Saturday, March 19, 2005

The moral high ground

I was listening to the radio the other day (wgn as it turns out. Must have been comercials on all the other stations.) and the radio guy was talking about the feeding tube case in Florida. First off, do all weird and depressing stories come out of florida or is Mississippi just not reporting theirs? Anyway, this guy is discussing the interesting moral issues of removing someones feeding tube (boy does that sound like 'Brave New World' or what?) and to establish his position he tells his audience that he's a church guy, he goes to church and prays and all that, so then...

Now what am I supposed to think? I think he thjinks he is establishing himself as a moral person by telling me he believes in invisible beings that have some control or interest in life on earth. How does that work? I pray so I am good? I don't pray so I am bad? Once again most people think of church goers as the good people and the atheists as the bad people. And, once again there is no support for this position.

We are good and bad by our daily deeds. By how we treat each other. By how we treat strangers. By how we tend to our children and to theirs. All of these deeds stand separate from what one may or may not believe in. It is REASONABLE to be a fair and moral person. If you give it a moments consideration you see that we are all better off if we all are willing to some extent to give the other guy a break and help out once in a while even if it is nothing for you.

Makes sense.


Sarah said...

I agree that that one can do good things whether or not they are "religious" or not. It is absolutely unfair to disregard atheists as having no sense of moral bearings-that is not the case!

However, this discussion leads to other questions...Why do we do good things for other people? Why do we sacrifice things for other people? What's our motivation? Are we naturally inclined to put other people before ourselves? Human experience attests to the fact that we are prone to be pretty selfish-even with people that we genuinely care about. We often choose not be selfish externally-but aren't we always asking how things will affect us?...even the things we do for other people? I can act in a moral way but this doesn't guarantee that it is with moral motivations or attitudes. But I don't want to just do outward moral things..I want to want to do them. I want to be someone who inherently desires to serve others sacrificially. Yet that's just not how we are wired. You look at the world and all the pain and all the evil that humanity has brought about...there's no way that this sacrificial attitude of love is gonna come from us. That's where God comes in. I am curious how you would respond...

Also, what do you think about the case in Florida? Who do you agree with?

By the way, this BLOG stuff is so cool!

Jason said...

Is this to say that it is not a moral motivation if the motivation is selfish? It is in my selfish interest to be nice to others (it makes me feel good and not get punched in the mouth), but would that somehow be better if it was a selfless act (if that even exists)? I guess my question is: what makes selfishness inherently immoral?

LeahC said...

I agree with Jason. This idea that if you do something for someone else and it makes them happy then it must not make you happy...unless there is God?

Why can't loving someone totally come from within oneself?

On the Florida thing ... I agree with the husband totally. Go check out my posting about it at

Scott said...

God comes in and gives you a sacrificial attitude. How does that happen? How does it work? IF I can explain an attitude like this by most people having some wiring for taking care of the tribe. That is to say that we evolve to get a good feeling about helping others because we couldn't have evolved otherwise. We're too slow, too small, too weak. It is the only natural way we could have evolved. Now other pressures certainly come to bear on people. We are not just hard wired pieces of meat. Not everybody is nice all the time. Still, that thing in us that makes many of us want to help out may not require the existence of an invisible god to be explained.

Blog on Sarah!