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Sunday-School Morality

  1. Oct 18, 2008 #1
    Sunday-School Morality

    Where, in American culture, is the domain of knowledge that we would identify as morality studied and taught?

    I suspect that if we do not quickly develop a science of morality that will make it possible for us to live together on this planet in a more harmonious manner our technology will help us to destroy the species and perhaps the planet soon.

    It seems to me that we have given the subject matter of morality primarily over to religion. It also seems to me that if we ask the question ‘why do humans treat one another so terribly?’ we will find the answer in this moral aspect of human culture.

    The ‘man of maxims’ “is the popular representative of the minds that are guided in their moral judgment solely by general rules, thinking that these will lead them to justice by a ready-made patent method, without the trouble of exerting patience, discrimination, impartiality—without any care to assure themselves whether they have the insight that comes from a hardly-earned estimate of temptation, or from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide fellow-feeling with all that is human.” George Eliot The Mill on the Floss

    We can no longer leave this important matter in the hands of the Sunday-school. Morality must become a top priority for scientific study.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2008 #2
    Psychological researchers will probable discover some day that empathy and group behavior is instinctive and not purely learned, therefor some elements of morality are instictive. That's as close as science can come to morality, but it will never lend itself to a full moral code and even if it did it would be incompatible with modern life. It would probably tell us that it's OK to eat out neighbor's pet if we're hungry.

    You give Sunday school too much credit. The fact that laws and religious morals are divergent is evidence that morality has many sources other than Sunday school.

    Your search for a single morality is ill conceived to begin with. The word "morality" conotates a code that is etched in stone but in reality what we consider right and wrong is being redefined everyday by lawmakers and through the changing circumstances which people have to deal with as a society.

    The best thing that science can contribute to morality is clarity. The revelation that people are most likely not possesed by the devil will save countless people with mental problems from being burned at the stakes or from being tortured into confessing their sins, and instead will be given counseling and medication.
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