Reversing the direction of moral standard setting

Open discussion for all registered members.

Reversing the direction of moral standard setting

Postby DjVortex » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:47 am

Ok, this isn't anything new, but...

Many Christians argue that the Bible is the ultimate source of morality, and that there can be no other source for it (especially not in secularism). Yet they are completely unable to see how it's precisely secular morality that mandates how the "morality" in the Bible is interpreted.

How the Bible is interpreted is very much influenced by the contemporary cultural norms (I think the technical word for this is "zeitgeist", although using that word has become a curseword because of the idiotic conspiracy theory "documentary" named like that). For instance, some hundreds of years ago most Christians didn't have any problem in interpreting eg. slavery laws in the Bible quite literally. Nowadays, however, they bend over backwards trying to mitigate and whitewash those laws by arguing how they are not that bad, they don't really mean what they seem to be saying, and so on. (You wouldn't believe how contrived the discussion about this can get. Ok, you probably can; it's just an expression.)

Clearly, it's secular morality and the concept of basic human rights that's dictating how (most) Christians interpret the Bible. But after these Christians have gone to ridiculous lengths to try to twist the Bible to conform to these secular morality standards, they then invert the whole causality chain and start claiming that it's the Bible that's the source of these moral standards (and that the generally accepted human rights and moral standards are influenced by the Bible rather than the other way around).

When you point out to them that interpreting those exact same passages was different in past centuries, they will simply argue that those were wrong interpretations. They are so close to admitting that it's the cultural zeitgeist and contemporary secular morality that's affecting how the Bible is interpreted, but they just can't (or outright refuse to) see it. They will maintain to their deaths that the direction is reversed, that it's really the Bible that's the source of morality and that all morality is based on it, and that atheism and secularism has no moral standards of its own. It can be really exasperating.
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Re: Reversing the direction of moral standard setting

Postby Skept » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:20 pm

Ya, as you have noticed, people who have a belief system entirely founded upon the belief that "belief is enough" - will "defend" that system against any evidence or argument to the contrary. If all you have is a set of ideas without any backing in the real world and if the belief system says that this is okay and quite necessary, then no argument will ever change anything.

But that said, there are many kinds of morality, there are many philosophical ideas on ethics. I don't think anyone can claim some kind of "Ha, we were first!" sort of thing about that.
Skept
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Reversing the direction of moral standard setting

Postby DjVortex » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:29 pm

Btw, there are many other things where apologists/creationists reverse the causal chain of events.

Many parts of the "argument from design" are like this. For instance, such an argument could go like: "Why is there such a perfect amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, not too much, which would be fatal, nor too little, which would also be fatal? Clearly the atmosphere has been designed for us." (as well as a million of other similar variations, substituting oxygen and atmosphere with something else.)

Of course the causality chain has been reversed here. It's not the atmosphere that has been "designed" for living beings. It's the other way around: Living beings have adapted to the atmosphere.

Most failures at understanding the anthropic principle are also basically reversing the causal chain of events. The Earth is not this size and at this position for us to be able to live on it. It's the other way around: We live on it because the Earth happens to have the proper conditions. Life did not evolve in the millions and millions of other planets in our galaxy because the conditions were not right, but it did here because they were.
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron