is wrong for everyone, for all time.

Given the case I built earlier, when I claim absolute authority for Good and Evil, it must be based on something different than the way I feel about the actions.  My feelings surely do not equate to absolute Good and Evil.  If I attempt to require enforcement of my feelings on other people, that is the nature of Tyranny, the actions of a Tyrant, one who is usurping authority.

We have already established that all societies enact Law based on the feelings of the people.  At least I feel that I built a weak case for it.  I can build a much stronger case but that would be an extremely long post.  So, in our search for truth about Good and Evil, we cannot rely on the governmental systems of Law as they are extensions of the human perception of Good and Evil. 

So it would appear that we need a higher standard.  This has been the quest of societies for a long time. It makes another long topic to examine the history of societies with respect to attaining some permanently incorrupt system.  No luck yet.

As a theist and specifically a christian, I have chosen to believe that the Bible holds communications from God, as mentioned earlier.  The Bible is very complex and yet contains a relatively simple message.   The reason God gave such a complex structure is exactly to deal with the issue we discussed above: building concepts in human minds.  God says he Loves the all the people of the world.   That is billions of individuals that each have concepts arrayed in their individual minds, controlling how they feel and act.  God could and does make simple statements about truth.  But he enclosed those simple statements in a lengthy, difficult to comprehend set of books called the Bible.

The Bible tells us about Good and Evil.  As others referred to in this thread, the initial story from the Bible deatils the introduction of Good and Evil.   It appears to be a simple story, but the depth of the story will become evident on deep reflection and examination.  Another topic for another day.

For the purpose of this post, allow me to present that with the disobedience taking hold of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve entered the realm of Guilt, Shame and Death on that very day.   We see them hide to avoid guilt, cover their sexuality to cover shame, and be expelled from the presence of God - spiritual death.  And then the battle to define Good and Evil began.  (note that the Bible say that God felt Pain over the condition of the people).

Skipping ahead (which is really a mistake as there is great enlightenment available in the skipped sections, but again, too long), we get to where God gives Moses over 600 commandments to form what we call the Law of Moses.   Western society claims to have governmental law systems based on this Law of Moses, but that is readily observable as a specious claim from even a cursory review.

More important, for the sake of this post, is how the Law of Moses may have bearing on the individual Christian's view of right and wrong, Good and Evil.  In the Law of Moses, God expresses many rules.  Some are easily accepted by the emotional response of most Christians, some are categrically ignored and never read with a mind that is accepting modifications to concepts.  Many of these rules are read with in a strict context of the concept "These rules don't apply".

As mentioned earlier, those concepts in our minds are of great importance.  They shape how we decide matters of incredible importance.  Becoming aware of this, I set out years ago to allow the scriptures to shape my concepts.  Not the government,  not the university professors, not my friends, not the news media, not the great men of the christian history, not the current popular teachers.   I certainly listened and pondered all of the above, as I think is evident in my writing.  But when something that any of them asserts contradicts what I have chosen to believe is the communication from God, I logically move it to the "suspect" set of beliefs.  Mostly relying on reading and deeply pondering the Bible itself, and not blindly accepting that there are inherent contradictions that must be accepted, I have come to a place in my journey where I see the simple message of the Bible reflected in astonishing repetition throughout.

I believe strongly that each person must pursue a path of believing God as the supreme authority in order to know him.  A person can know God at lessor levels, just as an infant know her mother, but not in the same sense that a middle-aged woman knows her mother with whom she has had a deep and loving relationship for 50 years.  This analogy falls short because God is not human.  God is unique - there is nothing in our existence that we can study to know God except God himself.  We can study the Bible, and that is vastly superior to learning about God from movies or documentary films, or university classes, or social media (like this post).  But even studying the Bible is not knowing God, it is knowing ABOUT God (but only if you put it together completely). 

Back to your original questions:

On 10/13/2019 at 12:30 PM, FlyingToaster said:

Should we just believe whatever people tell us is right or wrong, or should we ascertain by fact's why one thing is right or another thing is wrong?

Each person has their concepts about what is right or wrong.  Good and Evil.   I believe that the Law of Moses is the single most definitive set of rules.  Not a subset of the Law of Moses, but the whole set.

Jesus took that law to the spiritual level in the sermon on the mount.  (several chapters in Matthew, with parallel excerpts in the other similar books Mark, Luke and John).   I believe it is clear that Jesus was showing that it is impossible to be prefect enough to please God. 

Does the fact that no one can be perfect eliminate the rules?   This is a classic paradox.  If the rules are not there then every one is perfect.  Which is not true so the rules must be there, which means no one is perfect.  So why have the rules?
Which exposes the failing of utilitarian logic.

The rules exist because Evil does exist.  But the rules are completely ineffective at stopping behavior in violation of the rules.  The battle of judgment and hate has gone on since the Tree of the Knowedge of Good and Evil.  It is the single uniting theme throughout history.

But there was another tree in the Garden:  the Tree of Life.

Jesus solved the Good and Evil paradox by dying for all sins.  So the Good and Evil battle can be overruled by entering the Kingdom of God where the system of Law is the Law of Liberty, based on Love, Fatih and Hope, expressed in Grace, made possible through Mercy.

When this concept becomes the one used by a human mind to make decisions, judgement and hatred become the abhorrent emotions.

 

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Why do you believe that theft, murder, rape etc are wrong?

What causes you to accept that they are wrong?

Are you like chairman Mau who said 'power grows out of a barrel of a gun.' So might is right.

                                                    or

Do you believe that there is right and wrong that is independant of society and the threat of force.

If you do what is this morality? Where does it come from?

try this debate:- https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/video-debates/craig-vs.-harris-notre-dame/

It is about, Is the Foundation of Morality Natural or Supernatural?

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On 10/13/2019 at 8:30 AM, FlyingToaster said:

In this society it is a general consensus that certain thing's are wrong. Like stealing, like lying, like adultery, like murder. These moral values and many others have been taught to us by our parents, and other adults when we are young.

Even though there are some group's that do stray from these core values that society accepts as normal, there are a lot more people overall who protect our current moral system.

However, what I don't understand is this. Are the moral values that we are taught when we are young, values that we accept on the bases of belief alone? Or the fact's alone?

Should we just believe whatever people tell us is right or wrong, or should we ascertain by fact's why one thing is right or another thing is wrong?

When Morality is based on what man says, then man can dictate was is moral and immoral, But when morality is a measure of the Holiness of God, then It is above the dictate of men. So a man with enough power to enforce his morality, can say "all Jews are a lesser race and must be exterminated", and have the might to enforce this subjective "moral" claim. (Adolph Hitler). But  when Morality is dictated by a Holy God, then it is objective to man and his prejudices. The same can be said of our rights as humans, to "life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". When those rights come from God, man cannot take them away, when they come from government, government can take them away, according to their prejudice. Now Most liberals are quick to accuse one of prejudice in this day and age, but their emphatic denial of God empowers and enables prejudice to take over and thrive, and this is the great paradox that liberalism and atheism must deal with.  

 

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On 10/13/2019 at 7:30 AM, FlyingToaster said:

Are the moral values that we are taught when we are young, values that we accept on the bases of belief alone? Or the fact's alone?

Should we just believe whatever people tell us is right or wrong, or should we ascertain by fact's why one thing is right or another thing is wrong?

When we are young, we are taught by our parents/other adults.  …but when at some point, we are called by our Savior and we come to Him and are born from above, He becomes our Teacher. :)

Psalm 32:8-10 King James Version (KJV)

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

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On 10/13/2019 at 7:30 AM, FlyingToaster said:

In this society it is a general consensus that certain thing's are wrong. Like stealing, like lying, like adultery, like murder. These moral values and many others have been taught to us by our parents, and other adults when we are young.

Even though there are some group's that do stray from these core values that society accepts as normal, there are a lot more people overall who protect our current moral system.

However, what I don't understand is this. Are the moral values that we are taught when we are young, values that we accept on the bases of belief alone? Or the fact's alone?

Should we just believe whatever people tell us is right or wrong, or should we ascertain by fact's why one thing is right or another thing is wrong?

I think what you're describing is the new age philosophy of moral relativism, your truth may not be my truth; and we are our own gods, there are no moral absolutes; we live in an enlightened age. 

There's only been "one truth', one standard of righteousness with the facts, and One author of those moral standard and written down in a Book; for man for all centuries. 

If you understand a little about the founding of our nation; you'll come to find out many of our American laws were adopted from English law; from which many English laws were derived from Bible scripture and law. Contrary to popular belief; America became a Christian nation and American government reflected a reverence and belief in the One true living God; as declared in the first two paragraphs of "The Declaration of Independence". Our nation was founded upon 'freedom of religion', NOT freedom FROM religion, and government would not endorse or favor one religion or denomination over another. 

We ascertain our 'facts' of what is right and wrong from an infallible, inerrant and inspired book; the word of God; the Bible. Not what we would like or want; not from what someone else tells us. We use logic, critical thinking, study, look around us at creation for truth and the creator of all that is, watch as prophecy is being fulfilled right before our very own eyes; and have faith Jesus Christ is whom He says He is and trust He will do what He says He will do. 

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