Morally Demanding of Others That Which We Will Not Give

I wrote a post once encouraging people to think carefully before they use deception as a way of dealing with the potential problems that arise from having reinterpreted one’s faith in the LDS Church. I gave several examples of the types of deceptions that I’ve seen. I, myself, have been personally hurt by such deceptions. For example:

  • Technically, they believe the Book of Mormon is “inspired” because “inspired” means something more nuanced than what most believers mean [e.g. “inspired just means it teaches good things.”]
  • Technically they believe Joseph Smith is a prophet, because a prophet is something more broad than most believers understand [e.g. “prophet” is what we call the leader of our Church. Or maybe a “prophet” is someone that teaches at least some good moral principles..]
  • Technically they believe the church is “true” in the sense that… [e.g. The church is “true” because all religions that teach good ethics are “true” because religion is really just about teaching ethics. There isn’t really a God.]
  • They gave about 10% directly to a charity of their choosing instead of the church, so technically they are a “full tithe payer”;
  • Since the Word of Wisdom says people should eat meat sparingly, and people who eat a lot of meat answer the temple recommend question about obeying the Word of Wisdom in the affirmative even though they clearly don’t obey all of what it says, they also technically can say they obey the Word of Wisdom, even though they regularly drink coffee or alcohol; technically,
  • Faith is the same thing as Doubt because Faith means that you don’t know for sure, and not knowing is technically doubting….
  • Elder Holland’s quote meant the Church is moving away from Book of Mormon historicity, so its okay to claim that anyone having a discussion on how the Church does in fact teach that The Book of Mormon is historical is really going against LDS Church teachings.

One commenter, in part, said this as a response to me (and JMax, though I remove references to JMax because its unfair for me to blast him without his permission):

The pure love of Christ is not about establishing an asymmetrical moral discourse with those who disagree with us so that we can elevate them to our own level of righteousness. We are called upon to shed sunshine on their path, to lighten their sorrows with the balm of sympathy, to give them the pure joy of a never-tiring affection. …

 

Knowledge doesn’t work in such a way that we can pick and choose our beliefs on a whim, and most Mormons who hold to those beliefs that you outline are doing the best that they can. They’re giving it their all. But you… (a) contribute to an environment that makes it impossible for them to communicate their beliefs candidly without causing controversy, and (b) condemn them for being reticent about expressing these beliefs. I can think of nothing more Pharisaical than that (to use your term as you understand it). …

 

Next to greatness of God, we are as puny and as minuscule as almost any wayward soul, but your… myopia has fooled you both into thinking that it’s a big deal.

More than one commenter replied that they felt this was a beautiful reply.

But why wasn’t this person inspired by the pure love of Christ to lighten my sorrows with the balm of sympathy and giving me the pure joy of a never-tiring affection since I’ve been hurt by such untruths? Why does he feel its okay to start with the assumption that I’m not doing the best I can to grapple with a difficult moral issue and that I am not giving this my all? After all, knowledge doesn’t work in such a way that I can pick and choose my beliefs on a whim. Nor does morality work in such a way that we can simply pick and choose our sides and the ends justify the means.

What makes this even worse is that this comment contributed to an environment that makes it impossible for people like me to communicate their beliefs candidly without causing controversy. [1]

I suppose this is a really good example of Popper’s “Myth of the Framework.” We ‘choose sides’ so to speak and it’s difficult – maybe impossible in some cases — for us to be fair to each other. And we are not always very nice to the ‘other side.’ We often (in fact, usually) demand of others that which we will not give, as does this commenter.

But I am no longer convinced this is such a bad thing. Communication did take place and continues to do so. So the possibility of progress still exists despite, apparently, our best efforts to shut it down.

I would prefer tolerance in our discourse, of course. But sometimes it just isn’t within us because we are human. And besides, once you look past the tone there really was something said worth discussing, wasn’t there? It might even be beautiful.

One of the underlying ‘hurts’ for practicing-but-no-longer-believing religionists is that they become sort of second class citizens within a community they value. What they really want is to be able to speak candidly about their beliefs but feel they cannot because people will then work to convert them and they don’t want to be thought of in that way. And this might not be the only worry if they speak up with how they really feel and what they really believe.

This is the truth, as far as I can see. Yet it is simply not the whole story nor the whole truth. There is an ‘other side’ that must also be considered that also has moral claim upon us. In this case that misrepresentations to get out of a potential hurt are themselves a potential hurt.

We want to place moral demands on each other in a situation like this. Indeed, we honestly feel that we can because we believe our morals to be objective and real. (See also here and here.)

Here’s to our joint faith that such moral demands actually mean something and thus real progress can eventually be made.

Notes

[1] And I was certainly not condemning them for being reticient for expressing their beliefs unless by ‘reticient’ you mean ‘misleading’ so that people think you believe one thing when you really believe something else. Reticience was what I was suggesting at the alternative to lying.

 

28 thoughts on “Morally Demanding of Others That Which We Will Not Give

  1. I think we are all on our individual paths to whichever post-mortal destination our desires will warrant God grant us (I think of our works and faith as the analog realization of our desires).

    It is rather selfish of folks to deny believers the respect and consideration they are demanding for themselves. The converse is also true.

    I personally take great comfort in the construct of an omniscient God who will share His perspective in the resurrection. I like to think that at that time we will all see as we are seen by Him, and we will see all our beloved kin (all mankind) as they are seen by Him. I expect to weep for joy and sorrow, and I expect to be filled with an overwhelming love for all my kin, no matter which destination they have selected by their desires.

  2. I think the question you are asking is: whose church is this? Is this a church for intellectuals to discuss, doubt, struggle, and find “deceptive” strategies with their testimonies? Or is this a church for people who don’t doubt, or those who don’t percieve the church as having anything doubtful about it, and whose testimonies would crumble if doubts were introduced?

    In fact, there are two churches in our church. The official church of Sunday, General Conference, and lds.org. Then there are all these blogs and private lives of Mormons. The “official” church falls under the direction of the priesthood leadership, so if we sustain them, we must sustain and defend the testimony strategy that they currently espouse in the official church.

    But there is complete freedom in the “unofficial church,” and within that setting, I think it is appropriate discuss these “deceptive” strategies as you say. Not that we should go out of our way to “innoculate” or expose the faithful, but if they come into this environment, it is often because they are asking questions, and it can be good for them to understand that Mormonism is much more diverse than the official Sunday version.

  3. While I do think the question “who’s church is this?” is a fair question for discussion — and while I think it has no simple answer — I don’t really see how my post relates to that question except tangentially.

    A person may, for example, choose to use such strategies only in specific situations, like say to get a temple recommend or to avoid having people who believe in what you are calling “the testimony strategy” find out what they really believe.

    At one time I used to argue there was no harm in this. I have since been proven wrong, however. So even sitautions like this have moral ramifications both ways.

    But one can also use these strategies out in blogland completely away from the Sunday Church. In such cases, the purposes are entirely different with their own moral ramifications both ways.

    An example of one such purpose might be specifically to try to present yourself in such a way that other Mormons see you as “credible” because “I believe just like you” only to then use that trust specifically to expose the faithful. (And perhaps not so much to innoculate them as convert them.) Certainly there is no doubt that this happens.

    Doing it for the first set of reasons are not the same as doing it for the second set of reasons. But both have their own moral ramifications worthy of open discussion.

  4. ” Is this a church for intellectuals to discuss, doubt, struggle, and find “deceptive” strategies with their testimonies? Or is this a church for people who don’t doubt, or those who don’t percieve the church as having anything doubtful about it, and whose testimonies would crumble if doubts were introduced?”

    You can certainly frame it that way, nate, but I disagree that it’s an either/or proposition or that this is the only paradigm available to us.

    On the note of folks struggling with doubts and issues: as a church do we not believe in obtaining personal revelation? I guess I am confused as to why people spend years in doubt purgatory.

  5. As someone that has spent years in doubt purgatory, I can discuss that offline with you if desired.

  6. I have wanted to do posts on “doubt” for a long time. I’m of the opinion that some personality types naturally fall towards doubt and that doubting and even doubt purgatory might be inevitable for them for various reasons.

    Also, while I know every situation is different, my own doubt purgatory has left me with the impression that it’s not really generally that hard to be candid while also avoiding attempts to convert you back or whatever.

    I also note here that the examples in the list above are NOT cases of doubt. They are cases of beliefs in conflict with the Church’s teachings, which is why it’s a more difficult case.

    There is a price to be paid for being open about your doubts, but its mainly that they’ll not call you as a Bishop. And they might even do that under the right circumstances.

    In any case, trying to figure out how to do posts about “doubt” on the faith friendly M* is not an easy task. And it’s a difficult topic to begin with.

  7. Bruce, I’m not sure why you say your examples of “deception” are not about doubt. I see them as coping mechanisms, some of which I use, to stay in the church specifically because of doubt.

    In any case, you are absolutely right that what we do, what we say, who we influence, is always important, whether at church on Sunday, or on a blog. People come here with real struggles, and are influenced in real ways.

    I had a conversation with a brother in my ward who had become inactive because he encountered a bunch of doubts about the Book of Abraham. During our conversation, I shared with him some of my “deceptive” coping mechanisms, (as one might call them), and I can testify that I felt the Spirit in a very powerful way throughout our conversation. Now that’s not a conversation that would be appropriate for most members, but for him, I think it was what he needed to hear.

    In blogging however, I don’t stop and ask myself often enough, “Is this something I should really share? Is it something that will build faith, or tear it down?” That is an important question. It’s not “what” we believe that’s important, as how we share our beliefs, and whether we do so in a way that builds or destroys. I’m perfectly willing to admit that I have probably been destructive at times.

  8. Nate,

    What I can appreciate about your approach is that your a) open about it in a discussion forum so that the pros and cons can be discussed, b) obviously trying to only get the pros and minimize the cons, c) admiting you probably won’t always succeed.

    I mentioned before the two categories. Doing it for personal reasons vs. doing it to pull people in and expose them. By being candid here you reassure everyone you’re not the second category.

    Did I say this wasn’t about doubt? I think I said it wasn’t specifically limited to the question of “who’s church is this?”

  9. Oh, you mean this:

    I also note here that the examples in the list above are NOT cases of doubt. They are cases of beliefs in conflict with the Church’s teachings, which is why it’s a more difficult case.

    Yes, you’re right. These are about “doubt” in some sense. I was trying to draw a line between “having doubts but still believing” and “no longer believing.” But both are a type of doubt.

  10. Well, about doubts, I say the same thing President Urchdorf said: “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”. Love that quote, I’m like Michael one of those who cannot understand why people spend years in that purgatory.

  11. Bruce N.,
    as we used to say in the MTC, you are en fuego.

    I don’t know how it is that Christ’s most challenging injunctions to turn the other cheek, to not judge, to forgive, and to love our enemies got so weaponized (and not just be progressives, either–they are the main ones guilty of weaponizing those teachings in the public sphere, but in the private sphere we all do it). My current theory is that they are just too difficult to apply to ourselves, so we mostly deal with them by uncharitably applying them to other people.

  12. “My current theory is that they are just too difficult to apply to ourselves, so we mostly deal with them by uncharitably applying them to other people.”

    I would say this is a general problem with out we naturally apply morality. It’s very hard to be even handed in part because we seemed to be wired to be a little self delusional about our own goodness while pretty accurate about others.

    Another thought… this is a little difficult to express such to make sense. But I think we use morality to determine whether or not we’re going to be tolerant. We all want tolerance towards ourselves and, since we know our own mind (or do we?) we are pretty sure we *deserve* tolerance since we know we mean well.

    The reason the commenter I’m quoting couldn’t see his own inconsisency is because he has a moral world view that is really a projection of what heaven (or some ultimate history in any case, whatever that means) is like. What is the ideal society like? i.e. Heaven.

    In his world, the LDS Church would be a certain way. My suggestions are moving in the wrong direction from that ideal in his head. Therefore, I deserve moral condemnation. But if I do the same back it is clear to him that I’m trying to move the Church in the wrong direction away from the correct view of heaven, therefore he does not deserver any moral condemnation and therefore I’m just being a jerk.

    So in short, we separate ‘jerk’ from ‘appropriate moral condemnation’ based on what we believe ultimate history (heaven) is to be like. That’s why we are inconsistent in asking for and giving tolerance.

    This is also why I chuckle over people at a blog like BCC (or here or anywhere) saying that their comment policy is “don’t be a jerk.” Because we decide what is “being a jerk” largely based on whether or not someone is following our personal moral worldview. It’s a very difficult problem to solve.

  13. “It’s very hard to be even handed in part because we seemed to be wired to be a little self delusional about our own goodness while pretty accurate about others. ”

    Except for those who rate themselves as moderately to seriously depressed. Though which is the cause and which is the effect I don’t know.

    “So in short, we separate ‘jerk’ from ‘appropriate moral condemnation’ based on what we believe ultimate history (heaven) is to be like.”

    To an extent this is universal, but I believe that its partly a modern deformation, because in modern times we’ve made it easier to treat argument as just a means to an end by asserting that that is all that arguments are, and also because modernity has made the idea of some glorious future state to which we are progressing and towards which it is our duty to progress more prevalent.

  14. Hmm, interesting ideas.

    It occurs to me that we’ve always had some sort of ‘view of heaven’ or belief in an ‘ultimate history.’ It’s just that before modernity that view was often literally heaven and has now been largely supplanted by various views of Utopia.

    Someone is now going to say that Utopian ideas have always been around and just look at Plato. I’ve never read Plato. (And hope to never do so.) So no comment.

    “because in modern times we’ve made it easier to treat argument as just a means to an end by asserting that that is all that arguments are”

    Question for you here. Do we believe that or do we merely say it? I wonder this because if you look at, say, internet arguments, it’s pretty obvious that people think their arguments are terribly important in some way — even while saying pretty much exactly what you just said. In fact it sometimes seems to me that people think their arugments are like life and death important — particularly if we’re talking politics.

  15. Bruce, your application of morality hits the nail on the head. Anytime anyone uses their own sense of morality to make value judgements, they must nescessarily judge opposing views to be “immoral.” You are no different than the commentator you quote, because you yourself judge him from your own sense of morality. You have the same amount of morality and moral indignation, it is just placed differently. Like those who are morally indignant at gay marriage because it marks the deterioration of traditional moral values, and those who are morally indignant at anti-gay marriage because it is prejudiced and unfair.

    But if you recognize the commentator as a moral person, who is behaving morally, how can you condemn him for using his morality, because you also use morality? Would you rather have him be amoral, completely impartial? Is the only way for him to be justified in your eyes, for him to confess that his opinions are in fact, immoral, or for him to be amoral, saying in effect, “well I think this, but I don’t judge anyone else for thinking differently.”?

    Personally, I aspire to amorality, to complete and total tollerance. I try to make value judgements, not based upon subjective moral feelings of repugnance, but upon my own empiracle experience, which by definition is completely subjective, and confesses itself so to be. I am a Mormon for one reason and one reason only. I heard a voice say “come follow me.” But I don’t judge anyone else for not having heard that voice, or for having heard a voice say something contrary to what the voice said to me. My sister-in-law hear God tell her that the church was not true. Who am I to question what God told her? If I expect her to accept to my testimony, I will accept hers.

  16. You make good points, Nate.

    But now I have to ask these questions:

    1. Am I morally condemning the commenter?
    2. If I am, what am I morally condemning him on? Is it, as you say, “for using his morality?”
    3. Am I saying he makes no valid point?
    4. Am I purposing an alternative to his approach? (Directly or indirectly)

  17. “Do we believe that or do we merely say it? ”

    Some of both, I think. No one is consistent about that, since its impossible to be. But it’s there, and I think it makes a difference at least at the margins. The logic that the other side does it, so we have to also, is very tempting.

    Anyhow, in vociferous internet discussions its hard to sort out how passionately people believe in their argument from how passionately they believe in the conclusion to which the argument is the means.

  18. “Personally, I aspire to amorality, to complete and total tollerance. I try to make value judgements, not based upon subjective moral feelings of repugnance, but upon my own empirical experience, which by definition is completely subjective, and confesses itself so to be. I am a Mormon for one reason and one reason only. I heard a voice say “come follow me.” ”

    You have a point, up to a point, but only up to a point. The voice that says ‘come, follow me’ is pointing to something outside you, by definition. One can’t follow oneself. So when the Spirit says ‘lo here, this is the truth’ it would be disobedient to that experience to treat is as something purely subjective and personal.

  19. “Anyhow, in vociferous internet discussions its hard to sort out how passionately people believe in their argument from how passionately they believe in the conclusion to which the argument is the means.”

    This should be a bumper sticker or wall plack or something.

    You know I don’t fully agree with Haidt, but it is interesting that his studies suggested that moral arguments are usually means to a conclusion.

  20. 1. Am I morally condemning the commenter?
    2. If I am, what am I morally condemning him on? Is it, as you say, “for using his morality?”
    3. Am I saying he makes no valid point?
    4. Am I purposing an alternative to his approach? (Directly or indirectly)

    I think that you are, in the nicest possible way, you are condemning him. You call his view “a deception,” you say you are “hurt by his untruths.” His points are not valid because they are said frankly to be “untrue.”

    I don’t know that you are proposing an alternative approach either. Rather you are bemoaning the fact that in our humanity, and in our mutually exclusive morality, there are no good solutions.

  21. Actually, I was not assuming the commenter is using the intentionally misleading techniques mentioned. If he is, then you are right that I was morally condemning him in that way even if I didn’t know I was.

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume you’re right. That actually means I am morally condemning him in two ways then. The way I was thinking of and the way you were.

    In any case, you are correct. I am morally condemning him in my OP that led to this post now that we’re assuming he is using the techniques in question.

    However, after writing the post and having comments made, I actually backed off a bit, so I guess I have my “back off” position more in mind rather than specifically the post itself:

    http://www.millennialstar.org/cultural-mormons-welcome-but-please-dont-be-deceptive/comment-page-1/#comment-65286

    My final position was that this is intentionally misleading — this is beyond doubt –and that I’m using the word “deception” to be limited to mean “intentionally misleading.”

    I think, Nate, the reason you keep saying “deception” in quotes is because you can’t argue that its intentionally misleading, but you feel it has a moral purpose in some cases and that if it has a moral purpose than maybe “deception” is the wrong word becaues maybe “deception” means more than merely “intentionally misleading” but instead also carries the nuance of “for a bad purpose.”

    Am I correct on this? If you actually believe the above are NOT intentionally misleading, then I’m prepared to argue with you directly on that point as clearly it is. *But* I’m prepared to accept that not all intentions to mislead are immoral. And I’m even prepared to accept that in some cases the techniques above are therefore perhaps not immoral.

    But note that I also said that its hard for me to imagine *ever* recommending these sorts of misleading statements to someone else and I have a hard time believing that in the vast majority of circumstances there aren’t better ways to handle this.

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume that someone is using these intentionally misleading techniques and that they are also doing it with God’s approval, as you suggest. So in such a case, this is a “good” case of intentionally misleading someone. If we can to call it a “good deception” or avoid the word “deception” all together due to connotations, that’s fine with me and I’ll accept whichever wording you prefer.

    Does this clarify my actual position then?

    So it is not clear to me if I am actually morally condemning the commenter the way you are saying. Perhaps he is using these techniques to intentionally mislead and perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps he is doing so, but with God’s permission. I am not prepare to judge the individual on this.

    But I don’t see how this in any way makes the point I make unworthy of discussion. And the commenter is very specifically saying it is immoral to discuss it and I am very definitely morally condemning him for trying to use morality as “conversation stopper” as a sort of intimidation so that the topic isn’t discussed at all. This is a complex subject that *need* further discussion in a forum that isn’t the Church meetings themselves.

    So in my mind (at least at the time) I only saw myself as morally condemning him for trying to shut down the conversation using a technique that is equivalent to the one he is claiming needs to be shut down. It is the inconsisency I am against. And I am suggesting as an alternative actual tolerance of the other opinion.

    Now since I did change my opinion due to the conversation, you can’t really claim that I was trying to shut anyone down altogether. What I really want is for people to think harder about the full impact of intentionally misleading statements before they just default to using them.

  22. Bruce, regarding deception, you want to make it clear you stand against anything that is deceptive “for a bad purpose.” But you would tolerate a benign deception, maybe like God saying hell is a place of eternal fire and brimstone, “that it might be more express upon their minds.”

    However, I cannot imagine any “revisionist” Mormons as you call them, purposefully sharing beliefs with malignant intentions. Even Korihor, when pressed, confessed that he was acting in response to a revelation from an angel, and thus was honestly decieving people for what he thought was good intent. Jesus even said, “Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that whosoever shall kill you will believe they do God’s work.” The road to hell is not paved with good intentions. Jesus forgives those “who know not what they do.” Good intentions have eternal significance, even if they create dissonances here in mortality. Saul is the same man as Paul. He only asks one thing of the Lord, “What wilt thou have me to do?”

    So I think its very important to recognize that almost everyone has good and moral intentions, even if they are knowingly using deception to further their noble goals. What you are really saying is that these revisionists are self-decieved, and they are dragging other people into their own self-deception.

    I think it is a very different thing to see someone as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, than it is to see someone as the blind leading the blind. It is more generous, and more true to judge someone as “blind” than as a “wolf.” Then it becomes a matter of bringing light to shine in darkness, not a knife to protect the sheep from the wolf. Whoso takes the sword shall perish by the sword.

    When you speak of “being hurt” by the philosophies of revisionist Mormons, you are obviously speaking of something real, something frightening, a pain you have personally experienced which you want to protect people you love from. This is understandable. But we cannot live in a sanitized world. We cannot be protected from the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. Like Adam and Eve, we listen to them too. It’s just that we give prefrence to messengers from our Father. But we listen, we discuss, we shine light when we have light to give, and we ask questions when we honestly seek answers. And if we see someone as misguided, we seek in all gentleness to lead them back to the light, which seems to be your manner.

  23. Nate, I think, in principle, I agree with you. But let’s be clear that I never used the term “wolf in sheeps clothing” so that is your interpretation of me, not my interpretation of me.

    I do think you are right that all people honestly believe they are doing good no matter how bad they are doing. Adam assures me he knows of exceptions and there are probably are somewhere out there. But I think it is a fair bet that when “revisionist Mormons” reposition themselves in such a way that they intentionally mislead someone for the sake of ‘getting past their defenses’ that they always honestly believe that what they are doing is moral due to the noble cause even while they loudly condemn far less offenses in those that they see in the Brethren.

    But I do not believe there is no solution to this problem. I just believe it’s difficult because we are human.

    Which is why I am not against moral condemnation, per se. (Yes, it should be done as gently as possible for the circumstance, of course.) But rather against shouting people down using “conversation stoppers.”

    We have two people morally condeming each other. He me and I him. But we are not morally condemning each other over the same thing or in the same way or even with the same tone. (Allowing for the fact that I changed over time, I perhaps started to strong and had to adjust as I realized that. But I should be soley judge by my final state, not my starting state.)

    To me the question is the golden rule. If I am to morally condemn someone it should (in theory — accepting that I’m self deceived too) be in a way that I’m prepared to take from someone else. That is why I call attention to this specific case. For its clearly a condemnation that the commenter is wholly against when its on the other foot. He is merely being inconsistent in how he treats people compared to how he wants to be treated.

    And yet, I see that this is probably the best he can do with where he is at. So I acknowledge in my post the underlying point about as straightforwardly as I can think to do it and admit he’s right about his underlying point.

    Then I morally condemn how he did it and point out that his argument is incomplete because it cuts both ways.

    Honestly, I had thought about claiming that I wasn’t morally condemning him at all but rather just “pointing out the inconsistency and suggesting how it could have been done better.” But then I realized that this was the same as a moral condemnation, so I might as well just admit it and accept it and then make my arguments from there.

    I also note that you are morally condemning me at least as much as I him. But I am taking it without offense precisely because you are handling it so dang well. This is literally the type of tolerant conversation I am hoping to encourage where we learn from one another the most possible.

    But if two people can’t have what we have, the fact is that morally yelling at each other isn’t entirely useless either. So they can at least do that much and please proceed.

  24. Bruce, actually, I don’t intend to morally condemn you, because I don’t want to condemn your moral condemnation. I recognize the value we have in this world of people who believe strongly in themselves and their perspectives. Even prejudice has its advantages. I suspect that probably the most successful and influential people in the world have not been liberally-minded people who try to see the good in everything, but strong partisans of their world view. Without this extreme partiality, they would not have the passion to remake the world in the image of their ideal. Of course it comes with drawbacks, but one must not through the baby out with the bathwater.

    We are destined for conflict. Even some happily married couples can go through an entire life while holding diametrically opposed points of view, and even completely different kinds of morality. They deal with these conflicts, not by constantly fighting about them, but by ignoring them, or treating them with good humor. But rarely does someone actually cede their moral high ground to resolve conflict, nor should they necessarily.

    Me, I’m a bit different, in that I am a bit of a moral voyeur. I’m partial to liberal persepctives, but I’m loathe to condemn another point of view. I strive for amorality, as I mentioned before. I don’t believe that for me, morality is nescessary. I have commandments, I have revelations, I have my own unique experiences. But it is not nescessary for me to universalize my own experience of reality. Unlike others, I’m not trying to remake the world in my own moral image. But we need people who do, so I celebrate them.

  25. While I do not believe you are not morally condeming me any more than I believe I was not condemning the commeter, I do believe you are right to do so. So I don’t see it as a problem. No, I mean to say I see it as a good thing. We should all morally challenge each other and encourage moral improvements in one another. You are doing that to me and I to you. It is as it should be.

    But I think the way you put it works too. And I agree with you that we need partisans and that conflict is the source of progress. This might be where I disagree with you. I am not sure. You sometimes sound like you think conflict good and sometimes seem to be discouraging it. (I mean in that last post, not necessarily in general.) Me? Conflict is often better than no conflict, but some conflict is handled MUCH better than other conflicts. So I want to encourage the better kinds of conflict. To me, tolerance is simply a word for consistency — for treating others you disagree with the way you want to be treated by those that disagree with you. Tolerance has no meaning outside of how we treat our (ideological) enemies that we disagree with.

Comments are closed.