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Moral values...some questions

by Steven Haninger / November 5, 2004 6:00 AM PST

Is it probable that joining a religious organization or going to church is not the cause of one developing "moral values" but that having moral values might cause on to want to be part of a religious group and go to church?

Is it probable that many who don't go to any church share many or most of the moral values of those who profess certain religious beliefs?

Is it probable that some who have grown to despise religious organizations cast aside their own moral values in an effort to clense themselves of being seen as religious?

Is it probable that some, if they found that a political candidate they despised ate Kelloggs Cereals everyday for breakfast, would search their pantries and rid their own homes of the brand?

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Re: Moral values...some questions
by netsky / November 5, 2004 6:04 AM PST

yes to all points.

what a great essay!

I say less now, here, because you've said ever so much more.


and loving thanks from me to you.

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Re: Yes to all points
by jonah jones / November 5, 2004 2:39 PM PST


#Is it probable that some, if they found that a political candidate they despised ate Kelloggs Cereals everyday for breakfast, would search their pantries and rid their own homes of the brand?#

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Them of SH's essay= human version Grape Nuts 'gone off'
by netsky / November 6, 2004 12:11 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Yes to all points

like the "freedom fries" brigades

And that commercially fronted shove to replace all Heinze ketchups with HUNTS.

all grunts and no grins then

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I think most who do not go to church are surfing on the
by Kiddpeat / November 5, 2004 6:04 AM PST

wave created by people of faith in the past. They just don't realize it, or choose not to acknowledge the debt.

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I agree that society in general is surfing the wave created
by Ziks511 / November 6, 2004 8:15 AM PST

by the moral values worked out over centuries by people of faith and by people of conscience who may NOT have been people of faith. A number of the founding fathers were atheists but WERE people of conscience. Faith is not an absolute litmus test of right action. And as seen in Iraq and elsewhere faith can be a cloak for inhumane and despicable acts. Nor do I find this President to be a particularly moral or upright man. if he were then perhaps there would have been fewer Enrons and Tycos and all the other corrupt big contributers who knew they were immune not just from prosecution but from INVESTIGATION under the current regime. The only reason they surfaced is because they went belly up.

Rob Boyter

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(NT) (NT) ?
by Dragon / November 10, 2004 3:00 AM PST
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it makes full sense to me
by netsky / November 11, 2004 4:22 AM PST
In reply to: (NT) ?

he editorializes. and whilst i agree with the editorial about President Bush--- which of the discourse puzzles you or vexes you, presumably other than the Bush stuff?

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Re: Moral values...some questions
by Dan McC / November 5, 2004 6:05 AM PST

Yes, very.


Not very likely without some underlying issue.



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Re: Moral values...some questions
by Angeline Booher / November 5, 2004 6:57 AM PST

Wow, Steve! You asked some doozies there!

I'll start with what I thought of first.

Going to church does not mean that having what are generally agreed to be moral values is guaranteed. Not even being a leader of a congregation, like Jimmy Swaggart.

Yes, I think that non-religious people can have moral values.

There have been organized boycotts against products, as when some groups object to a TV show (broadcast- not cable), so boycott the sponsor(s). A call to boycott Disneyland and Disney World was made in the past year. And I got a bunch of emails this election asking for a boycott of Heinz products because of Mrs. Kerry.

For someone to cast off their past religious teachings is possible, but I suspect it is done more in rebellion than in cleansing.

Even for the pious, living a completely moral life is very hard. One may not commit a felony, but might covet what their neighbor has, experienced "impure" thoughts, and struggle with forgiveness.

The question remains as to how moral values are defined. There are the generally accepted ones, but there are some others that are not. For instance, a person may think that drinking any alcohol is sinful, while another views it OK in moderation. One person thinks that dancing is immoral, the other does not.

My own were formed by my parents, and strengthened by my church.

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re: Moral values...some questions
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / November 5, 2004 7:40 AM PST

Hi, Angeline.

The problem comes when those who consider drinking or dancing immoral pass laws to prohibit those who don't from drinking or dancing. Most of us now accept that such laws are foolish -- but why are many willing to extend the same freedom of choice to issues such as sexualk conduct between (or even among) consenting adults, or <shudder> abortion? The principle is the same -- one's moral values are one's own, and should not be imposed on others without compelling reason. But many are unwilling to do that -- usually for religious reasons, even while preaching that God gave man free will...

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re: Moral values...some questions
by Angeline Booher / November 5, 2004 8:18 AM PST

Hi, DaveK,

When one looks over our history, though, we have made strides. Happy We don't burn witches any more, there have been great strides made in Civil Rights, and some growth of ecumenical spirit .

"Blue Laws" bring smiles now, but when they were enacted, they were quite serious. I recall that the drug stores in Kansas City placed ropes around anything that was not health related on Sundays. Shoot- I remember when department stores weren't open on Sundays. And the only place open all night was a White Castle Hamburger.

So, have we "kept the Sabbath Day Holy"? I guess that is another moral question. But with today's schedules, that is about the only time a lot of people can shop.

What prohibitions might be placed would probably not impact me due to my age. But they would my kids and grandkids. I believe I know what my kids believe, and suspect they pass it on to theirs. When push comes to shove, those matters would be between them and God. Prohibitions can be changed, and I suspect the pendulum will swing again one day.

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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(NT) (NT) Do you agree then than abortion is the same as 'blue la
by Kiddpeat / November 5, 2004 2:55 PM PST
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Re: Moral values...some questions
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / November 7, 2004 12:26 PM PST

Hi, Angeline.

Yes, we have made great progress -- but that progress is now threatened as never before.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Problem is that what is professed is not what is
by gearup / November 5, 2004 8:22 AM PST

practiced. The distance from the pulpit to the bedroom is greater than most want to admit. But it does make many feel good about themselves to indulge in religious ritual even though they lead adulterous lives,or worse!

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The church as a support group sometimes.
by Steven Haninger / November 5, 2004 8:58 AM PST

Problem: I drink too much. I should not but I cannot stop. I need help...maybe with the right support. I will join AA. Maybe that will help me not to drink

Problem: I "sin". I should not but I cannot stop. Maybe I just need the right support. I will join a church. Maybe that will help me not to sin.

The reality of the above examples is that these sometimes work and sometimes do not. Another reality is that some do not drink too much or "sin" too much and need no external support. Now, should those not needing (or perhaps, needing but not having) such support, feel justified in searching out and highlighting hypocrasies they see in others?

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How did Washington feel about about church running state?
by netsky / November 5, 2004 10:29 AM PST

Slight tangent perhaps.

A couple of weeks ago found this fairly neutral site about pledgeofallegiance history and controversy.

A fairly lengthy quote from that page http://pledgeqanda.com/

does it add anything to the points you might wish to make? reply not needed unless you see something of interest.


James Madison (1751 - 1836), the "Father of the US Constitution" and the first ten amendments, was on the style committee that wrote the final draft of the Constitution There was no mention of "God" in the wording of the Constitution. The Constitutional Convention of 1787, where Madison was the intellectual leader, did not have formal prayers or religious sermons at its sessions. Yet. Madison was well trained in Christian theology. As a young man, he had trained for the Presbyterian ministry.Why did Madison oppose any reference to the official use of "God" in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights?

Madison believed strongly in the principle of separation of church and state. Madison had a long history of fighting for separation of church and state. He opposed the laws in colonial Virginia which authorized governmental officials to arrest Baptist ministers for the "crime of heresy." In the 1780's in the Virginia House of Delegates, he led the opposition to Patrick Henry and others seeking to reestablish the Episcopal church as the official state church in Virginia. (See "Christianity and the Constitution" by John Eidsmore.)

Patrick Henry sought a compromise with Madison by which the Virginia taxpayers would support the "Christian church, denomination or communion of Christians." Madison defeated it. Henry then tried to pass a law that Virginia would support "teachers of the Christian religion" - again defeated by Madison. In 1787 Madison helped design a US Constitution which would support religious and secular diversity in a secular constitutional federated representative democratic republic.

George Washington (1732 - 1799), the "father of his country" apparently concurred with Madison's reasoning. He was President of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (May 25 - Sept 17, 1787) and chaired its meetings. He apparently never protested the lack of the word, "God" in the US Constitution or the lack of public prayers at its sessions. He referred rarely to "God" or "Jesus" in his writings but preferred the word, "Providence."

Yet, Washington was a deist who was very religious. Washington's Farewell Addressee to the people of the United States said in 1796. "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports... Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure. reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Washington believed strongly in the separation of church and state. In an address to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, he said: "It is now no more that tolerance is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgenced of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens. . ."

Both Washington and Madison apparently had concurred with the original national motto, "E Pluribus Unum," selected by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. Adams was a liberal Congregationalist and Jefferson and Franklin were both deists. "E Pluribus Uoom," was a quote from Saint Augustine's "Confessions," Book Four. In 1956 Congress replaced this national motto with "In God We Trust." This motto was suggested by a Protestant minister during the Civil War. It was placed first on a two cent coin, in about 1865. Today both mottos are on our coins, but only "In God We Trust" is on our paper currency.


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for me the key thought is this extraction of W's words:
by netsky / November 5, 2004 10:42 AM PST

"Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure. reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

As a non-militating atheist I see Washington as MY friend. Yet he makes this point that many or most humans cannot be relied upon to lead sufficiently moral lives without the anchorage of some sort of diciplined observance of God.

I would concur with that point. However.... we see much deception, usury of souls and donations- much 'corruption' in various institutions run by Christian-guided people in this Western world. That is to say, even the moral compass of Christ does not guarantee moral behavior.

To me the greatest morality is also the simplest: do no harm that you would not have done onto you. And the greatest GOOD is of course, the more-proactive Golden Rule itself!

Some observant Christians might slight me for my secular-view ways. One here even states his belief that my kind are merely riding the coattails of Jesus' original thoughts.

In a very superficial sense, my posture of the past week would appear to be exactly that!

However, so many more times i've said that these guiding principles of the great religions, and even the non-theistic-flavored religions like Buddhism, are reallly-- pretty much geared towards the same end.

Can't we all just get along? NO, never, it seems. I wonder tho, that if Jimmy Swaggart were more of REAL Christian this task of mutual co-existance would be much easier.

YOU KNOW- that guy would like to MURDER me and my kind. So he tells his flock. And he's a fairly 'mainstream' of the far religious right. There are, as we know, men far nearer to wolves, pulling the pelt of some Lord-ish lamb over their shoulders, and preaching nothing much so good as the measured disciplines of a Madison or the moderated decencies of Washington.

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A short response for now
by Steven Haninger / November 5, 2004 11:20 AM PST

Profundity is gone for the moment. A good nights rest should help. Some say their best thoughts come to them in the unconscious state and disappear upon awakening. Sounds like a good cop out to me. Much discussion after this election seems to be about religion, morality, and its impositon by some on others. I am finding the whole concept too broad and can make no conclusions but I have much less fear of morality and what I see as otherwise. The difficulty is in defining and explaining it faithful to my own practice. But, to start, I have taken a question asked similarly to this, "Was is God that created man or was it man that created God?". Using the same process in the linking of religious practice to morality, I can ask, "Did religion create morality or did morality create religion?". And, for the moment, my response to either is, "Does it really matter that find the answer?"

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i see and will wait
by netsky / November 5, 2004 11:30 AM PST

Quite clear to me anyway, but i will wait until you are refreshed and if you will put up the specific questions again streamlined of the preamble then they will be easier for the general readers- the silent readers i am thinking about now; it will make it easier for them to follow.

i hope that does not come across wrongly but i see your every point and this amazes me that we two so very different can find a chord so resonately singing by what we piano tuners call and know as 'sympathetic resonance'. In this case at least of basic philosophical thought: the one man a theist and this other man not a theist. Mutual opposites. Yet not really, not at all.

Fascinating; to me, that is.

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Sin, as described by Jesus, does not consist mainly
by Kiddpeat / November 5, 2004 3:04 PM PST

of things like drinking which, for many, are easily controlled. Rather, it comes from the heart. Thus, we must 'turn the other cheek', love our enemies, refrain from hatred, impure thoughts, self indulgence, pride, etc. Such things are not so easily controlled. He summed it up with the two great commandments:

You will love the Lord your God will your whole heart, mind, and strength,

and your neighbor as yourself.

Such commands put us all in the role of sinners, and in need of mutual support. There is no room for pointing out the failings of others. That does not mean that we accept or condone sin. It merely puts things into perspective.

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Part of my point was
by Steven Haninger / November 5, 2004 8:33 PM PST

that having an affiliation with a church/organized religion is, for some, a sort of support group. Certainly there is much more to to it. Not all members are successful in exemplifying the principles of their organization. I think, too often, others point to these people and nullify the value of the church as a whole. Folks who praise and pray on Sunday but make no attempt to practice what they are taught throught the rest of the week do no good service to themselves or the religious organization they huddle with.

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this view as old as Church
by netsky / November 6, 2004 3:38 AM PST
In reply to: Part of my point was

from a wax cylinder Edison recording of the year 1906:

He Goes to Church on Sunday! Sung by Billy Murray, Ed-i-sone Rec-cord!

(in that day the song title was spoken at the commencement because many people were yet considered illiterate)

i know a very wicked man
i knew him when a lad
i never met his equal telling lies.
(lines skipped to the refrain...)

but he goes to Church on Sun-day
so... they Say that he's an Hon-est Man!

no new thoughts here, just a smile for us all.

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The problem is, how do you know they make no attempt
by Kiddpeat / November 6, 2004 4:57 AM PST
In reply to: Part of my point was

to put it into practice? One person's best effort may look like another person's total indifference. One may have stumbled in pain while another flaunts his freedom. The problem with a church is that it's full of sinners. We do not cease being sinners simply because we go to church. We go seeking forgiveness because that's what we need. Those on the outside say, 'Look, they're no better than me.' Well, duh! The question is, are they getting any better?

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Re: The problem is, how do you know they make no attempt
by Steven Haninger / November 6, 2004 7:45 AM PST

I can fully understand and agree with your points. Still, the detractors are going to put the worst apples on display and this puts the rest of a church on the defensive. Secular society and its law then demands that a church chastize, punish or expel its own members to preserve its reputation, does it not. Secular society and its law does not understand the concept of embracing a sinner in an attempt to salvage them. Your viewpoint is well received. Regards.

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Secular law vs. the church
by drpruner / November 8, 2004 5:02 AM PST

Steve, your Bible contains clear instructions from your god on this matter at Mt ch. 18:

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Re: Secular law vs. the church
by netsky / November 14, 2004 8:15 AM PST

Here i learn that in some conversations you do quote at length from Scripture, at least to converse with your fellows.

"John: 2 Jo 9,10. Verse 10, the scholars say, has the meaning of 'Don't even give him the time of day"

Is of interest for now i understand for the first time WHY David U. Trout was excommunicated or whatever Baptists call shunning a member for failing to meet group expectations.

No wonder only a singular ONE of his former Baptist co-worshippers attended Dave's funeral. I do not count his eight children, for the child is never expected to SHUN his father no matter the sins of the Father.

But Father Church does this and the congregants seem all to happy to supplicate to the will of their church if this banning is instituted by biblical authority.

I think it sucks; nothing personal but by default of dead dave and departed Charles Morgan I enter their two votes by late proxy: it is so sucky that i would say that Shun of David Trout not right in the eyes of Jesus, either. And Jesus is Lord I am told and would like to beleive

Everything is so conveniently in favor for majority rule.

Bless the memory of heterosexual champion, the late Charles Morgan. A man who stood up in church to defend a homosexual brother. Bless him, i do, here and for this reason, bear for him my own material, second-hand witness.

Mr. Morgan's wife, btw, wrote a national best-seller book for the Christian Community. To lighten this guilt-burden i would place here, i mention her book and suggest it worthy to google up marabel and that last name....

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Oh C'mon!
by Evie / November 16, 2004 8:48 AM PST

Man leaves family of several children.

Man sets up ad hoc boarding house for wayward 20-somethings at the age of 50+

Man has sex with some.

Matters not the gender of this man's "mentees". No community welcomes such a disgrace Sad

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Blue Jeans
by drpruner / November 17, 2004 4:18 AM PST

First, Steve H is not my religious "fellow." He and I worship different gods (Trinity and Jehovah). Our common connection is use of the Bible. But if you recall his recent post here, he gets much of his religious instructions from what his church calls 'sacred tradition.' As I've mentioned before I have only. the Bible to answer the important questions. (Mt 15:6)

Second, I quoted Mt 18:15-17 because it was conveniently short and would be on the screen with my point-by-point.

Third, per your many SE posts, you have an interesting way with words, but often on too many topics at the same time. You need to focus if you want to discuss the Bible to any effect so: Look 'em up! It's life or death, remember? (John 17:3)

Disfellowshipping bothers more people than almost anything else in the Bible. In your case there's the added problem of seeing this done in re. homosexuality. So let's look at a situation that has no sexual or religious connotations:

When the state convicts someone of a felony and sends him to prison, he's prevented from communicating freely with others; he can't have fellowship with other human beings. This is enforced at gunpoint, if necessary. You and I and other crime victims see this as reasonable and legitimate use of our tax dollars. So why is this excommunication and disfellowshipping 'good' when state-run, but 'bad' when it's done by a religious group?

Mainly, I think, because Jehovah's standards of cleanliness are different from ours. (Isa 55:8-11) He disapproves of homosexual relations (1 Cor 6:9,10), heterosexual. relations outside of marriage (1 Cor 6:9,10), stealing (1 Cor 6:9,10), extortion (1 Cor 6:9,10), drunkenness (1 Cor 6:9,10) and so on. You don't approve of this list, no doubt, but it's not your list.! It's the list of the Bible's Author and any who choose. to adopt it as their own. If you don't so choose, then you're off the hook: Forever if there is no Jehovah, or until Armageddon if there is.

Also remember the important point built in to Mt 18: Repentance, and evidence thereof, stops the proceedings at any time. (A truly repentant robber usually goes to jail anyway.)

The congregation elders involved have the primary responsibility of keeping Jehovah's congregation clean. (Ephesians ch 5 & 6.) The rewards for all of us in doing this are immense: Ps 37:29.

Regards, Doug in New Mexico

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Re: Sin, as described by Jesus, does not consist mainly
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / November 7, 2004 12:25 PM PST

Hi, KP.

You should note what is seen as "the root of all evil" (hint -- does "love of money" sound familiar?) Now, how does that teaching fit with laissez faire capitalism?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re: Sin, as described elsewhere
by Dragon / November 9, 2004 10:31 AM PST

says that all sins are equal. Also, Jews have more commandments than Christians.

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