Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

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Filander
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by Filander » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:58 am

Also like KathleenBrugger's answer, think it contains the key to resolving the debate which prompted the OP.

There was never really a disagreement in spirit, just a semantic confusion, what a logician would call a "category error."

dannydawiz, do you know about Sam Harris' book, The Moral Landscape? You can find some pretty long vids about it on YT. Might be helpful to you right now.

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KathleenBrugger
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by KathleenBrugger » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:10 am

dannydawiz wrote:It is true that if we did not have laws to govern ourselves and subjective morality to distinguish between right and wrong then society wouldn't be able to function as a whole. We need laws and a government to enforce them because if they didn't then there would be nothing to stop things like murder and theft from occurring. At the same time though I don't believe that if laws didn't exist everyone would be killing one another. As long as the desire for power and form exist in this world there will always be people taking advantage of others.

With the acceptance of subjective morality comes confusion however. For example is homosexuality right or wrong? According to the bible a homosexual should be put to death.

Leviticus 20:13
"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."

If heaven and hell exist in objective reality then does this mean that all homosexuals deserve to be burned in eternal fire? Regardless of whether it was only their childhood conditioning that led them to be this way?
Putting religion aside I honestly see no problem with homosexuality. Does it harm anyone? No. Then why should it be considered wrong?
In terms of subjective reality how do you define what is wrong and what is right? Is it based on the amount of harm being done to humanity? Is it based on a god?

If heaven exists then I want to go there but at the same time I can't agree with all of gods moralities. The death penalty in Christianity is considered to be "right" and I don't see it that way.
I could never kill a human and blame them for their actions. That is just the way that they were brought up. It's societies fault for leading them to end up that way.

I'm only mentioning christianity because my uncle says that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support that it exists. He even went as far as to say that if I could find one thing that doesn't make sense about the bible then he would completely drop his religion.
Hi Danny, I'm glad what I wrote made sense for you. I agree that subjective morality does open the door to uncertainty, but personally I don't believe morality was imposed on humanity by God. I think God underlies all that is (in fact I think the universe is God in a state of amnesia) so I think our underlying nature informs our morality and our conscience, but that's as far as it goes. So I don't accept what a religion or the bible says as absolute truth. For example, homosexuality. That passage in Leviticus was written thousands of years ago in a completely different culture from what we have today. That's just another example of the benefit of subjective morality--that it can be changed--just like slavery. I agree that the death penalty is another example. Cultures evolve just like physical bodies evolve, and from my point of view our culture is becoming more and more moral; it is recognizing that not only all humans, but all creatures are deserving of respect and dignity.

I also agree with you that laws and society's rules are not the only things keeping most people from raping, killing, etc. I think, like Anne Frank, that most people are good at heart (because they're God in disguise). Think of young children, they are naturally helpful and caring of others. We have to be taught to hate, to want to hurt.
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
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Onceler
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by Onceler » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:39 pm

This letter might be helpful in questions regarding the bible.

http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/Why ... 10-02.html

Your uncle might be interested in this letter as well, dannydawiz.
Be present, be pleasant.

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treasuretheday
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by treasuretheday » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:12 pm

I would like to suggest that when reading sacred texts, "inspired writings," some inspired reading is necessary! Engaging scripture for its transformative message requires not taking the writings literally. Literalism offers the lowest and least level of meaning.

Sacred texts from any faith tradition are complex. There are many levels of meaning. To attempt to "prove it is true" on a simplistic, factual level is to miss out on much richness and dimension.

Jesus did not approach scripture in a literalist, fundamentalist way. He was a man of Spirit. Accused of "teaching with authority and not like the scribes," (Matthew 7:29) he criticized the fervent, pious "teachers of the law" of missing the point. "You understand neither scriptures nor the power of God." (Mark 12:24). Today we often miss the point too.

Jesus ignored, even denied, punitive, exclusionary texts in his own Jewish Bible. He emphasized passages that underscored inclusion, mercy, honesty. So when one pretends that every line in the Bible is of equal importance and inspiration .... this is certainly not the approach to scripture that Jesus practiced.

A serious study of any sacred scripture is not similar to reading a newspaper or magazine article. We are not combing the paragraphs for "facts." We trivialize sacred texts when we approach them in a utilitarian, materialistic manner. They are meant to be completely engaged with for insight rather than provable fact. Engaging with the Word is a process of schooling ourselves to be at ease with our unknowing, to enter texts with humility, curiosity, imagination, and reverence.

Sacred stories and parables are forms of expression that are meant to take us out of the stream of reasoning and measuring that so occupies the mind. They nurture a special kind of knowing that resists rational formulas and explicit answers, but offer depth of perspective. They draw us in and help us see with different eyes. They don't inform us, they inspire us.
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-Julia Child

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dannydawiz
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by dannydawiz » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:09 pm

Fore wrote:
dannydawiz wrote:
Fore wrote: Would you like to be raped?
No I wouldn't. Why? The experience to me seems like it would be unpleasant. What is your point?
Is this not the answer to your question?
You do not want to be raped, so you would not wish this to happen to others.

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
The golden law.

I see your point. Thanks for that.
Filander wrote:Also like KathleenBrugger's answer, think it contains the key to resolving the debate which prompted the OP.

There was never really a disagreement in spirit, just a semantic confusion, what a logician would call a "category error."

dannydawiz, do you know about Sam Harris' book, The Moral Landscape? You can find some pretty long vids about it on YT. Might be helpful to you right now.

Thank you Filander I will definitely look into it if you say it will be helpful.
KathleenBrugger wrote: Hi Danny, I'm glad what I wrote made sense for you. I agree that subjective morality does open the door to uncertainty, but personally I don't believe morality was imposed on humanity by God. I think God underlies all that is (in fact I think the universe is God in a state of amnesia) so I think our underlying nature informs our morality and our conscience, but that's as far as it goes. So I don't accept what a religion or the bible says as absolute truth. For example, homosexuality. That passage in Leviticus was written thousands of years ago in a completely different culture from what we have today. That's just another example of the benefit of subjective morality--that it can be changed--just like slavery. I agree that the death penalty is another example. Cultures evolve just like physical bodies evolve, and from my point of view our culture is becoming more and more moral; it is recognizing that not only all humans, but all creatures are deserving of respect and dignity.

I also agree with you that laws and society's rules are not the only things keeping most people from raping, killing, etc. I think, like Anne Frank, that most people are good at heart (because they're God in disguise). Think of young children, they are naturally helpful and caring of others. We have to be taught to hate, to want to hurt.
I see you. I do believe that the bible certainly had some great ideas far ahead of its time. There are things contained in it however that I don't agree with morally. I'm not sure about the natural human state of human beings. I forgot who it was that said that they believed human beings were naturally evil and that we needed laws in order to keep us from chaos. Thomas Hobbes I think it was.

If the bible is accurate though and heaven and hell are an absolute reality I don't want to burn in eternal fire for this.

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dijmart
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by dijmart » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:56 pm

dannydawiz wrote: I see you. I do believe that the bible certainly had some great ideas far ahead of its time. There are things contained in it however that I don't agree with morally. I'm not sure about the natural human state of human beings. I forgot who it was that said that they believed human beings were naturally evil and that we needed laws in order to keep us from chaos. Thomas Hobbes I think it was.

If the bible is accurate though and heaven and hell are an absolute reality I don't want to burn in eternal fire for this.
The bible has been re-translated and re-done over and over again, possibly by unconscous people. Changing even one word in a sentence to slant one way or another can make a big difference in the meaning. In my opinion, many parts, if not the whole thing, were not meant to be taken literally, as someone else mentioned.

I do not think there is a heaven or hell "place", I never did and never will. So, I think you're good, so long as you don't believe there is such a place and that you're going there. I think it's possible for one to delude themselves at time of death and go to an imaginary "place" ...for awhile, but since it would be imaginary it wouldn't last. From the absolute view this "place" doesn't exist at all, so don't believe that it does.
Take what you like and leave the rest.

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KathleenBrugger
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by KathleenBrugger » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:48 pm

dannydawiz wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote: I also agree with you that laws and society's rules are not the only things keeping most people from raping, killing, etc. I think, like Anne Frank, that most people are good at heart (because they're God in disguise). Think of young children, they are naturally helpful and caring of others. We have to be taught to hate, to want to hurt.
I see you. I do believe that the bible certainly had some great ideas far ahead of its time. There are things contained in it however that I don't agree with morally. I'm not sure about the natural human state of human beings. I forgot who it was that said that they believed human beings were naturally evil and that we needed laws in order to keep us from chaos. Thomas Hobbes I think it was.

If the bible is accurate though and heaven and hell are an absolute reality I don't want to burn in eternal fire for this.
No heaven and hell do not exist in the way Christians describe. Don't worry about burning in eternal fire. That hell does not exist. My husband and I once wrote a paper for a fundamentalist minister on the subject of hell. I researched the Bible and all references to Hell, Arthur wrote a philosophical argument (basically, how could a loving God invent something so cruel). In the Old Testament there is no mention of Hell. My question to the minister was, if Jesus was telling us something new, about a real place of eternal punishment, don't you think he's have been a little more clear about it? There's really very little in the Gospels about it, and if you look at the translations, the word he's using there is Gehenna, which was a garbage dump outside Jerusalem where bodies were dumped and fires burned all the time. After reading my paper, the minister's next sermon was about hell--he said, "God would have to be awfully hard-hearted to send someone to eternal torment for what they did in a short human life of a few decades. Hell as we have thought about it cannot exist." The parishioners' jaws dropped, not sure what kind of feedback he got on that but it probably wasn't all pleasant. The threat of Hell has been a control mechanism religion has used for centuries--go to church and pay your money or you will suffer--sounds like the Mafia.

Oh yes, Thomas Hobbes, beloved philosopher of conservatives, who said that human life before civilization was nasty, brutish, and short. This has been disproved by anthropologists. Life was actually pretty good for hunter-gatherers. They worked much less than we do, had lots of leisure time, were healthier than almost anyone who lived in agricultural societies until just recently, and lived to be old (when you hear about the average age of death being 35 or 40, remember that's average--some people still lived until 60 or 70 or later--there was just higher infant/child mortality). Are animals naturally evil? They may kill for food and fight for territory but does that make them evil? If you believe in evolution, where and how did humans become imbued with this thing called evil?
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
http://kathleenbrugger.blogspot.com/

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dijmart
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by dijmart » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:32 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote: go to church and pay your money or you will suffer--sounds like the Mafia.
:lol:
Take what you like and leave the rest.

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treasuretheday
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by treasuretheday » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:10 am

KathleenBrugger wrote:No heaven and hell do not exist in the way Christians describe.
Which Christians? It is worth noting that there are 2,200,000,000 Christians on the planet. Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Moravians, Baptists, Catholics, I could go on and on. And within those denominations there are variances, sometimes wide and wild differences of opinion, on all manner of things. One will bump into quite a number of different takes on the heaven and hell scenario. So I would only refine your sentence to: Heaven and hell do not exist in this particular way that some Christians describe.

(I would venture a guess that I share very little common ground with Danny's uncle, though we both are Christians!).

We're not all fundamentalists, Westboro Baptists and Pat Robertson followers. I realize these examples are representative of Christianity for many, because unfortunately, those are the examples that make it onto CNN. I can certainly understand the pain and anguish many feel when encountering such examples. With such a limited view of course, it makes sense to conclude: "Ah, there go those Christians again, hating homosexuals, preaching fire and brimstone, stirring things up at funerals and being a general menace to society. Hypocrites. All of them." So to people on the outside looking in...I sympathize and sometimes cringe with embarrassment.

Back to the Bible. As I mentioned earlier, for me, reading scripture is not a fact-finding mission or research project. I understand that for many Christians (& non-Christians) that is the case. But I think it important to emphasize, and maybe for some, to introduce the notion, that scripture is not regarded by everyone as a toolbox from which to draw support for being "right" or winning arguments. But of course, there are people who "tackle" it that way. They delve into Bible study as a way of building an arsenal of ammunition.

I prefer to come to these sacred readings with my heart. To open to the sublime, transcendent, and fulfilling beauty and mystery there. A life given wholeheartedly to this beauty reveals the presence of God. What matters on my end is not intellectual analysis, but emptiness, openness, trust and surrender. This is truly spiritual reading... a spiritual practice. Some may find this about Lectio Divina of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectio_Divina
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Fore
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by Fore » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:21 am

Amen sister.

I don't think this is limited to just Christians either. :(

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dannydawiz
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by dannydawiz » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:42 am

Regardless if god exists or not I feel inclined to study the bible. The worlds largest religion is Christianity and the bible is one of the worlds most important books I feel.

The reason why I feel hesitant as to say whether god exists or not is because of this documentary my Uncle showed me called the Case of a Creator.

http://youtu.be/ajqH4y8G0MI

There was this atheist who set out to disprove the Bible. He had a degree in Law and spent decades on research. At the end of it all he gave up his atheism and converted to christianity because there was far to much evidence which suggested that christianity existed.

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KathleenBrugger
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by KathleenBrugger » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:16 pm

treasuretheday wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote:No heaven and hell do not exist in the way Christians describe.
Which Christians? It is worth noting that there are 2,200,000,000 Christians on the planet. Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Moravians, Baptists, Catholics, I could go on and on. And within those denominations there are variances, sometimes wide and wild differences of opinion, on all manner of things. One will bump into quite a number of different takes on the heaven and hell scenario. So I would only refine your sentence to: Heaven and hell do not exist in this particular way that some Christians describe.
I'll go with that. :D

I'll add though that belief in hell is still pretty high in this country; according to a Harris Poll in Dec. 2013, 58% of those polled believed in the existence of hell. You may say there's variations on what hell is in those people's minds, but I think most of these people are thinking of the firey eternal punishment place, because the same number also believe in the devil.

Poll:

December 16, 2013 - A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Also, while majorities also believe in miracles (72%, down from 79% in 2005), heaven (68%, down from 75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (68%, down from 72%), the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65%, down from 70%), the survival of the soul after death (64%, down from 69%), the devil, hell (both at 58%, down from 62%) and the Virgin birth (57%, down from 60%), these are all down from previous Harris Polls.

Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, however, while well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47%, up from 42%).
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by Maire » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:30 pm

Dannydawiz, if you don't mind me saying, your ego is leading you down the garden path and won't be bringing you to that Meadow anytime soon. Sorry but the more I read, the more I empathize with your uncle.

Do you want spirituality or religion soup? If you're not keen on Christians why do you keep quoting the bible? It always amazes me how the bible is used to back up just about anything from racism to wife-battering. Everyone is so fond of quoting the bible aren't they, whether they believe in it or not. Having said that, Sandyjoy, your post really spoke to me, I have reread it a few times. Your bible quotes are in a helpful spiritual context and not bandied about for no good reason.

Danny, this advice is good

Sandyjoy said
If you want a sense of balance and stability in your life, then I suggest you look for the Child within you. You can return to this Place, the Meadow right here in the midst of this 'rough edged world'. listen and search your Heart, the Child stirs to tell us It lives.
Danny, what you are doing is not spiritual awakening but intellectual gymnastics. Your mind is leading you around in circles. Wrong, right, objective, subjective, absolute. They're all words and judgements.
If someone stabbed me in the heart I would die. This is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH.
No, it isn't. This shows, then, that you are missing the whole point. What about eternal life? What about the infinite Being and oneness of the universe? Why is that all gone out the window when someone stabs you?
Do you not see the cognitive dissonance displayed in my words?
Well, yes.

If you are interested in an intellectual exploration of life and death, good versus evil, I recommend "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra.

I'd like to leave you with a quote from an important saint

"And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
there will be an answer" - John


......... Paul, George and Ringo
I have lived with several zen masters - all of them cats. - Eckhart Tolle

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treasuretheday
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by treasuretheday » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:30 pm

Hi Maire! High fives! Fist bumps! I loved your post. Excellent.

I couldn't agree more that Sandy's quotes from the Bible are bandied about for Spirit-filled, heart-felt, Good reason! :)
Life itself is the proper binge.
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treasuretheday
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance & Morality

Post by treasuretheday » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:04 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote:Poll:December 16, 2013 - A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God.....
I realize there are statistics that supposedly reveal something about what people believe and how they practice their faith. I don't find much there in those numbers of interest or value.

I sit face to face with an individual person and let them tell me what it means to them to be a Christian, a Buddhist, an atheist, or whatever. I throw away the book, the statistics, and the well-researched articles and listen. One person at a time, I love to be taught... for people to tell me how God speaks to them, or doesn't speak to them.

That is the only kind of "research" that counts in this arena, imo.

My "methodology" is approaching people with curiosity and interest. I hear all the time... "Oh, you're a ---- I got your number!" No we don't have anyone's number. There is no statistical measurement that can begin to get at the complexity, the shadings and nuances that people share as they speak about their spirituality or faith. There are a million stories in the naked city.
Life itself is the proper binge.
-Julia Child

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