Choices

  • Thread starter gcn_zelda
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  • #1
gcn_zelda
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My brother was playing Animal Crossing, and was trying to decide whether to buy a Fall Plaid outfit or a Gray Tartan outfit, and I got to thinking(which I rarely do, but it happens on occasion) about choices.

You've heard by all the teachers and crap at school about "make good choices" this or "don't make bad choices" that.

What determines whether a choice is good or bad?

The consequence?
That would mean that if you killed an innocent person to save two other people that it would be a good choice.

The morality/ethics of it?
That would mean that if you saved a snake, but later, it bit and injected venom into Curt, that it would be a good choice.

I asked my mom what she thought(she's religious) and she said that it's whatever God wills, which is a simple answer, but very vague.

So what are your thoughts?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Mentat
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I think it's a combination of the consequences and the ethics of the circumstance prior to choosing.

As to the snake biting someone later on, that shouldn't count against you, since you didn't intend this.
 
  • #3
FZ+
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(Mentor: Shuffle this over to Value theory, please)

The observer's opinion of it makes it good or bad. If after you did it, you regretted it, then clearly it was a bad thing for you. Different people may have different opinions - there is no universal good/badness principle.

My way of judgement usually comes by way of intention, but tossing a coin works just as well. :wink:
 
  • #4
physicskid
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Good or bad choices varies differently from people of different religion, culture, or habit.

For example, it's common to find chinese people
(they are usually villagers)
eating Dog meat but it's considered to be illegal
in other countries.

It also depends on the outcome
you desired and how you view any unexpected outcome.
 
  • #5
Another God
Staff Emeritus
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What makes choices good or Bad = How do we evaluate our choices = VALUE theory forum.
 
  • #6
Gale
676
2
You're wrong...

i don't know actually, but it'd make sense to me that there must be some universal good/badness principle. I just don't think anyone has realized it yet. Or maybe not good/bad, but definately right/wrong. To me, every choice is the right choice... but that's cause i believe in say destiny or fate... but i could be wrong. I believe in reincarnation too... so i also believe that there are very specific decisions we need to make correctly inorder to reach higher levels in our next lifetimes, and not every choice will be the right one to help you gain insights... But i'd really bet, that if physics and science and all the natural laws and principles we have for everything else is valid, then i'd bet some similar laws work for goodness too, and its just a matter of time before we write those equations too.
 
  • #7
Another God
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Thats interesting. What reasons do you have for believing in reincarnation, levels of life, and goodness/badness? Can u give us any sort of points of evidence or reason for believing such things are tangible realities that should be formulated into equations?
 
  • #8
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by FZ+
(Mentor: Shuffle this over to Value theory, please)

The observer's opinion of it makes it good or bad. If after you did it, you regretted it, then clearly it was a bad thing for you. Different people may have different opinions - there is no universal good/badness principle.

My way of judgement usually comes by way of intention, but tossing a coin works just as well. :wink:


Isn't that a bit self-centered, FZ+? I mean, shouldn't the standard of whether something was "bad" or "good" be determined by the people it affects, and not the one "affecting" (bad grammar, probably; point made, hopefully ).

Seriously, if I were to do something, and then feel bad, but I was told not to feel bad, because the outcome was "good" (whatever that means ), then my having felt bad was misplaced since the action was "actually 'good'".

I don't know, that seems right to me.
 
  • #9
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by Gale17
You're wrong...

i don't know actually, but it'd make sense to me that there must be some universal good/badness principle.

Then who sets the principle? You? Me? God?

Or maybe not good/bad, but definately right/wrong.

What's the difference, in your opinion?

To me, every choice is the right choice... but that's cause i believe in say destiny or fate... but i could be wrong.

*chuckles to self* Sorry, but if every choice is the right choice, then there's not way you are wrong. And if every choice is the right choice, then there can be no distinction between right and wrong, since there are no wrong choices. That's why I don't like the idea of fate, personally.

I believe in reincarnation too... so i also believe that there are very specific decisions we need to make correctly inorder to reach higher levels in our next lifetimes, and not every choice will be the right one to help you gain insights...

But, if we are fated to make the right choice, then we will, and there's nothing we can do to change that. Therefore, to believe in both fate and reincarnation is to believe that the eternity of our constant reincarnation is all predestined...right?
 
  • #10
Njorl
Science Advisor
285
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I'm not a believer in moral or ethical codes. I believe in morality, and ethics, but I think there is a subtle difference. Make any code, and you can find a situation that follows the letter of the code, but not the spirit.

Morality is a personal concept. Laws define how you mustact toward your society, not morality. Morality is a personal choice for each individual. You choose if there is such a thing as good and evil. You decide if your actions fall into one category or another. Laws generally follow a loose consensus of morality, but they are not morals. Laws are about actions and consequences; morality is about personal feelings.

Njorl
 
  • #11
Another God
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Originally posted by Njorl
I'm not a believer in moral or ethical codes. I believe in morality, and ethics, but I think there is a subtle difference. Make any code, and you can find a situation that follows the letter of the code, but not the spirit.

Morality is a personal concept. Laws define how you mustact toward your society, not morality. Morality is a personal choice for each individual. You choose if there is such a thing as good and evil. You decide if your actions fall into one category or another. Laws generally follow a loose consensus of morality, but they are not morals. Laws are about actions and consequences; morality is about personal feelings.
How about this: What you call morality, is what you think should be the law. As it isn't, you feel compelled to act in line with your morality, because you believe that the current law is inherently flawed. If you had your way, than the morals which you live your life by, would be made the law, and everyone would have to live that way.

Does that fit in line with how you think?
 
  • #12
Gale
676
2
Mentat, yeah i know I'm all contradictory and stuff. But i still believe in it all, even if i techinically can't... i do. And reincarnation doesn't really have much to do with predestination. And even though i believe tons of other things, i don't know if i believe in predestination either. but i think that because we all inherently have some sense of good and bad in us, there must be some real distinction between the two. And even if varries from person to person, i still think there might be some formula or something someone could create to acount for all those variables.

and i have a lot of reasons for believing that stuff AG, just no time right now to explain. I will though sometime. Maybe i'll even be the one to write these formulas...
 
  • #13
Kerrie
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Originally posted by gcn_zelda
What determines whether a choice is good or bad? [/B]

i don't think anyone conscious thing/person/"god" determines what is good or bad ultimately...in society, a judge is the ultimate entity that makes this decision, and we all hope s/he is basing their decision as objectively as possible...

outcome of choice is certainly a subjective perspective...for example...

a tornado takes down your house, but all of your family is safe...it sucks to have your house gone...luckily, you have excellent insurance, and you are able to rebuild a more solid and bigger home - a blessing in disguise...

or

you find a better paying job, you save up money to buy a new car, after a few months, you realize your boss-who works very close to you-is a royal jerk, after 6 months, you change jobs and take a pay cut because you can't stand your boss...

i think really, whomever the choice affects ultimately decides if it will be a good one or not...
 
  • #14
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by Gale17
Mentat, yeah i know I'm all contradictory and stuff. But i still believe in it all, even if i techinically can't... i do. And reincarnation doesn't really have much to do with predestination. And even though i believe tons of other things, i don't know if i believe in predestination either. but i think that because we all inherently have some sense of good and bad in us, there must be some real distinction between the two. And even if varries from person to person, i still think there might be some formula or something someone could create to acount for all those variables.

Well, my usual response would have something to do with the fact that "variables", as limiting factors in matters of choice, do not exist in a predestined Universe...however, I really just want to say that there should be a thread started on this issue that you raise: Why do we believe some of the things we believe?
 
  • #15
Njorl
Science Advisor
285
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Originally posted by Another God
How about this: What you call morality, is what you think should be the law. As it isn't, you feel compelled to act in line with your morality, because you believe that the current law is inherently flawed. If you had your way, than the morals which you live your life by, would be made the law, and everyone would have to live that way.

Does that fit in line with how you think?

Almost.

Some of my beliefs I think should be generalised to society as a whole - the obvious things like no murdering, stealing or wanton destruction. Other things, I don't believe other people should be held to. I personally think that it is immoral to waste personal gifts, like talents. If you sing well you should sing. But I don't think talented people should be forced to pursue their talents.

One problem is, part of my morality is respecting that other people have a different morality. If I try impressing my morals on others, I would be hypocritical, but if I don't support my morality, I lose self-respect. I realize laws must be a workable agglomeration of the people's various morals. If the laws are close to my moral code, I'd consider them good. If they do not, I consider them bad. If they are bad enough, they reach a threshold of activism, or even civil disobedience. If they are even worse, rebellion of some form is the answer, or emigration. Fortunately, I have only felt the need for civil disobedience twice.

Njorl
 
  • #16
Another God
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Originally posted by Njorl
Almost.

One problem is, part of my morality is respecting that other people have a different morality. If I try impressing my morals on others, I would be hypocritical, but if I don't support my morality, I lose self-respect. I realize laws must be a workable agglomeration of the people's various morals. If the laws are close to my moral code, I'd consider them good. If they do not, I consider them bad. If they are bad enough, they reach a threshold of activism, or even civil disobedience. If they are even worse, rebellion of some form is the answer, or emigration. Fortunately, I have only felt the need for civil disobedience twice.
Couldn't you then say that there are your morals, which should be imposed as law, and then there are things which you feel/like/wish to happen, which are just personal preferences? As personal preferences, which you realize aren't for everyone, they aren't really morals. They are simply personal preferences.
 
  • #17
Njorl
Science Advisor
285
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Originally posted by Another God
Couldn't you then say that there are your morals, which should be imposed as law, and then there are things which you feel/like/wish to happen, which are just personal preferences? As personal preferences, which you realize aren't for everyone, they aren't really morals. They are simply personal preferences.

I suppose you could say that, it may just be semantics. I still think these more nebulous ideas fall more into morality than just personal preference though. When I think of preference, I think of liking chocolate more than vanilla. While I think no less of someone who prefers vanilla, I do think less of someone who is wealthy yet uncharitable. I do not, however, think that people must be charitable.

Is this nebulous area ethics? The dictionary definitions I've read have almost no difference between ethics and morality. I think it would be a useful distinction of the words, but if I'm the only one who uses it that way, it won't work out. :wink:

So, I have these belief sets:

1. Beliefs that I think are necessary for society that must be law. These are the ones that would incite me to some activism if they were not law.

2. Beliefs that are value judgements of a personal nature. I will live by them, and would prefer others doing so but I can tolerate others not doing so.

3. Beliefs that are preferences of a personal nature. Whether others share these beliefs is of no importance.

I don't think there are specific words for these catagories.

Njorl
 
  • #18
Another God
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
987
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Originally posted by Njorl

So, I have these belief sets:

1. Beliefs that I think are necessary for society that must be law. These are the ones that would incite me to some activism if they were not law.

2. Beliefs that are value judgements of a personal nature. I will live by them, and would prefer others doing so but I can tolerate others not doing so.

3. Beliefs that are preferences of a personal nature. Whether others share these beliefs is of no importance.

I don't think there are specific words for these catagories.

Njorl
Thanks for that, that has been helpful

I was probing, because I came to the conclusion that 'ethics' and 'law' should in fact be the same thing. I know it currently isn't taken to be, but I think it should be. While many people have 'ethics' which are outside of the law, that is a representation of what they think the law should be. You have raised a good point though, and I will consider it more.
 
  • #19
FZ+
1,599
3
Originally posted by Mentat
Isn't that a bit self-centered, FZ+? I mean, shouldn't the standard of whether something was "bad" or "good" be determined by the people it affects, and not the one "affecting" (bad grammar, probably; point made, hopefully ).

Seriously, if I were to do something, and then feel bad, but I was told not to feel bad, because the outcome was "good" (whatever that means ), then my having felt bad was misplaced since the action was "actually 'good'".

I don't know, that seems right to me.
Well, realistically, the majority of actions end up affecting far further than your initial expectations, and it is simply not plausible to ask everybody, much less get a consensus. And on another level, the fact that you choose to listen to their praise/admonishments afterwards is a demonstration of my claim - you are exercising your personal sense of morality, for looking for external justification.
 
  • #20
Bernardo
77
0
There are a lot of threads that debate goodness and badness to one degree or another.

The common postings in all of them seem to go one of three ways.

1. It's up to society to determine right and wrong

2. It's up to the individual to determine right and wrong.

3. There is a God that has determined right from wrong.

Case #1 societies through history have shown their inability to maintain any kind of enduring standard. An empire may begin pure and noble but always seems to end in moral decay & coruption, rome & the soviet union for example. So it does appear that society is unable to determine this consistently.

Case #2 if individuals are responsible for this determination and everyone can decide for themselves then this is just a recipe for chaos. Check out a mob after a sporting event, or during a riot when people are left up to their own - things go bad quickly.

Case #3 God has determined right from wrong then we are responsible to listen and follow this direction.

When I look around me at nature and see it's order and perfection Case #1 & Case #2 just do not fit. I believe our only choice is to seek for God's truth until it is found, then believe it with everything we have.
 
  • #21
THANOS
218
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put case one and two together my friend. Because right and wrong exist within me and other humans. But i am yet to believe in a god.
 
  • #22
Bernardo
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Honest question

Why does you believing in Him matter?

A fish may deny the exsistence of gravity saying "look I can swim up or down as I please it has no affect on me"

and yet it's body will always be aligned upright with the Earth instictivly due to gravity - weather the fish gives it credit or not.
 
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  • #23
Mentat
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Originally posted by FZ+
Well, realistically, the majority of actions end up affecting far further than your initial expectations, and it is simply not plausible to ask everybody, much less get a consensus. And on another level, the fact that you choose to listen to their praise/admonishments afterwards is a demonstration of my claim - you are exercising your personal sense of morality, for looking for external justification.

True enough, but that could just be a sensitivity to "rightness" as determined by the people affected, couldn't it? I don't know. It seems like Homo Sapiens is more of social animal, and would thus develop its moral structure in terms of what's good for itself and others in the group. Ergo, a human would only "feel bad" if s/he thought s/he had done "wrong" to another human.
 
  • #24
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by Bernardo
Honest question

Why does you believing in Him matter?

Didn't you already answer this in your previous post, Bernardo? In your previous post, Case #3 was that there was a God, and this lead (according to you) to the responsibility of listening to what He says. Therefore, if there is a God, then we have an added responsibility (to do what is "right" in His eyes), and it would thus matter very much that He existed, wouldn't it?
 
  • #25
Bernardo
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OK. Sorry. I don't mean to go on and on - it's just something that's close to me. If you're tired of it or think I'm soap-boxing let me know. I have no intention of doing that.

What my point is, and how this all fits into 'choices' is like this.

What happens after death, happens to everyone, the same way, no matter what is believed. There can only be one true answer to this question. To think that just because WE believe a certain way determines what actually seems foolish to me.

It Athiest's are right and we are just matter then all of us vanish at death, if it is reincarnetion or Heaven/ hell then that's the answer for all of us.

In this life we need to choose what we think is the answer - we can't bring it into being by believing it. This is why I continue my search - and expose myself to all forms of world views - to debate and consider all options.

If I'm wrong I need to find this out, isn't this the goal of everyone - make the right choice.
 
  • #26
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by Bernardo
OK. Sorry. I don't mean to go on and on - it's just something that's close to me. If you're tired of it or think I'm soap-boxing let me know. I have no intention of doing that.

Not at all, I think you made perfectly good sense in the post before last; which is why I mentioned the point that you had stated, in my own post. I just figured you might have forgotten that particular point.

What my point is, and how this all fits into 'choices' is like this.

What happens after death, happens to everyone, the same way, no matter what is believed. There can only be one true answer to this question. To think that just because WE believe a certain way determines what actually seems foolish to me.

It Athiest's are right and we are just matter then all of us vanish at death, if it is reincarnetion or Heaven/ hell then that's the answer for all of us.

In this life we need to choose what we think is the answer - we can't bring it into being by believing it. This is why I continue my search - and expose myself to all forms of world views - to debate and consider all options.

If I'm wrong I need to find this out, isn't this the goal of everyone - make the right choice?

This is certainly the open-minded and rational thing to do. And I agree that our personal belief cannot change the reality of the matter. However, our choices would indeed be important if we haven't made up our mind on what happens after death, since we might believe that there is no hellfire, but then find out that there is too late (though this is a ridiculous idea, IMO, it seemed a fitting analogy).
 
  • #27
Bernardo
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I need to take some time here.

I'm going to work on a "logic train" for Christianity. I've never attempted such a thing but I can visualize it sitting here.

I'd like to see what kind of feedback it gets. (Is this highjacking the thread?)
 
  • #28
FZ+
1,599
3
Case #1 societies through history have shown their inability to maintain any kind of enduring standard. An empire may begin pure and noble but always seems to end in moral decay & coruption, rome & the soviet union for example. So it does appear that society is unable to determine this consistently.
Er.. Since when did any moral code exhibit this consistency? Even in the case of religious laws, their nature has shifted and evolved. For example, from the pseudo-survivalist values of the OT to the idealist/socialist/libertarian attitudes of the NT. Special casing, unfair laws and so on have defined our own senses - man, especially when emotional, never takes consistency into account.

Case #2 if individuals are responsible for this determination and everyone can decide for themselves then this is just a recipe for chaos. Check out a mob after a sporting event, or during a riot when people are left up to their own - things go bad quickly.
It has always been noted that a mob develops "a mind of its own". This is the sort of anti-altruist argument that develops 2 into 1. When you are in a mob, do you conceive of any general wrongness in which you are doing? No - self-interest expands into group thinking, and group thinking into social codes, which can be either glorious or despicable depending on how much you share it.

What is democracy, but a milling mob, a riot of the masses?



I may be doing devil's advocate in some of the above, but...
 
  • #29
Bernardo
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OK FZ+ keeping me on my toes I see. I need to take a short tangent here - I love this site, nobody just accepts anything - very refressing.

well as far as case #2 goes (individual moral standard) I couldn't think of another example as to when society could let this happen other than I riot, I realized it was a poor example and now have been told it was.

I do believe that if there were a society on Earth that didn't have laws but left Right & wrong up to individuals to decide with absolutely no standard or guidance - that would be chaos.

As people we have trouble agreeing what is 'right' on a pizza - how could a hypothetical society like this ever work?

As far as God being different in the OT & NT, He isn't but that would require quite a bit of typing on my part, and honestly grasshopper - you haven't grasped the pebble out of my hand yet.
 
  • #30
THANOS
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Your right it truly doesn't matter whether i believe in god or not. The truth is it truly doesn't matter whether anyone believes in god or not. They only absolute way we can experience the truth is in death.
Right and Wrong are inventions simple as that. Is it wrong to kill an animal for the fun of it? is it wrong to kill an animal and eat all the meat and recycle the bones and fur? Is it wrong to pluck flowers from the ground to give to your girl friend? Is it wrong to chop a tree down for fire wood during a cold winter? Is it wrong to chop trees down for paper to write down history?
The point is just about anything we do can some way be seen as wrong as much as it can be seen as right. Because ultimately i believe that life does what life does to survive and that is selfish. But to survive is also to do right and wrong. Right for taking care of yourself and wrong for taking care of yourself. We are living conundrums.
 
  • #31
Bernardo
77
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Your right it truly doesn't matter whether i believe in god or not. The truth is it truly doesn't matter whether anyone believes in god or not. They only absolute way we can experience the truth is in death.

But if there is no afterlife then truth will never be experienced will it. This, to me, is a very bleak outlook.

We are living conundrums.

Which is why I am glad that we do not decide morality, God did, He is not a conundrum.

The confusion isn't over if something is right or wrong, it's if you are willing to accept the standard.

For example - downloading music, is it right or wrong? Have you been given any right to the song? What is it about you that deserves it for free? Have you ever heard the music industry tell you it doesn't want you to do this and done it anyway? The bottom line is downloading music is stealing - the confusion and debate are people trying to justify stealing. You know this at your gut level everytime you click on a song.
 
  • #32
Another God
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Originally posted by Bernardo
What is it about you that deserves it for free?
Do you ever listen to the radio?

I get your point though.

But I wish to just jump in at this point and express my doubts as to there being a universal 'right' and 'wrong' for any given situation.
 
  • #33
THANOS
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If there is a god, in my view god is already dead. perfect can not exist with us. only can exist without any other existence.
 
  • #34
Bernardo
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Another god-
Do you ever listen to the radio?

Wow - all this and you're funny too.

But I wish to just jump in at this point and express my doubts as to there being a universal 'right' and 'wrong' for any given situation.

Have you ever heard of the 'Golden Rule'?

Thanos
If there is a god, in my view god is already dead. perfect can not exist with us. only can exist without any other existence.

You are very close to my beliefs on this, But it's flipped over backwards. We can not exsist with Him. God is not dead - we are, dead and lost within our own self fulfilling chaos.

He doesn't exsist on the same level with us any more than you would exsist with a fish in a fish tank. (very poor analogy here). The tank can get messy - it in no way changes your life. The key lies in realizing we are messed up and He is not.
 
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  • #35
Another God
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Originally posted by Bernardo
Have you ever heard of the 'Golden Rule'?
Of course I have. Heard of it, and quickly realized that notmany people actually want what I want.
 

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