Comment on Academic Freedom Strikes Again! by george.
Re: Moral equivalency
“As to the emergent evolving topic, St. Teresa expressing agnostic questions, the diocesan tribunal in annunciating her beatification justly gave the greater weight to the divine principle of her doing miraculously so much for the least. To counter a question with a question, was her “journey” to be compared to that of St. John the Baptist who, having declared Jesus the very Messiah, in the darkness of the dungeon needed revivification? To that question I’ll not be surprised at any answer, nor nettled. I expect to be fulsomely (definition #2) delighted.”
The answer: ( which seems to reflect the good Dr. Pitman’s position as well)
Matthew 25:40 – New International Version (NIV)
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The Utilitarian ethical rationale ( thanks for lobbing me the ethics softball on this one, Pard ; -)
Lots of people martyr themselves for religious causes of all sorts. The worst examples are those that blow themselves up, or poison their flock with Kool – Aid, or burn their compound Koresh style, etc. for their God. A false equivalency? Perhaps ,but doing good transcends politics, religious belief and narcissism in my estimation. Those that do the most good and for the most others, especially when there is great self sacrifice, should be revered on earth and beyond…..?
Don’t know if that response will either surprise or delight you but that is more an issue for Aesthetics rather than moral philosophy.
Later good Pard.
george Also Commented
Very well stated. The effect of the Bible and Christian/Judeo ethics upon society has been profound and a giant leap forward for mankind. It is the practice of those ethics – hence sin, however one may define it – that is sorely lacking at times.
As an amateur moral philosopher I am fascinated by the source of conscience, or lack thereof, in people. Your belief is very similar to Kant’s categorical imperative, his based on pure reason. Kant as well had a religious upbringing as which I suspect influenced his thinking. Your thinking is profound and of the highest moral order in my humble opinion.
I think there are genetic and cultural factors that also influence a person’s goodness or lack thereof. I have experienced very good people that have come from the worst of families and very bad people that have come from the best of families. Why does that occur? Are some born without a conscience? Are some born with such a conscience that it will overcome any evil obstacle? Are we all faced with the daily choice of freely making moral decisions of our own independent free will, notwithstanding intrinsic dispositions for good or evil? On this latter point I agree with you that we are free moral agents. Sin is our choice, not our ancestral burden.
Irrespective of religious belief I submit these discussions are important for gauging and improving our collective moral behaviour. I know at times that my friend Wes – and indeed I consider him my very wise, talented and principled friend – thinks I am just tumbling along the agnostic prairie, or acting as a benign agent provocateur, without serious purpose. This is not the case. It is to get closer to the truth, partially through dialectical means. This forum is a marvelous vehicle for that!
And I hope this will please your Christian hearts. Both of you have helped me considerably to gain a better understanding of faith, from your doctrinal and personal perspectives.