The Importance of Rigorous Moral Reasoning

Morality is one of my big interests (and a personal value, of course – top-notch ethics is key). The Chronicle of Higher Education has a good, if overly long, essay (free, for now) on why even devout religious people should subject their decisions to rigorous moral reasoning. It’s so easy and tempting for us to be told what to do in certain moral quandaries. It’s so easy to do what everyone else in your religion is doing, or what God says is right, or what some book says. This does not build a resilient and accurate moral compass. It is the responsibility of every rational person to use the evidence around them and their own personal values to make critical decisions, even if it goes against the status quo of your religion. They say that true character is shown when times are tough. When times are tough, there are no easy answers, and certainly no answers that the convenience of religion can offer.

8 Responses to The Importance of Rigorous Moral Reasoning

  1. Taylor says:

    i think you’re a relativist. it’s not a dirty word. it’s just i think your thinking is a relativistic.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m beginning to think that you don’t have a girlfriend. A crazy assumption that I have.
    -Sarah

  3. Jiminy says:

    I’m so sick of hearing people go after young “smart” teenagers who sound like adults and then automatically assume they don’t have romantic lives.

    Who CARES if Ben has a girlfriend? If he doesn’t, I say all the more power to him. His focus is elsewhere right now, and I don’t consider that bad at all.

    When Comcate is a worldwide conglomerate bringing in a gazillion a year and the mere mention of Ben’s name = power, influence, money, some charity thrown in, etc., all those people who could only focus on the fact that teenagers are biologically programmed to be more interested in banging the opposite sex and smoking pot will never understand what it’s like to bang real power and sniff success that 99.9999999999% of the world can’t even fully comprehend, let alone accomplish.

    Keep driving, Ben. The minute you start having a normal thought about anything, just obliterate it.

  4. tyler willis says:

    Hey ben,

    Allow me first to apologize, comcast again missed an appt. So I’m only online very intermittently, I’m still checking blogs on the crackberry tho. I agree with your position on moral ethics but I can also understand the position of a true believer. Religious ethics come from a divine diety and are the embodiment of god. By definition god = pure good. Therefore if man disagrees with the ethos then we are simply acting on insufficient information, because a good god couldn’t give us evil actions. The more time we spend judging the moral guidelines, the less time we have to convince people to do what god has told us is good. I’m more of a moral ethicist but obviously all types are out there.

    One of the most interesting ethics questions is “are there any definite negatives.” For example murder is bad, murdering hitler in 32 can be justified by many scholarly ethicists(especially utilitarians).

    In 96 there was a conference focusing on establishing a world ethos for our ever expanding world (this is true even more today with e commerce etc.). Imagine hundreds of ethicists of all diff beliefs and types, the only negative they could all say was never good was nuclear war. I’d like to see rape added to the list, but apparently even someone could argue against that (husband can’t rape his wife and deserves sexual pleasure. Weak argument but centuries old and appartently still frequent. I think I might add an ethical component to sv junto, I love exploring it. I’d be curious to hear if you and chris would be curious in exploring that further through the blog/wiki. I will post a blog on it as soon as I get back online.

  5. tyler willis says:

    Hey ben,

    Allow me first to apologize, comcast again missed an appt. So I’m only online very intermittently, I’m still checking blogs on the crackberry tho. I agree with your position on moral ethics but I can also understand the position of a true believer. Religious ethics come from a divine diety and are the embodiment of god. By definition god = pure good. Therefore if man disagrees with the ethos then we are simply acting on insufficient information, because a good god couldn’t give us evil actions. The more time we spend judging the moral guidelines, the less time we have to convince people to do what god has told us is good. I’m more of a moral ethicist but obviously all types are out there.

    One of the most interesting ethics questions is “are there any definite negatives.” For example murder is bad, murdering hitler in 32 can be justified by many scholarly ethicists(especially utilitarians).

    In 96 there was a conference focusing on establishing a world ethos for our ever expanding world (this is true even more today with e commerce etc.). Imagine hundreds of ethicists of all diff beliefs and types, the only negative they could all say was never good was nuclear war. I’d like to see rape added to the list, but apparently even someone could argue against that (husband can’t rape his wife and deserves sexual pleasure. Weak argument but centuries old and appartently still frequent. I think I might add an ethical component to sv junto, I love exploring it. I’d be curious to hear if you and chris would be curious in exploring that further through the blog/wiki. I will post a blog on it as soon as I get back online.

  6. tyler willis says:

    Hey ben,

    Allow me first to apologize, comcast again missed an appt. So I’m only online very intermittently, I’m still checking blogs on the crackberry tho. I agree with your position on moral ethics but I can also understand the position of a true believer. Religious ethics come from a divine diety and are the embodiment of god. By definition god = pure good. Therefore if man disagrees with the ethos then we are simply acting on insufficient information, because a good god couldn’t give us evil actions. The more time we spend judging the moral guidelines, the less time we have to convince people to do what god has told us is good. I’m more of a moral ethicist but obviously all types are out there.

    One of the most interesting ethics questions is “are there any definite negatives.” For example murder is bad, murdering hitler in 32 can be justified by many scholarly ethicists(especially utilitarians).

    In 96 there was a conference focusing on establishing a world ethos for our ever expanding world (this is true even more today with e commerce etc.). Imagine hundreds of ethicists of all diff beliefs and types, the only negative they could all say was never good was nuclear war. I’d like to see rape added to the list, but apparently even someone could argue against that (husband can’t rape his wife and deserves sexual pleasure. Weak argument but centuries old and appartently still frequent. I think I might add an ethical component to sv junto, I love exploring it. I’d be curious to hear if you and chris would be curious in exploring that further through the blog/wiki. I will post a blog on it as soon as I get back online.

  7. Tyler Willis says:

    Sorry for the repeated posts, no more blackberry commenting.

    As promised heres the ethics post.
    link to blog.siliconvalleyjunto.org

  8. Sarah says:

    JIMINY: My last question wasn’t meant in a bad way. I realize it’s hard to be a teen and juggle things; throwing a relationship into it only makes things more difficult. In fact, a month ago I dumped my boyfriend. Partially it’s because he’s too pushy, and also because my education is far more important. I’ll be going off to college this year, and I don’t want to deal with a long distance relationship. Anyway, take care!

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