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halox0x0's avatar

Is how you 'feel' about something a reliable guide to moral values?

Asked by halox0x0 (5points) May 12th, 2009

how can we achieve our moral potential?
Are there universial moral values that apply to all people?
Do we have moral responsibilites to others?
What is the relation between moral values and religion?

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16 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Not unless you have strong moral values, good ethics. As for the relationship between moral values and religion, there is none. Many religions have “convenient” morals. Look at the history of the Christian Popes for instance, how many of them were despots? Look at our current world situation – almost all of the death and conflict is in one way or another, based on religious conviction. The only “universal” value seems to be – don’t get caught.

ragingloli's avatar

um no. when i feel like i have to brutally kill the guy next to me then that hardly is a good guide to moral or ethical behaviour.
the most reliable guide to that is reason and a certain sense of altruism.

lillycoyote's avatar

My basic moral compass is empathy. If something is wrong if someone did it to me or to someone I love then it would be wrong if I did it to someone else. It’s pretty simple, pretty basic but it covers a surprisingly large and variable amount of moral and ethical territory.

wundayatta's avatar

Nope. Feelings are pretty bad moral indicators. Morality is something that has to be figured out. It has to do with consequences of actions. Feelings are too often wrong with respect to consequences. The analytical mind does a much better job at understanding consequences, and applying a principle, such as the greatest good for the greatest number, in order to generate moral action.

oratio's avatar

No. As @daloon said. Feelings are not good moral indicators. Feelings are there to guide and protect you, but they are mostly self-centered and can mislead you if you live by them without question. That’s gonna create problems for you. Fear doesn’t need logic or reason.
However, feelings must be attended and instincts are not to be ignored. In that case you will have problems too. I think most psychological problems arise because of inability to handle these things. But, who doesn’t have psychological problems at some point in life.

Moral is different from one age to another, between cultures and depending on situations. Time and history shows that there is no divine morality. There is only the current proper code of conduct between people. The future always has the privilege to judge yesterdays moral in light of their own.

How can we achieve our moral potential? In how we can be as good people as possible? Challenge your own convictions, I guess. Be open to new ideas and opinions and admit when you are wrong. Your decisions in life decides who you are. “Be the change you wish to see in others”.

Do we have moral responsibilities to others? Moral is a code of conduct between people. Without others there would be no need of moral. As I see it, the question fails by logic. Of course it is ok to put your own interests first now and then. After all it’s your life. The question could for what reason you do that. Being selfish should work with other people and not damage relations. Should we always do right by people? Should you help the woman screaming for help or let your fears tell you to keep away?

Are there universal moral values that apply to all people? Tricky. Not in a general sense but basically yes, but the apply differently many times. An example could be that all humans agree that it’s wrong to kill people. But most cultures believe or have believed that there are circumstances where it’s good or even necessary, in events and reasons of war, honor, self defense and capital punishment.

What is the relation between moral values and religion? When I say religion I mostly mean christianity, and I am guessing that you are considering the abrahamic religions. The way I see it, religion in this case, claim a higher purpose and with it a divine moral. The short answer I am giving here, is that religion claim monopoly on moral. But moral is something that is a part of our being. As I’ve written before, all herd animals have rules, moral, and emotional life. You cannot co-operate successfully without them. Moral exists apart from religion, but in large parts religion rests on it’s claim to it.

SeventhSense's avatar

Feelings are a poor guide towards right action and thinking. Morality needs to be instructed in some fashion. The natural state of the individual is towards self serving. Children need to be modelled and taught good behavior. Just watch toddlers slam each other with toys and note how “might equals right” on the playground. A code of moral conduct is key to a civilized society. Pure moral relativism creates confusion. We need a strong foundation of healthy interpersonal relations and a code of behaviors or else society breaks down.

There are many who feel that religion is suspect and I am one of them, but religion and ethics have done much good. The one thing Fascist and Proletariat regimes will often do is dispense with all religions and the end is the establishment of a state which plays God. This is often worse than the religion it displaced.

I think a universal code should be established before one is established against our will by state or church which takes into account the sanctity of life, the rights of the individuals and the basis for nothing being done which usurps another’s rights. But this should be non cultural and religion based.

dynamicduo's avatar

Feelings are completely subjective and go on a whim a lot of the time. If I based myself on my feelings, I would never get anything done.

Regarding moral values and religion – for me there is zero relationship between the two. I am a moral person without the fear of a God punishing me for not being moral. I follow the Golden Rule and it really is all you need.

milla101's avatar

Your personal feelings are defined only by what you have learned and experienced.
What may seem to be morally just may not seem morally just to the next.
At the end of the day you can never be “universally” moral.

CMaz's avatar

It sure is…. What you feel and what you know, make your moral fiber. If you learn something new and your perspective changes. Your moral values/fiber changes also. The problem is as your moral values change over time. Can you avoid or survive the accountability your previous perception of what your moral values were?

SeventhSense's avatar

How about when you feel reasonably certain that you should kill the guy next to you for altruistic reasons? Can reason not be used and influenced by strong irrational emotions? A universal moral code is the only rational and reasonable approach to moral responsibility.

DarkScribe's avatar

@ragingloli If I killed for altruistic reasons – no rapper would be safe, nor any street gang member. No, altruism is a dangerous thing, it crushes tolerance.

ragingloli's avatar

@DarkScribe Killing rappers would not really be in the rapper’s favour, nor would you make their relatives or fans happy. That would not be altruistic.

DarkScribe's avatar

@ragingloli Ah, yes, but the MAJORITY of music lovers would be ecstatic.

ragingloli's avatar

that would be placing the musical preference of people, who are not even forced to listen to it, over the physical and emotional wellbeing of the rappers and their relatives. There would be no proportionality. It would be like dropping a nuke on a tree because you don’t like the bird singing on it.
It would also conflict with one of the goals of altruism, namely acting for the wellbeing of other people (in this case, the rappers and their relatives). If the action you choose to achieve goal A conflicts with goal B, you have to discard the way of action and devise a new one that does not conflict with either goal.

DarkScribe's avatar

@ragingloli C’mon, there is no universal accord with regard to any position on any subject. Realistically more people dislike RAP and Hip Hop than like it, as evidenced by sales, so altruism in a democratic sense, would be better served my way.

BTW, don’t take it so seriously – it is all tongue in cheek.

NuclearSnail's avatar

Not necessarily. Sometimes people with loose morals tend to rely on a clearly set ethical system, such as Utilitarianism. However they are usually (if not always) flawed.

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