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View Poll Results: What makes something moral?
Morals are what the law says they are. 1 1.82%
Morals are what God says they are. 7 12.73%
Morals are what Society expects me to do and judges me for.. 1 1.82%
Morals are in my heart and I know what is right and wrong. 43 78.18%
Morals are optional, the main goal is for me to get my way. 0 0%
An amorphous mix of the above, that I haven't sorted out yet. 3 5.45%
Voters: 55. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-29-2009, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,332,324 times
Reputation: 36482

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In your everyday life, how do you determine what is the right thing to do?

Let's say you try on a jacket at a garage sale, and it's just right. You poke your finger into a zippered pocket and there are a couple of twenty dollar bills folded up in there. Do yo pay the two bucks for the jacket and take it home, calling it your lucky day, or do you bring it to the attention of the seller. a poor young couple with some rug rats, trying to get through to the end of the month.

Do you keep the money because it is a legal transaction and morality is defined by the law?

Do you return the money because morality is defined by God and you fear His punishment for your immoral deeds?

Do you return the money because you are afraid somebody saw you, and the appearance of morality is more important than the fact of morality?

Do you "Do the right thing" because you, in your heart, you have an instinctive sense of what is moral and what is not?
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 12,399,046 times
Reputation: 3758
Default My "take"

One sad thing about City-Data's forums is that, sooner or later, one's particular "bent" or reputation precedes them, and it's seemingly of no use to try such open and objective threads as this one. I know; I've tried and bee nshot down. They all claim to "know" me. . .Heee heee..

similarly, I happen to know your spiritual "bent" already, jtr, but I'll bite and say that my moral code is one I adhere to simply on the basis of"doing the right thing", since I abandoned Christianity oh, about 40 years ago after witnessing some of it's atrocities (greed, arrogance, wilful destruction of others' lives and even property, and on and on... Hardly a model for any culture. In word, yes, but in deed? No way).

I know that man has evolved (in a culturaal, not biological, sense. Small "e" on evolution) our moral code (you may well know that there's an entire war-thread about this over on R&P) involving the concept of us having "evolved" a set of hereditary moral understandings. I don't ascribe to that, but do believe it's taught, nurtured if you will, by our own formative year experiences, coupled of course by the moral upbringing of our parents.

Your example was v. interesting to me. We moved into a house that an older lady had finally been forced to abandon because she'd lost her aged husband two years earlier, it was on nearly 6 acres, and it was an ailing 100+ year old farm house in need of a constant handiman (me).

Simultaneously, she had been diagnosed with cancer of some sort, and had about 1.5 - 2 years left in her life. Fortunately for her, she was already 93.

When we moved in, she had left a couple of pieces of old furniture, including an old drawer set that was of scrap value only, in the small bedroom she'd moved into after her husband had passed on. (She couldn't stand to stay in their "love bedroom" as she laughingly & lovingly called it. Brought a tear to my jaundiced eye...).

When I was getting ready to move this pile of firewood outside, one drawer slid open, and there was an old canvas bank deposit bag. I opened it, and guess what?

Money. Lots of money. About $1500, which we really could have used right about then. And a deposit slip from 20 years ago! She'd just lost and then forgotten it.

Can you imagine the look on her face when I stopped off at the nursing home and, with a big smile on my face, handed it to her? She actually remembered losing it many years ago, and couldn't believe where I'd found it because she actually had used that dresser recently, including that second drawer. She was in tears for ten minutes, saying "Thank you, lord!" And me as well, of course. She didn't give me any reward.

(I also told her that some of the coins and paper money might be of greater value than their current face value and that she should take it all to a coin shop first, and offered to go with her (I being usually armed with a registered concealed weapon, BTW. I mean, a 93.5 yr old frail old lady in a shady coin shop, with a big bag'o money? C'mon! The guy makes a quick phone call, and whammo! More of my fatherly ethics showing, eh?)

So. I coulda just kept it, no problems, I could have tossed the deposit slip, taken a percentage finders fee "cut" and given the rest to her, or I could have done what I did.

Guess my internal moral compass, absent any guiding light from The Lord, but rather my respect for my fellow organisms on this planet, led me through this conundrum, eh?

(Just don't ask me what I'd do if I found, somehow, hypothetically, a "dropped" deposit bag from the local Baptist Church... with, say, $5,000 in it. Isn't that the usual Sunday morning "take" from a big evangelical tent meeting?)

Last edited by rifleman; 04-29-2009 at 09:46 AM.. Reason: clarifications
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,728 posts, read 19,955,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
... do you bring it to the attention of the seller. a poor young couple with some rug rats, trying to get through to the end of the month....
Yes, I give it to the seller, not because they're poor but because I assume it's their money. I'd do the same if they were a rich, yuppie couple with a $100K Porsche sitting in the garage. Not my money to keep -- no "decision" to be made.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,332,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
Yes, I give it to the seller, not because they're poor but because I assume it's their money. I'd do the same if they were a rich, yuppie couple with a $100K Porsche sitting in the garage. Not my money to keep -- no "decision" to be made.
But you would have a legal right to keep it, right? I'm glad that does not define your morality.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:18 AM
 
1,788 posts, read 4,579,072 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
In your everyday life, how do you determine what is the right thing to do?
Easy. Ask yourself one thing: Will I hurt someone else by doing this?

No gods or churches or religions are necessary to make that determination. As far as the jacket goes, I'd give the money back, not for any moral reason but because it's what I'd want someone to do if it were my jacket at my yard sale.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
17,052 posts, read 12,285,693 times
Reputation: 14027
Morality is confused because of a simple fact:
There are two systems of law in operation, at this time.

TWO LAW SYSTEMS
Law of Love:
1. Harmless action in support of one's right to life (Good)
2. Self sacrifice for the benefit of another. (Greatest Love)
Law of the Jungle:
3. Harmful action in support of one's right to life (Evil)
4. Harmful action for no reason (Worst)


We can easily determine the difference between the two systems of laws.

Those who follow the law of love, support their lives with harmless labor. Those who follow the law of love sacrifice themselves for others.

Those who follow the law of the jungle, support their lives with harmful labor. Those who follow the law of the jungle sacrifice others for themselves.

We often use the terms : good and evil.
And we call evil doers : law breakers.

But that is misleading.

Predators follow the LAW OF THE JUNGLE and thus are abiding by the law. It's just not the same law as harmless producers follow.

Harmless productive people are "good" and harmful predatory people are "bad" only under the Law of Love.

Under the law of the jungle, predators are "good" and prey are "good to eat." Prey who fight back are "bad".

Which law do you follow?
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:40 PM
Status: "57" (set 1 day ago)
 
12,297 posts, read 12,441,262 times
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Just knowing what the right thing to do is not enough. We have to have some internal mechanisms that force us to act on what we believe to be right in our heart. We also have to know that our sense of well being and comfort is dependent on these actions. The personal harmony and balance brought on by Knowing Right, Doing Right, and Being Right, is what keeps most of us out of prisons.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,332,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftylefty View Post
is what keeps most of us out of prisons.
I disagree. We have all been tempted to do things that would have landed us in prison, which we did not consider to be morally wrong, but the primary reason for not doing it was the fear of being caught and prosecuted.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 1,369,514 times
Reputation: 498
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
In your everyday life, how do you determine what is the right thing to do?

Let's say you try on a jacket at a garage sale, and it's just right. You poke your finger into a zippered pocket and there are a couple of twenty dollar bills folded up in there. Do yo pay the two bucks for the jacket and take it home, calling it your lucky day, or do you bring it to the attention of the seller. a poor young couple with some rug rats, trying to get through to the end of the month.

Do you keep the money because it is a legal transaction and morality is defined by the law?

Do you return the money because morality is defined by God and you fear His punishment for your immoral deeds?

Do you return the money because you are afraid somebody saw you, and the appearance of morality is more important than the fact of morality?

Do you "Do the right thing" because you, in your heart, you have an instinctive sense of what is moral and what is not?
Would it change anyone's answer if the person was wealthy rather than a poor young mother?
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:27 PM
Status: "57" (set 1 day ago)
 
12,297 posts, read 12,441,262 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I disagree. We have all been tempted to do things that would have landed us in prison, which we did not consider to be morally wrong, but the primary reason for not doing it was the fear of being caught and prosecuted.
Thats where the sense of balance has to be maintained, in those particular cases our sense of well being and comfort guided us toward inaction in this case, our moral compasses are working not so that we feel good about our selves or our personal sense of Piety, but I would argue that morals make our lives better. an example is a person who believes certain recreational drugs are not harmful and may be benign but still doesn't used them because of another obligation not to do them, ie oath of office,or laws
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