in and of itself

how do we define morality? what makes one thing moral and another thing "not" moral? what is morality? what is "moral?" now, i am not looking for the "webster definition" of the word, i want to know what is moral? do we get the idea of what is moral from scripture, or do we decide what is moral and then look for scripture to support our view? does morality come from our faith, or does our faith come from our morality?

if something is seen as moral in one culture, does another culture have the right to say it is not moral? can one view of morality be seen higher then another view? can one group place their moral views on another? if morality is based on religious convictions can people have different views of morality and yet hole the same faith? can one gathering of christians have a different view of what is and is not moral? do we all need the same moral reality?

is smoking a moral issue? is drinking a moral issue? is "cussing" a moral issue? is dress a moral issue? if they are, can we see them all as scriptural issues as well? for example, drinking. can different communities have different views, and both be right? what if your community says it is wrong, and the community next to you says it is right, can you both agree that the others point is valid? what about cussing? if in a community words like "shit" and "crap" and "pimp" and "bitch" have a positive meaning, and in another they have a very negative meaning whose morality do we go with? who gets to decided the use of a word in community?

if you were to go to a place where the word "the" was considered the greatest insult would you use it and simply think "man, these people need to get over this stupid 'the' thing." would you insist that your morality of the word "the" was the right morality and theirs was the wrong morality? what if you were from the community where "the" was considered a great insult and found yourself in a community where "the" was the greatest complement, what would you do? how would handle the use of the word?

how do you define morality? is it defined in culture, or in scripture - or is there a difference?

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Craig said...

I think that people start out by thinking that the things that they naturally do are okay...
and then we look at the people who we are close to and assume what they do is alright...
And then we try to read that in to everything that we see or read...
And then we find people who aren't that close and do something different and we create an us vs them situation.
A lot of people find it helpful to talk about propositional vs experiential truth also.

spamthewunderdog said...

I think (and this probably more reactionary and simplistic than I would normally muse) that the moral issue at hand decides which road to take.

For example, you have espoused several times on this blog that you are a pacifist, that war is essentially evil. It could be said that you believe it is immoral. Also, it could be said that you believe all forms of it, from all cultures and peoples, is immoral. I think, if I understand you correctly, that you would say this point of view is scripurally based and comes from the core of your faith.

But look at drinking, what is the scriptural mandate...drunkeness. Now this may get complicated, because it already is as I think through it. But to the person who says its ok to drink, would probably still say that to be a drunkard crosses the line into sin. To the person who says it is bad period, says so on the basis of the "possibility" of drunkeness. I would say that first person is basing their point of view solely on scripture, and that the second person is basing it on scripture...but filtering it through a cultural lense that makes it easier for them to hold to the scripural mandate.

Of course my response would be this: When Jesus turned the water into wine, do you believe there were no alcoholics present at the wedding??

john o'keefe said...

spam :)

hey bro :) but the question comes to these:

define "drunkard?" who gets to decide what the word means? do i get to define it for your community, or do you get to define it for my community? what if the one who says "no drinking at all" claims that that is the only way, and you believe differently are you not then, in their eyes, immoral?

and i have to say, i love the last line - i never thought of that before.

Jeffrey said...

john, GREAT post! I've been chewing on this one for a couple of days. Good comments everyone. I think that most 'christians', as you asked, "decide what is moral and then look for scripture to support our view." Or rather, let their 'pastor' determine what's moral, then buy his load of shit for how scripture backs it up (oops, i cussed...am I ok or condemned to the lowest level of hell?).

I think that "immorality", as i've come to see in so many other things, is a symptom of the problem, and not the problem itself. Immorality, in whatever it means or is defined, is the result of humans acting, either by choice or in unawareness of, the perfect Love of Christ within them.

Can you imagine what social systems we would not need and what "injustice" and "immorality" would vanish on it's own if Christ's Love conciously led the hearts and lives of everyone, everywhere??

Craig said...

Just to be annoying, I wanted to point out that no one has responded to the rant that I posted at the bottom of the " the jesus i know, or the one i think i know." post.