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Author Topic: How could I be so wrong??? Another homosexuality thread, I suppose...
Javert Hugo
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quote:
The only reason people still have for believing that homosexuality is a sin is that they want to.
Bob, this is SO not true.

You can't claim that you know why everyone beleives what they do.It's a stereotype, and it's a wildly inaccurate and unfair one.

At the minimum, Old Testament scripture, NT scripture, modern scripture, and modern revelation all say it is a sin. That's hardly "because they want to."

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Shan
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Pfft. Zing! Ding ding ding ding ding. Zgator scores!

(Sorry, Bob - while I agree with your belief, it was too much temptation to resist!)

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Shan
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Javert: These scriptures point out many other things they say is sin, too. Which are not carried out, currently practiced, believed . . .

Hmmm - if my husband dies, I get first dibs at marrying his brother if I wasn't "gotten with seed" . . . hmmm . . . .

Like, don't look at or talk to or get near a menstruating woman lest you become corrupted. They have to go confine themselves to solitude . . .

hey! I like that one! That's what women need today! A little break . . . some solitude . . .

Tsk.

Interpretation matters more than a little, I think - [Smile]

(Edited to address comment and fix a spelling boo-boo.)

[ January 06, 2004, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: Shan ]

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pooka
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quote:
And everyone claims that there is an objective truth out there and they have the key to it
Not all LDS may agree with me [Wink] but our truth is based on it being changeable. 10 years ago, there was a sense, at least among young progressives like myself, that the LDS church might do something to validate homosexuality. Keep in mind that 17 years ago, the president of the church was a former Republican cabinet member, and it was the height of the "you have to be a Republican to be a good Mormon" sentiment.

Then we went through many years without any direct input from the prophet, because of advanced age. Then... when was it? Has Hinckley been prophet for 10 years [Eek!] We get this new, dynamic young prophet. One of his counselors is a card carrying democrat. There is a lot of agitation going on from gays wondering if there will be a place for them, since spirit is more important than what you happen to be doing with your body. The most visible excommunications are for BYU professors being excessively parochial. In this climate, a soft headed young person like myself thought it might happen.

But there was a statement to the contrary issued. I was upset at first. But I decided to exercise faith in the matter. After a couple of years I had a dream that made it all clear to me. But I know it was only for me, with my personal situation. I don't really worry about the scriptural proofs of homosexuality being a sin. I know that I still have many sins in my own life, and we are all doing our best.

A recent insight I've had that may be more sympathetic is that I feel an excessive focus on sex causes a lot of misery in the form of people who stay in abusive relationships, which is much more of a problem for heterosexuals. And I don't have a problem will looking at folks and recognizing that is what's happening. But I don't try to drum it into their skulls, because I'm pretty sure it would make matters worse.

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Chris Bridges
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"At the minimum, Old Testament scripture, NT scripture, modern scripture, and modern revelation all say it is a sin. That's hardly "because they want to." "

Ah, now we're back in familiar homosexual thread territory...

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Jacare Sorridente
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quote:
The only reason people still have for believing that homosexuality is a sin is that they want to. This allows them to ignore the bizarre inconsistencies in interpreting the OT scriptural references out of their context, and the problems of emphasizing what Paul says over what Jesus says.
I'll throw in a bit or two while I'm here.

I think that one of the major if not THE major purposes of Christianity is to develop a stable community where people can be their very best selves. When most folks look at the commandments they view them solely in terms of "how does this affect me?" In Christianity one's salvation is a very personal kinda thing and so that is how we generally think of all the commandments- what I can or can't do.

I believe, however, that the primary reason for many commandments is only tangentially related to personal salvation but is instead geared toward developing a stable community.

Take the law of chastity. Obviously there is nothing wrong with sex in and of itself because (most) Christian churches think that sex within marriage is a grand thing. Even having sex with multiple partners isn't bad if we accept that God sanctioned the polygyny of men like Abraham.

So why the stricture against extra-marital sex? I think that it is all about forming stable communities with families as the foundation. Although doubtless many will disagree, I think that the Christian teachings against homosexuality can be seen in the same light. It isn't so much about sex as it is about defining a family composed of husband, wife and children as the basic unit of society.

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Javert Hugo
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Chris:

Yes, it is familiar territory. But people don't believe homosexuality is sin merely because "they want to."

With all those things pointing to one direction, it is far more likely that they are dimissed and people believe it is NOT a sin because they want to, so they look for a reason to ignore it.

Never mind that in many protestant churches, pre-marital sex is barely being seen as a sin. I have a friend who was Unitarian minister, and when she started living with her now-husband but then boyfriend, there was not a murmer either from her congregation or from what authorities exist as such in the church. That actually surprised her, because she didn't agree with what she was doing. It's part of the reason she became disenchanted with that religion.

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dkw
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The discussion of whether something can be a sin for one person but not another reminds me of one of Wesleys more famous sermons. It is part of a discussion about employment, and what types of employment are suitable for a Christian.

quote:
There are yet others which many pursue with perfect innocence, without hurting either their body or mind; And yet perhaps you cannot: Either they may entangle you in that company which would destroy your soul; and by repeated experiments it may appear that you cannot separate the one from the other; or there may be an idiosyncrasy, -- a peculiarity in your constitution of soul, (as there is in the bodily constitution of many,) by reason whereof that employment is deadly to you, which another may safely follow. So I am convinced, from many experiments, I could not study, to any degree of perfection, either mathematics, arithmetic, or algebra, without being a Deist, if not an Atheist: And yet others may study them all their lives without sustaining any inconvenience. None therefore can here determine for another; but every man must judge for himself, and abstain from whatever he in particular finds to be hurtful to his soul.
I always got a giggle out of that one. And at the same time Im relieved that JW did not just decided that mathematics were the work of the devil. He left room for people like me, who see in mathematics a window on the divine, even though he himself could never see it that way.

Bob, I would agree that your earlier definition could be included in the one I gave.

Shan, Im not sure how well the paper stands alone since it was for a class it responds to a lot of particular authors and uses a lot of theological short-hand. (It would have to the assignment was in light of your core commitment summarize your views on theological method, sources, norms, authority, God, humanity, sin, salvation, the church, the sacraments, eschatology and the Christian life. 12-15 pages. [Eek!] ) But if you want to read it Id be happy to send it to you.

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Farmgirl
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quote:
The only reason people still have for believing that homosexuality is a sin is that they want to. This allows them to ignore the bizarre inconsistencies in interpreting the OT scriptural references out of their context, and the problems of emphasizing what Paul says over what Jesus says
dkw -- get back in here and help us out with this!

I disagree with Bob's statement, but I'm having a very difficult time putting it into words that makes sense on a written forum. Everytime I write it, I see how some of the things I say can be taken in a way I'm not meaning..... <sigh>

FG

[edited for spelling]

[ January 06, 2004, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: Farmgirl ]

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Javert Hugo
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"what Jesus says"

Which is nothing. Are you saying silence implies consent?

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Farmgirl
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Ha -- dkw posted when I was still writing my plea for her to help!

FG

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dkw
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Kat, the UUs are not a protestant denomination. In fact, they (as a denomination) are not even Christian, although many of their members are. (That's not my judgement, it's the formal position of the denomination. Some members consider themselves Christian, others don't.)

So don't use them as the example when you're talking about liberal protestants, please?

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Chris Bridges
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Now I've got too many directions to go. Do I argue Javert's opinions on homosexuality as a religious sin, or discuss community building with Jacare about how providing a social structure for homosexuals would strengthen society, or go back to writing new hymns for the Church of Bob. Decisions, decisions...
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Shan
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I would still love to read it, dkw - thanks for the offer!
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pooka
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From the Post "Partway Gay" article:
quote:
In the eight years she has been following these women, almost two-thirds of them have changed labels. "They've gone from unlabeled to bisexual, lesbian to bisexual, lesbian to 'heterosexual and getting married but may be attracted to women in the future,' " she says. Another word she heard was "heteroflexible." [

"The reason one person ended up gay might be very different from another person," she continues. "One might know at 4, another at 30."

Diamond's research, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, among other publications, confirms the experience of Diane Elze, who has counseled gay and lesbian youth for two decades.

"Women who come out as lesbians but lived most of their lives as heterosexuals -- does that mean they were always lesbian? I don't think so," says Elze, assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. "Probably we're going to find out there are multiple pathways to homosexuality and that could vary by gender."

So I again advance my belief that the "gay only, gay always" lobby is oppressive of women.
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Javert Hugo
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dkw, I didn't know Unitarians were not considered to be part of Protestant Christianity. I apologize.
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dkw
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No problem kat, some of them are, but some of the ones who aren't get downright testy about it. Most confusing religious community I've ever worked with.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
After all, Jesus sort of did provide a clue when he said outright that all the commandments flow from the first two. If you do those two right you aren't going to violate the others.

Seriously, I having a Back to the Future thing going on here. If it wasn't for kat's implacable emnity I'd feel like people all have a filter that erases my posts before you read them. People can read this, right? I thought that I had demonstrated that canonical Christian scripture explicitly states that love is the basis of all law, but no one, on any side of this issue, has seemed to me to have even read it. I'm not (or at least trying not to) whine about being ignored here. I'm really trying to resolve whether, with Ralphie AWOL and kat being what she is (and appologies to dkw), I show even bother posting the little bit that I do here. I feel like the tree falling in the forest with no one around.

Of course, in direct contradiction to that, I'm going to post some more.

---

Farmgirl,
quote:
homosexuality is a sin (that the SCRIPTURES say that, not me)
There are quite a few Christians (such as dkw) and some non-Christians who still study the Bible (like me) who believe that the Bible does not necessarily say that homosexuality is a sin. In fact, I'd argue that the evidence is on the side of it not even being considered in New Testament writings. This pops up every once in a while. I think that the last time it did was here.

---

Tres,
I'm with Chris here. I fully believe that I am a moral relativist and yet I regard your definition (and the definition coming from the objectivist western philosophical tradition) as being absurd. For one thing, you're turning a continuum into a dichotomy. Absolutism/relatism isn't an either or situation; it decribes instead a range of possible views. I could just as easily say that, if you don't accept that there is no standard of moral judgement, then you must believe that only actions themselves, rather than any situational considerations, define morality. In this case, killing someone in self-defense is equivilent to killing someone to steal their sneakers. That's the extreme range of absolutism.

Cocommitant with this fault, you also severely misrepresent the complexity of moral relativism. I'm not going to restate what Chris has already said so well, except to reemphasize what I think is the most important point. Moral relativism, at it's most basic, is the idea that, in order to completely know the morality of an action, you need to understand the entire context that it took place in. Thus, absolute moral judgement is theoretically possible. The only precondition is omniscience. Since I don't think that any human being can ever know all that goes into an action, I reject absolutism as a possibility. However, this leads to an existential-type crisis on the order of not being able to be sure that my senses accurately represent the world. Just because I have no justifiable method of determining morality, doesn't mean that I can survive not doing so. Some guiding system seems necessary. I think that it is because of this that so many relativists (at least in my acquaintence) are utilitarians.

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Javert Hugo
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Dang it, this one I would take responsibility for. Please don't go. I'll be quiet if that's what it takes.

[ January 06, 2004, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: Javert Hugo ]

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MrSquicky
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dkw,
If I didn't have a philosophical system that regarded conversion as meaningless, I'd have to give serious thought to converting to what you got.

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Suneun
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I love the Unitarians. So quirky and neat =)

I was in one of their churches, and a big carved door leading to one of the halls had something written on it like, 'Things we hold to be truths now may be falsehoods in the future'

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MrSquicky
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kat,
Don't worry, my decision to leave (which I seem to be making in stages) won't depend on you. Your responses really don't bother me.

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TomDavidson
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"So why the stricture against extra-marital sex? I think that it is all about forming stable communities with families as the foundation."

All the more reason to endorse same-sex marriage, of course. [Smile]

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Bob_Scopatz
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Mr Squicky, I used your post to make sure I had it right. Sorry I didn't give attribution.

- Bob

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MrSquicky
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Bob,
I'm really not trying to bitch about not getting credit or attention. I was quite honestly unsure if people even read what I wrote. If people do, that's great.

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Javert Hugo
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Squick, you've been weeping that no one reads your posts for YEARS now.
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Bob_Scopatz
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zgator...I missed your prior post. LOL!

I believe that others believe homosexuality is a sin primarily because they want to. The scriptural basis for the belief is tenuous and requires reading OT passages out of context (divorced from other supposedly equally bad sins that are really cultural norms -- like don't eat shellfish-- and display the ignorant superstition of the forefathers in all their glory -- see the passages on menstruation, for example). As for the NT testament passages, people seem to really like Paul's statements, but miss a fundamental point, it seems to me, about Jesus' mission that I think even Paul missed -- having not actually been there or met Jesus except as a blinding flash of light on the road after His death.

I mean really, why is Saul/Paul considered such a reliable source? He was at odds with the other apostles from the get-go on many things, not just conversion of gentiles. It's like he's our favorite because he was the one who made such a point of converting non-Jews. Without him, there might be far fewer Christians who weren't Jews first. Or Peter's dream might've come anyway and the mission to go beyond the Jews would've started then. Who knows.

But Paul is a weird guy to me and someone I would think twice about following anywhere, let alone into faith.

Remember folks, God may not have been the driving force deciding what became Canonical Scripture too. Maybe the closest Gospels to the truth came from sources now lost or at least stuck on the sidelines in non-Canon scripture.

Wouldn't we be better off using our intellect? Paul actually says some places that what he's expressing is "his opinion." Suppose he just forgot to say that a few times where it matters most today in his letters? Those letters were written for specific people at a specific time. Maybe he'd spoken to them directly about how he was always giving his opinion unless he was quoting scripture (which he also took very seriously, of course).

Did Paul believe he was writing Scripture? I don't think so.

So why take it as such?

And how does a letter we know is from a man become the literal word of God that we then take as providing proof for all time of what is and is not a sin?

[ January 06, 2004, 12:39 PM: Message edited by: Bob_Scopatz ]

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Javert Hugo
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So your belief that it isn't a sin rests on your dismissal of Paul.
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Noemon
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[Edit--this was intended to appear above Bob's most recent post; the first line is intended to be a continuation of what kat is saying in her response to Squick]

...and if you leave, it won't be the first time you've done so.

Squick, you've been here long enough to know that we *all* feel like we're being ignored, right? Everyone, except maybe Ralphie and Bob Scopatz, goes through periods where they feel like they don't know why they bother posting, since no one ever reads or responds to their stuff anyway. What people are forgetting, when they fall into this mindset, is just how often they read a post, think about it at some length, and then for one reason or another don't respond directly to it. You may not do that yourself, but if you don't you're in the minority.

Just because I'm able to type this, by the way, doesn't mean that I haven't fallen into exactly the same trap myself. It's easy to feel ignored here.

I hope that you stick around this time. If you go, I expect you'll be back. I'll be glad to see you return when you do, and so will many, many other people here.

[ January 06, 2004, 12:47 PM: Message edited by: Noemon ]

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Bob_Scopatz
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Kat, you read 1/2 of the post...

There are two main scriptural references cited to bolster people's belief that homosexuality is a sin. One comes from the old testament and has bizarre context that should not be ignored.

The other is from Paul whom, I believe, was not always clear in stating when he was telling us his own opinion and when he was citing something he knew to be "of God." To me, that would almost ipso facto disqualify his letters as scripture. If the author says "here's my opinion" and you go ahead and turn it into scripture anyway, aren't you ignoring Paul's own testimony about what he wrote? Of necessity, you are ascribing to it at least some Divine inspiration if not actual God-breathed source equal to what is claimed for the rest of scripture.

I find that completely baffling. If the acknowledged author isn't even claiming that status (and why would he, he's writing a letter to a bunch of people in Corinth or Ephesus, etc.?) why should I?

And in giving Paul's letters equal status with the rest of scripture (including words ascribed to the man we believe to be the Son of God) aren't we devaluing the rest of Scripture. I mean, if we know Paul was just stating his own opinion and not claiming Divine inspiration, to then say his writings are the same as Jesus' teachings is just being stubborn.

So, knock off the stuff from Leviticus and give Paul his due as a enlightened man who truthfully told us he was stating his own opinions and what is left in Scripture that bolsters a claim that homosexuality is an important sin we should all get wrapped around the axle about?

Aren't we allowed to exercise a little common sense when it comes to Scripture? Just because some Romans almost hundreds of centuries ago figured this was the set of books we should all agree on doesn't mean they were right for all time.

Surely the LDS has a handle on that concept.

So if y'all can write new scripture from time to time, I don't see why I can't argue that some of the old "scripture" was included by mistake.

It's all done by flawed sinful men anyway, right?

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Bokonon
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What Noemon said.

-Bok

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dkw
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Shan, I just sent the paper to the address in your profile. But my e-mail's been a little flakey lately, so let me know if you don't get it.
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Shan
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Squicky - I've pointed out that very "commandment" many times, but it obviously takes all the fun out of the argument. I still think we ought to resurrect the menstruate in private deal, though . . . [Big Grin]

dkw - thanks! received! looking forward to reading it . . . [Smile]

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Javert Hugo
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quote:
So if y'all can write new scripture from time to time, I don't see why I can't argue that some of the old "scripture" was included by mistake.
Bob, you don't believe in modern revelation, right?
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Farmgirl
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quote:
Wouldn't we be better off using our intellect?
Okay, if you are going to throw out scripture in teaching my children (that was the original idea of the original post) about what is right/wrong, then we are probably just going to go round in circles on this thread. Obviously I do consider Paul to be a scriptural authority, but I'm not going to debate that in this thread.

So -- if you are tossing out scripture and just "using intellect" (as you say above) -- and in that way discarding the use of the word "sin" then we just have to ask this -- would a creator considered it to be "natural" or "normal" for there to be homosexual behavior? However, if we are just going to get back into THAT argument, there are plenty of old threads in the archives we can revive to box around those issues...

Farmgirl

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Tresopax
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quote:
Moral relativism, at it's most basic, is the idea that, in order to completely know the morality of an action, you need to understand the entire context that it took place in.
You can give your beliefs whatever name you want, but that's not the moral relativism I was complaining about, and it's not the thing that philosophers and ethicists normally call moral relativism. The moral relativism I'm talking about, at it's most basic, is the idea that the morality of an action is determined relative to the person or society judging that action.

Here's a couple more links I've found to the definition:
This one from Encyclopedia Britannica explicitly refutes the suggestion that moral relativism is simply saying morality depends on circumstances:

quote:

Philosophical view that what is right or wrong and good or bad is not absolute but variable and relative, depending on the person, circumstances, or social situation.

Rather than claiming that an action's rightness or wrongness can depend on the circumstances, or that people's beliefs about right and wrong are relative to their social conditioning, it claims (in one common form) that what is truly right depends solely on what the individual or the society thinks is right.

Here's one from a professor at VMI that has a nice summary:

quote:
Relativism is the theory that the truth is different for different people (not just that different people believe different things to be true). Ethical relativism is the theory that the truth about what is right and what is wrong is different for different people.

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Chris Bridges
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Then I'll have to come up with a different name for my beliefs, then, because those don't fit at all. The definitions stated lead inexorably to the conclusion that ultimately nothing is right or wrong, everything is okay somewhere. I don't believe that.

But I also don't believe in an absolute morality that ignores conditions, situations, and motives. So where does that put me? Applied ethicist?

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dkw
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contextualist
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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
would a creator considered it to be "natural" or "normal" for there to be homosexual behavior?
Who am I to second guess what the creator can and can't do? Besides, didn't the creator create the homosexuals?

Anyway, I realize I've departed from the original post in that I'm no longer concerned about what you teach your children -- hey, they're your kids. As long as you teach them to stay off my lawn, we'll be great neighbors.

[Big Grin]

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dkw
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::looks up from setting up croquet set on Bobs lawn::

Hmm? Oh.

::takes wickets and goes home::

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BannaOj
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Y'know my front yard would be quite good for croquet, since it has such a huge setback from the street. I guess we will have to wait until it isn't covered with 6 inches of snow though!

AJ

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Tresopax
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You know, I've never understood the obsession with lawns - they're made to be stomped into nonexistence!
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Bob_Scopatz
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Dang, you're going to hell for sure!

<pulls out lawn darts>

Hey Chris, ready for your favorite childhood game?

[Big Grin]

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Chris Bridges
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Woo hoo! Here, let me close my eyes first...
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Sopwith
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Lawn darts, a game best played with sobriety, but never forgotten if played with drunkeness...

[Laugh] [Roll Eyes] [Eek!] [Hail] [Cry]

<that scar will never heal>

But hey, it makes a nice yard aereator.

(tried to make an explanatory cartoon with smileys... not very successfully)

[ January 06, 2004, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: Sopwith ]

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Chris Bridges
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For lack of a better, I'm going with "situational ethicist" for now.

Situational ethics (American Heritage Dictionary): A system of ethics that evaluates acts in light of their situational context rather than by the application of moral absolutes.

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Bob_Scopatz
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I prefer the word "plethics" to describe it. It is a combination of the word "plastic," which we all know are wonderful and useful products that enrich our lives, and the word "ethics" which is a word that resonates better with a "pl" sound in front of it.

Plethics is the self-contained, but malleable system of philosophy that teaches us that the eye of the beholder is often suffering from macular degeneration and cataracts and should be mistrusted at all times. What truly matters is the brain of the beholder which, through constant abuse since before birth, has turned to mush. Mush is a good thing to store in plastic containers, so not to worry. This is how we keep our ethics fresh -- we store them away in burp-sealed environments to be brought out whenever it is absolutely necessary such as when children ask a difficult social question or the coctail party banter has ranged too close to the illegal deal we struck that afternoon with a swarthy man named "Shotglass." (Who, by the way, you should never, on pain of death, call "Jigger." It'd be your last mistake, let me tell you!)

Oh yeah, back to plethics. It has a closely related area of thought dealing with the gross stupidity of the universe. That's called plethicks and is practiced by practically everyone at some point in their lives. Some more often than others.

Plethics can be very rewarding for the true afficionado (whatever the heck that is). To be a master plethicist, one need only appear to change ones mind while in fact holding steadfastly to the idea that it isn't ones mind that changed, but the surrounding world in which your actions and thoughts are interpreted. See? Exactly. Plethicists are the rock around which all other things revolve in utter confusion, in a shambling gait reminiscent of the "Thorazine shuffle."

<check's "Thorazine shuffle" off the life list of words and phrases to drop casually into a conversation or BB post.>

All right, you may ask, what has this got to do with the subject of this thread. Well, if you have to ask, you must not know the answer. So I'll give you a rhetorical answer (which is the much less successful second fiddle to the rhetorical question). My answer is, I don't know. Unsatisfactory? Perhaps. Or maybe you're just looking at my answer through the filter of your own plethics.

No sin in that.

But then again, plethics teaches us that there is either no sin at all, or that everything is a sin, even the act of atonement. I find myself sort of in the middle on that one.

Oh well. You've had enough, I can tell. So I will close by saying that you've all been wonderful to me in this thread and I regret that I will not be allowed to post on Hatrack for as long as a full week. I will be away on a business trip and I'm not sure I'll be able to connect to the internet in the interim. Or even in the hotel room.

The person to whom I've proxied my slice of Hatrack has been instructed to keep you amused to the best of his/her ability. I don't hold out much hope though.

Catch you on the flipside.

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BannaOj
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[ROFL] [ROFL] [ROFL] [ROFL]
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Shan
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My name is Shannon and I'm a recovering plethicist.

Bob, will you be my sponsor?

[Razz]

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Bob_Scopatz
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Shan, you are too far gone to recover. But interventions and deprogramming sessions are fun, so we've scheduled one for Tuesday a week from now under the half-dead hollow sycamore tree. You know the one.

Bring wine.

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