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Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Printable Version

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Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Oldavid - 04-06-2015

(04-05-2015, 10:30 PM)TerraMariana Wrote: Well said and even better explained, Oldavid, fellow Australian (the "righto" gave you away to a certain extent). Are you perhaps a disciple of Woodbury and Waters?
G'day, TerraMarina. No, I've never heard of Woodbury and Waters.


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Oldavid - 04-06-2015

(04-05-2015, 10:27 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: I don't mean to intrude in the discussion,
You're not intruding unless you consider yourself more or less than a "commoner" to have views on the subject.

Pseudo Dionisius' views are interesting but may be more interesting and provocative if translated into the idiom of today's "commoners".

I think this discussion will have to progress into the notion of free will, eh?


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - J Michael - 04-06-2015

(04-05-2015, 08:57 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-04-2015, 09:54 PM)Oldavid Wrote: For example, an intellect (to perceive truth) is due in a rational being but not in a plant. The lack of an intellect in a plant is not an evil because it doesn't belong there.

So would it be evil if a plant were to have an intellect?  If so, I have to disagree.

Quote:However, the perversion (which amounts to the partial destruction of) an intellect in a rational being is an evil because it is taking away something that necessarily belongs to the nature of the thing.

Isn't the capacity to love and be loved something that necessarily belongs to human nature?  So then, asking homosexuals to refrain from even romantic intimacy because it is a near occasion of sin would be an evil demand (I initially had written request, but then realized the Church isn't merely requesting it) from the Church.  Isn't procreation something that necessarily belongs to human nature?  So then, asking ordained clergy to either remain celibate or become celibate upon ordination is an evil demand from the Church.

Quote:Similarly w.r.t. the will; the purpose of which is to desire (moral) good and thus happiness. If it is perverted to desire a lesser good in place of a greater then that is an evil.

What makes one happy is relative to that person.  If a person is happier with a lesser good than with a greater good, insofar as it only affects them, how then could that be evil?  While I agree that it is possible to will that which is evil, the purpose of having a will is so that we can choose between two or more equally, or unequally, good things.  If there was only one morally acceptable choice, to either choose good over evil, or to choose greater good over lesser good, in each and every potential decision to be made, it would be just as unnecessary for God to have given us a will as it would have been for him to give plants an intellect.

Dearest Melkite,

In some reading I've been doing lately (Peter Kreeft) it was posited that we moderns terribly misunderstand the whole notion of "happiness".  Whereas we tend to think of it as a matter of "feeling", as in feeling good, the ancients, it said, understood it to mean "doing" good and "being" good.  On that basis, if that is true (and I tend to think it might very well be) the relativity (or is it "relativism"?) of happiness goes out the window.  And it would, of course, be understood that "good" is something  "objective" rather than "subjective", which I also think is probably true.  (Am I getting completely out of my depth yet?? :))


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Melkite - 04-06-2015

(04-06-2015, 10:42 AM)J Michael Wrote: Dearest Melkite,

In some reading I've been doing lately (Peter Kreeft) it was posited that we moderns terribly misunderstand the whole notion of "happiness".  Whereas we tend to think of it as a matter of "feeling", as in feeling good, the ancients, it said, understood it to mean "doing" good and "being" good.  On that basis, if that is true (and I tend to think it might very well be) the relativity (or is it "relativism"?) of happiness goes out the window.  And it would, of course, be understood that "good" is something  "objective" rather than "subjective", which I also think is probably true.  (Am I getting completely out of my depth yet?? :))

I would call what you are describing joy.  But even that is subjective.  What gives one person joy can be different from another person.


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Oldavid - 04-06-2015

(04-06-2015, 12:13 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-06-2015, 10:42 AM)J Michael Wrote: Dearest Melkite,

In some reading I've been doing lately (Peter Kreeft) it was posited that we moderns terribly misunderstand the whole notion of "happiness".  Whereas we tend to think of it as a matter of "feeling", as in feeling good, the ancients, it said, understood it to mean "doing" good and "being" good.  On that basis, if that is true (and I tend to think it might very well be) the relativity (or is it "relativism"?) of happiness goes out the window.  And it would, of course, be understood that "good" is something  "objective" rather than "subjective", which I also think is probably true.  (Am I getting completely out of my depth yet?? :))

I would call what you are describing joy.  But even that is subjective.  What gives one person joy can be different from another person.
What we're talking about is "good and evil". I don't think that there words in the English language to differentiate the different types of "good".  Perhaps we should confine our discussion to the type of "good" that is mostly called "virtue". Etymologically speaking, virtue is the quality of manness, that which makes a man (as in distinct from beasts).


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Melkite - 04-06-2015

(04-06-2015, 05:09 PM)Oldavid Wrote: What we're talking about is "good and evil". I don't think that there words in the English language to differentiate the different types of "good".  Perhaps we should confine our discussion to the type of "good" that is mostly called "virtue". Etymologically speaking, virtue is the quality of manness, that which makes a man (as in distinct from beasts).

If good and evil are defined by what makes a man unlike a beast, and happiness is disassociated with what gives one a sense of fulfillment in their existence, only being that which God wants one to be, then we're nothing but robots.  Or, at least, we cannot be holy unless we consent to act as robots under God's will, completely detached from our own.


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - J Michael - 04-06-2015

(04-06-2015, 12:13 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-06-2015, 10:42 AM)J Michael Wrote: Dearest Melkite,

In some reading I've been doing lately (Peter Kreeft) it was posited that we moderns terribly misunderstand the whole notion of "happiness".  Whereas we tend to think of it as a matter of "feeling", as in feeling good, the ancients, it said, understood it to mean "doing" good and "being" good.  On that basis, if that is true (and I tend to think it might very well be) the relativity (or is it "relativism"?) of happiness goes out the window.  And it would, of course, be understood that "good" is something  "objective" rather than "subjective", which I also think is probably true.  (Am I getting completely out of my depth yet?? :))

I would call what you are describing joy.  But even that is subjective.  What gives one person joy can be different from another person.

You may call it "joy" or "bob" or "cathy" or whatever you want  :) .  The fact of the matter is that the actual word being used by Kreeft and in his references to the ancient philosophers, e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, was "happiness".  Joy was discussed separately (hopefully her ears aren't burning  :LOL: .  Sorry, I find it hard to resist a good or bad pun.)


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Melkite - 04-07-2015

(04-06-2015, 07:41 PM)J Michael Wrote: You may call it "joy" or "bob" or "cathy" or whatever you want  :) .  The fact of the matter is that the actual word being used by Kreeft and in his references to the ancient philosophers, e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, was "happiness".  Joy was discussed separately (hopefully her ears aren't burning  :LOL: .  Sorry, I find it hard to resist a good or bad pun.)

I'm not really concerned with how Kreeft or the ancient philosophers used the term happiness.  I'm not even troubled by the idea that it may have meant something different in antiquity.  Language changes, that's natural.  But it has a particular meaning in use today.  Catholicism teaches that getting to Heaven means, among other things, living in eternal happiness.  The Church isn't saying "Oh, btw, when we say happiness, we really mean something other than what you are thinking."  So millions of people are walking around with a misguided understanding and hope for heaven, and the Church isn't doing anything to actively correct that?  The Church is allowing false hope?  Hmm, doesn't sound like something a divine institution would do to me.


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - J Michael - 04-07-2015

(04-07-2015, 10:57 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-06-2015, 07:41 PM)J Michael Wrote: You may call it "joy" or "bob" or "cathy" or whatever you want  :) .  The fact of the matter is that the actual word being used by Kreeft and in his references to the ancient philosophers, e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, was "happiness".  Joy was discussed separately (hopefully her ears aren't burning  :LOL: .  Sorry, I find it hard to resist a good or bad pun.)

I'm not really concerned with how Kreeft or the ancient philosophers used the term happiness.  I'm not even troubled by the idea that it may have meant something different in antiquity.  Language changes, that's natural.  But it has a particular meaning in use today.  Catholicism teaches that getting to Heaven means, among other things, living in eternal happiness.  The Church isn't saying "Oh, btw, when we say happiness, we really mean something other than what you are thinking."  So millions of people are walking around with a misguided understanding and hope for heaven, and the Church isn't doing anything to actively correct that?  The Church is allowing false hope?  Hmm, doesn't sound like something a divine institution would do to me.

You'll find any excuse or reason to criticize the Church, to find fault with her and deny her, won't you?  Is it because you are trying to find a way back to her and want us or others to provide you with air-tight, convincing arguments for doing so, or is it because you need to find ways to rationalize leaving her?  Sorry, but I had to ask.

Yes, I think we moderns ARE misguided when it comes to what "happiness" is and means, especially those of us in the West.  We equate happiness with feeling good.  And, if we don't feel good, we're not happy.  And if it feels good, do it.  And if it feels good, and we do it, it must, ergo, be good, even though the "it" may actually be objectively bad or sinful.  If the Church teaches that in heaven we will experience perfect happiness eternally.  What that means precisely for *then*, I'm not entirely sure.  But what it (happiness) means for us here and now in this life is, especially if we call ourselves Christians, has to be about being and doing objective, knowable good, rather than it being just about a subjective and relative feeling which is eminently changeable.  Is that not the or a basis for the trap of moral relativism?

By the way, I don't think it's necessarily the Church's fault we are misguided, or if it is, it is only to the extent that the Church *as (mis-) represented by some of her sons and daughters* has fallen prey to modernism and moral relativism.

I used to think, like you appear to do, that happiness was all about feeling good.  How fleeting and impermanent *that* is!!  When I began to wrap my head around the notion that it was much more than that, much more objective than that, and then found philosophers who put words to it for me, as in Kreeft, et al., things began to make much more sense.  You know, those little things like suffering and evil.


Re: Good and Evil; Commoner's Views. - Melkite - 04-07-2015

(04-07-2015, 12:54 PM)J Michael Wrote: You'll find any excuse or reason to criticize the Church, to find fault with her and deny her, won't you?  Is it because you are trying to find a way back to her and want us or others to provide you with air-tight, convincing arguments for doing so, or is it because you need to find ways to rationalize leaving her?  Sorry, but I had to ask.

No, not any excuse.  I realized that when I was Catholic, I assumed that whatever the Church taught was true, without giving it any critical thought.  Then once I actually started looking at things that didn't make sense, wrestling with trying to find a reconciliation, and not finding one, I decided I was no longer going to accept the Church's word without it proving itself.  By this, I don't mean I think no reconciliation can be found, rather I just haven't found it.  But, if the Church is going to tell me that something is objective truth, and that I must believe it or suffer eternal torment, then the burden of proof is on the Church to prove why it's correct.  The burden is not on me to blindly comply.  Some of the things I say are my way of testing to see if the hole in an argument that I perceive is really a hole, or just a shadow of something else.  I'm not omniscient, I understand that there are points I may have not considered or may not even be aware of that may change my understanding of them.  When I put something out there, and I get responses that show I'm not thinking correctly, I can weigh it to see if it adds up, and if it does, I change my mind.  If I make an accusation, and all I hear back is "Heretic!  Burn him!," then I know that either there is no answer to my accusation/question, or if there is, even the supporters within the Church don't know what that answer is.  If the former, there is no reason for me to trust the Church; if the latter, the Church, insofar as I am in touch with it, is incompetent to give me reason to have faith in it.  One thing is for sure, though; I will never give the Church the benefit of the doubt again.  If it expects me to believe something, it must show me, in a way I can understand, why I must believe it.

Quote:Yes, I think we moderns ARE misguided when it comes to what "happiness" is and means, especially those of us in the West.  We equate happiness with feeling good.  And, if we don't feel good, we're not happy.  And if it feels good, do it.  And if it feels good, and we do it, it must, ergo, be good, even though the "it" may actually be objectively bad or sinful.  If the Church teaches that in heaven we will experience perfect happiness eternally.  What that means precisely for *then*, I'm not entirely sure.  But what it (happiness) means for us here and now in this life is, especially if we call ourselves Christians, has to be about being and doing objective, knowable good, rather than it being just about a subjective and relative feeling which is eminently changeable.  Is that not the or a basis for the trap of moral relativism?

Well, yeah.  If we don't feel good, we're NOT happy.  We might not be happy when we feel good as well, but when you don't feel good, you're not happy.  You can still be joyful about things.  Happiness is a feeling; it is not a verb like love.  Happiness isn't the action of doing good.  Happiness is in the feeling of good.  When one helps out at a homeless shelter, or visits the sick or prisoners, or helps the poor, that feeling of goodness and content that one gets, that's not happiness.  It may be better than happiness, but it's not happiness.  It's something else.  For heaven to be appealing to sinners, there has to be hope that heaven can provide them with happiness greater than what they are able experience now.  If the Church is not actually promising eternal happiness, according to modern usage, but rather an eternity of...moral indentured servitude if you will, then the Church has just detached from the audience it's supposed to be preaching to.  The Church is at enmity with the lost.