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    19 Oct '08 06:11
    Please bear with me here, I am sort of thinking aloud.

    The kingdom is a kingdom of love not a kingdom of judgement. To enter you leave your judgements behind and embrace love.

    The above was posted by knightmeister in another thread. This got me thinking about something not really related to the topic there.

    It seems clear that we humans possess (more or less innate) moral faculty. By that I do not mean merely that we exhibit prosocial emotions and tendencies (like love, sympathy, altruism) or that we have natural inhibitions toward other behaviors. I mean further that we make moral judgments, we tend to think in terms of moral dichotomies like right and wrong, we often deliberate and instruct in terms of rules and prohibitions, we form judgments of others in terms of desert (whether praiseworthy or blameworthy) and think in terms of reward and punishment, etc. I happen to think all of these facts admit of very plausible evolutionary explanations. On the other hand, if the supposition is that we were created by some all-knowing, all-powerful agent; and further that his ultimate goals lie in prosociality (for example, that our purpose is to enter into loving and other-regarding relationships), then I think it becomes more difficult to explain all these elements of moral faculty. My question is why would such a creator provide for an ability like forming moral judgments about others when, supposedly, being judgmental is counteractive to our purpose.

    We could consider a hypothetical group of persons. They are characteristically friendly, cooperative, and live in peace and harmony; and violence or any sort of divisiveness is unheard of. Their actions flow naturally from the deliverances of prosociality -- like love, compassion, altruism and other-regarding sentiments. They also have natural inhibitions against things like murder or theft or lying, and as such they would never dream of engaging in such things, so to speak. They mutually engage in meaningful relationships and projects. And one of my points here is this: as far as I can see, none of this actually requires that these hypothetical persons hold the capacity to form moral judgments about each other; or to think in terms of desert or reward or punishment; or to think in terms of rules or prohibitions; or even to have any sense of moral obligation or duty. These hypothetical persons deliberate and act accordingly, but none of what I just mentioned enters into their deliberations. My question is, why would god give us tendencies to engage in these things that are not actually requisite for the prosocial elements (these prosocial elements being, supposedly, what he really values). Why wouldn't he just create a group much like this hypothetical one? If god is supposedly a god of prosociality (and if, as KM suggests, we are to leave our judgments at the door anyway), then why did he bother giving us the ability and the tendency to form (often disparaging) judgments of others?
  2. Joined
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    19 Oct '08 06:14
    By the way, I already bounced these ideas off some people (not on these boards).

    One objection I heard is that these hypothetical persons are not really free; that somehow they do not enjoy genuine personal freedom. I do not understand what the problem is though. These persons act autonomously: they are not being coerced, and their actions are faithful to who they really are. It just happens to be that who they really are, are very beneficent creatures who have been blessed with prosocial dispositions, tendencies and inhibitions. What's the problem here? We all have natural tendencies and inhibitions, and yet I don't hear people crying that they aren't really free because of them. Relatedly, another objection I have heard is that the love between these hypothetical persons would not really be genuine somehow because…well, I'm still not really sure why they objected this way. Just because these persons have been given exceedingly beneficent dispositions – something for which they themselves ultimately cannot be responsible for – doesn't mean that their love and concerns are not genuine. To blanketly suggest otherwise seems to confuse providing causal explanation for a psychological state with providing the content of the psychological state (or something along those lines).

    Another objection I heard is that perhaps this ability of ours is fact-detecting. That is, when I form a judgment like that S is all-around not a good guy (or that S's actions are characteristically blameworthy or something like that), maybe I am just reporting an actual moral fact about the world. In that case, god has simply given us ability for detecting a realm of facts, which seems admirable enough. However, as a matter of descriptive fact, different persons often form conflicting judgments about the same person, which presumably would mean that we often misfire in our fact-detecting. It must not be that incredibly reliable of a fact-detecting faculty. Further, theists already admit that there are any number of facts we are not in a position to know (for example, that our knowledge is fundamentally minimal at best compared to god's). So if god withholds a few more facts from our detection, what's the big deal (particularly if it is the case that the ability to judge others can be divisive and counteractive toward our prosociality)?
  3. Cape Town
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    19 Oct '08 07:50
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    My question is why would such a creator provide for an ability like forming moral judgments about others when, supposedly, being judgmental is counteractive to our purpose.
    I suspect that someone several thousand years ago, encountered the same question, and came up with Genesis, where God, cleverly tricks Adam and Eve into thinking that they and a snake are to blame for taking on the faculty. In any modern courtroom however God would be found guilty of gross negligence for leaving a dangerous tree in the vicinity of two minors.
  4. weedhopper
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    20 Oct '08 05:43
    I think we are supposed to "judge" by being discerning individuals--and when we see something we know to be sinful, we are to act accordingly and avoid it. To me, that is not being judgemental. When you determine something to be a sin, and then try to enforce that belief on others, THEN you have crossed the line.
  5. Standard memberknightmeister
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    20 Oct '08 09:20
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Please bear with me here, I am sort of thinking aloud.

    [b]The kingdom is a kingdom of love not a kingdom of judgement. To enter you leave your judgements behind and embrace love.


    The above was posted by knightmeister in another thread. This got me thinking about something not really related to the topic there.

    It seems clear that we humans ...[text shortened]... bother giving us the ability and the tendency to form (often disparaging) judgments of others?[/b]
    It's actually extremely simple. We can make judgements regarding the behaviour of others and judgements about charactor flaws , but we cannot judge the person.

    I might make a judgement about the behaviour of a footballer who gets into a fight or something, that's Ok , but if I start going one step further and judging him as a person somehow claiming that I am better than him or how he is less deserving of God's love etc etc then I'm treading on thin ice because I do not have enough information to do so.
  6. Cape Town
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    20 Oct '08 09:45
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    It's actually extremely simple. We can make judgements regarding the behaviour of others and judgements about charactor flaws , but we cannot judge the person.

    I might make a judgement about the behaviour of a footballer who gets into a fight or something, that's Ok , but if I start going one step further and judging him as a person somehow claimin ...[text shortened]... ove etc etc then I'm treading on thin ice because I do not have enough information to do so.
    However, none of this addresses LemonJello's question which relates to why God would give us a tendency which is clearly undesirable.

    I certainly think I am better than you. If that is wrong, then why did God make me this way? (judgmental not better).
  7. Account suspended
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    20 Oct '08 10:441 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    However, none of this addresses LemonJello's question which relates to why God would give us a tendency which is clearly undesirable.

    I certainly think I am better than you. If that is wrong, then why did God make me this way? (judgmental not better).
    this has nothing to do with God, has it ?, its your own personality, infact if you did read and apply scripture this would not be the case, you would learn to respect that others have qualities that you yourself do not pocess, like ...well i better not go into that, the scriptures speak of putting on a new personality (Ephesians 4:22,23), actually it comes from the greek word for metamorphosis and carries the thought of a caterpillar becoming a chrysalis and eventually a beautiful butterfly, a complete transformation, hardly recognizable from before.

    just think what would happen to you !, you would go in, a presumptuous, arrogant, narrow minded, despicable fellow given to delusion and misconception, and out the other side, a loving, tolerant, respectful fellow, hardly recognizable from what went before!
  8. Cape Town
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    20 Oct '08 11:151 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    this has nothing to do with God, has it ?, its your own personality,
    So if my own personality has nothing to do with God, then who made my personality? Am I devilspawn? And why did God make human beings capable of having personalities like mine?

    just think what would happen to you !, you would go in, a presumptuous, arrogant, narrow minded, despicable fellow given to delusion and misconception, and out the other side, a loving, tolerant, respectful fellow, hardly recognizable from what went before!
    Yes it would be nice if we could put you through that machine, but I guess we are stuck with hoping that reasoning with you will eventually help you to see the light.
  9. Standard memberPalynka
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    20 Oct '08 11:391 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Please bear with me here, I am sort of thinking aloud.

    [b]The kingdom is a kingdom of love not a kingdom of judgement. To enter you leave your judgements behind and embrace love.


    The above was posted by knightmeister in another thread. This got me thinking about something not really related to the topic there.

    It seems clear that we humans bother giving us the ability and the tendency to form (often disparaging) judgments of others?[/b]
    I'm a bit confused as what you're addressing here. Isn't this a less general variant of what bbarr called the General Argument From Evil? That is, you are using a supposedly evil action and ask why would an omnipotent, morally perfect Creator allow such a possibility...
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    20 Oct '08 13:06
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    So if my own personality has nothing to do with God, then who made my personality? Am I devilspawn? And why did God make human beings capable of having personalities like mine?

    [b]just think what would happen to you !, you would go in, a presumptuous, arrogant, narrow minded, despicable fellow given to delusion and misconception, and out the other side ...[text shortened]... uess we are stuck with hoping that reasoning with you will eventually help you to see the light.
    it is, i have to admit an interesting question, what does fashion a persons personality. according to the Bible, which as you know i hold in high esteem, it is the things that we take into our minds, the examples we are set by those close to us, and the desires that we cultivate in our hearts!
  11. Cape Town
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    20 Oct '08 13:50
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    it is, i have to admit an interesting question, what does fashion a persons personality. according to the Bible, which as you know i hold in high esteem, it is the things that we take into our minds, the examples we are set by those close to us, and the desires that we cultivate in our hearts!
    Congratulations. That is the first reasonable answer you have ever given me in these forums.
    I still think that God could possibly have prevented my personality from ending up where it is, but I now accept that he is not necessarily directly responsible for it.
    I think LemonJello's argument however asks why God did not prevent it, and why he seems to have created and environment in which judgmental personalities are particularly common.
  12. Standard memberblack beetle
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    20 Oct '08 13:52
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    this has nothing to do with God, has it ?, its your own personality, infact if you did read and apply scripture this would not be the case, you would learn to respect that others have qualities that you yourself do not pocess, like ...well i better not go into that, the scriptures speak of putting on a new personality (Ephesians 4:22,23), actually it ...[text shortened]... he other side, a loving, tolerant, respectful fellow, hardly recognizable from what went before!
    Butterflies are butterflies and black beetles black beetles; Butterflies are becoming butterflies through their way and black beetles are becoming black beetles through their way; it's a miracle -but nothing holy🙂
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    20 Oct '08 14:37
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    However, none of this addresses LemonJello's question which relates to why God would give us a tendency which is clearly undesirable.

    I certainly think I am better than you. If that is wrong, then why did God make me this way? (judgmental not better).
    He also made you with the capacity for humility and understanding of others. If you seek not to use or develop that capacity within yourself then that's unfortunate. I don't find you that judgemental though. I think you are pretty fair and reasonable most of the time.
  14. Cape Town
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    20 Oct '08 15:17
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    He also made you with the capacity for humility and understanding of others. If you seek not to use or develop that capacity within yourself then that's unfortunate.
    So its down to bad luck?
    Did he give me my capacity for judgmentalism? Was it unavoidable? Is it a byproduct of some other unavoidable factors?
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    20 Oct '08 15:51
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Congratulations. That is the first reasonable answer you have ever given me in these forums.
    I still think that God could possibly have prevented my personality from ending up where it is, but I now accept that he is not necessarily directly responsible for it.
    I think LemonJello's argument however asks why God did not prevent it, and why he seems to have created and environment in which judgmental personalities are particularly common.
    i like you really, i do, i am just messing around!
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