ETHICS AND MORALITY.

ETHICS AND MORALITY.-  PERSONAL ETHICS VS INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS, OR FINDING GOD VS FORCING GOD. PT 7.





Mother, Daughter, Love, Sunset, Mar

ETHICS AND MORALITY- HEALTH CARE.  PT 1.

I am not going to begin this regular feature by providing a definition that will no doubt bore most readers.  In the future, I will define such words, but I would rather open up with a practical article.  The theme, " When does personal belief conflict with the best interests of society as a whole." The subject- Health Care.
Providing Health Insurance to every person residing in the U.S and its' territories, is not an economic question.  If the federal government creates a program to provide minimal guaranteed medical coverage, funding must be there to support those who cannot afford traditional private plans. This is the Heart of the matter, and the dilemmas we must face are;

  • Do we, as a society, have an obligation to provide minimal affordable medical care to all.
  • That many people will, through taxation, provide a service that will be of direct benefit to others and not them personally.
  • That in the question of the right or wrong of a given situation, choosing a moral stand is;
             
            1) The responsibility of the individual who is a member of society.
             
            2) The obligation of the governing body in society, which is a collection
                of individuals.

To illustrate what I mean, here is an example.  Let us say an individual decides all questions of morality will be answered from a Doctrine based upon the teachings of a given faith.  Now such decisions have two distinct implications;

  • Is the individual going to decide the morality of any given situation solely by religious instruction and nothing else. If not, they have invalidated their own moral code, for it is not universally applied. It contradicts any assertion that the doctrine of their faith, regarding morality, is to be accepted absolutely.
  • Does the individual wish to establish this system of morality for all of society, and punish any deviations. If society is populated by a majority of such citizens, what will be the outcome?

See PT 2 in a future issue.

6/16/2013.









ETHICS AND MORALITY- HEALTH CARE.  PT 2.

I would like to emphasize something I alluded to in part 1.  Too often, the health care debate gets mired in details that have little to do with the reality that must be faced.  Initially, at least, HEALTH CARE BEING APPLIED UNIVERSALLY TO AN ENTIRE POPULATION OF ANY GIVEN COUNTRY IS A MORAL DECISION , NOT AN ECONOMIC ONE.


Red Cross, Humanitarian Aid


Like other state run social programs in the U.S, Universal Health Care is not designed to turn a profit.  Its' goal is to provide affordable medical insurance that will not cripple an individual or families ability to provide for other basic necessities.  This idea stems from the primarily 20th century concept that government has an obligation to provide for, to a certain extent, the basic needs of a portion of the population that cannot do so on its' own.  However, unlike current social programs, Universal Health Care in the U.S differs from other social programs in one major aspect- ELIGIBILITY.

As it stands today in the U.S, there are three main groups that have medical insurance.

  • Those who have high enough incomes that make attaining quality health care plans a non-issue.
  • Private health care plans that are partially or wholly subsidized by an employer.
  • Individuals and families with an income that falls below a certain level, which is set by the federal government.

These above groups leave out a substantial portion of the population in the U.S. This segment of society is the real reason that Universal Health Care, or "Obamacare" is being instituted.  The middle class is the target group that will benefit the most, because they do not lie at either end of the financial spectrum in terms of income.  Since paying health insurance premiums will be done on a sliding scale basis, all Americans will be covered in a way that does not end in financial hardship.
See pt. 3 in a future issue.

Date-7/20/2013.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY.

Boy, Beach, Dream, Vision Future
















IT IS ON YOU...
(First published on examiner.com, partially rewritten here.)

It is on you...
...if you help elect an official, with the belief that they owe you special treatment.
For you are not alone.

It is on you...
...when cheating others is a game.
But you expect fair treatment in 
return.

It is on you...
...if you believe your faith trumps all others, and should be legislated into law.
Then find your opponents want to create laws that obey their own personal religious doctrine.

It is on you..
...when you complain about taxes.
Then criticize government when it does not spend enough to support programs that benefit you.

It is on you...
...when you complain that the criminal justice system is to soft on criminals.
Then look for "contacts" who will pull a few strings to help you avoid responsibility for your actions.

It is on you...
...when you despair about how others talk behind your back.
Yet you gladly join in, trashing others.

It is on you...
...when you expect people to do what is right.
But don't hold yourself to the same standards.

It is on you...
...if you are a hypocrite.
For you have no real allies, or friends.
Just future opponents.

It is on you...
...is that a life worth living?

Date-8/16/2013.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY- HEALTH CARE.  PT 3.

Medicine- Not just a career, but a calling.
In the end, subsidized health care is not an economic issue.  When we say that government has an obligation to provide all citizens with affordable medical insurance,  a moral decision has been made.  That does not mean that in the future such a decision will not lead to practical benefits, where the return is not in just doing what is right.  I will get into that part of the equation in a future post, but for now I will stay on topic.

In the debate over Universal Health Care in the U.S, much of the rhetoric ignores the bottom line.  Opponents are using objections that they wish us to believe are valid and on target, but they are nothing more than a smokescreen.  They choose to criticize how the program is to be funded and administered, all the while avoiding answering the most important question;  IS PROVIDING AFFORDABLE SUBSIDIZED MEDICAL INSURANCE TO AMERICANS UNABLE TO ACQUIRE IT, THROUGH PRIVATE SOURCES, A MORAL OBLIGATION THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO ALL OF ITS' CITIZENS?

The above question is often not satisfactorily answered by the critics of subsidized health care, who
choose to attack the mechanics of the new law.  However, the criticisms are often based on misleading, false or incomplete data. This strategy is a deliberate attempt to shift the debate away from the purpose of the program and focus it on issues that are easy to manipulate. Many times this is done by using assumptions and conclusions that are not based in reality.
( Look for part 4 in a future post.).

Date- 9/22/2013.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY. 

HEALTH CARE.  PT 4.
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE- A PRACTICAL APPROACH.

Medicine, Remedy, Pill, Pills, Treatment

Thus far I have treated this subject as a question of morality.  That whether or not government has an ethical duty to provide subsidized medical insurance to its' citizens, to alleviate financial hardship.  Well, many politicians ignore this question and say requiring companies to offer such programs will lead to financial disaster.  To avoid such a consequence, they contend, businesses will be forced to downsize and take some of their full-time employees and reduce them to part-time status.  This will avoid offering mandatory health insurance.  However, is this reasoning valid or is it founded in the desire to keep many Americans without health care?  Let's create a fictional scenario;

John Doe works for the ABC company.  He works forty hours a week and makes ten dollars an hour.  His job is to operate a machine that combines two or more parts to create a finished product.  While the job is not physically demanding and does not require extensive training, his two years on the job have showed that with trial and error, he has increased his hourly out-put from ten pieces to fifteen.  It was all a matter of working more efficiently.

However, the company was now required to offer all of their full-time employees medical insurance, the cost which will be partially subsidized by the federal government.  In the end, the company estimates that coverage for John will cost them fifty-dollars a week.  So, he and other employees are reduced to part-time status of twenty-five hours a week.  Thus, the company does not have to offer health care.
This is basically the reasoning of UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE opponents.  The cost is to much to absorb and remain profitable.  However, that is a superficial criticism that avoids many other factors.

  • By reducing John Does work week by forty-percent, they are also reducing his total production of finished product by an equal ratio. Since he averages 15/hr it comes to a total of 600 for a forty-hour work week.  However, as a part-timer he now produces only 375 for the twenty-five hours worked.
  • Remember, ABC company was satisfied with John Does weekly pay, for that was not the reason for reducing him to part-time status.  It was only the addition of a health care cost that precipitated the change.
  • To justify this change, the employer cost of fifty-dollars per week for a medical plan that John Doe was entitled to as a full time employee would cause an unacceptable decline in profits.
  • Since there will be a decrease in John Does weekly production, which viewed in the past as acceptable, it must be made up in a way that will be less than fifty-dollars per week.


How could this be done?

  • Increase the workload of other employees to make up the deficiency.  If this is possible and there is no decrease in production, why was John Doe not laid-off in the past?  However, is it pragmatic to think that these employees can maintain their current level of production, when they have the added responsibility of making up for the decrease in John Does weekly out-put?
  • Hire new part-time employees to make up for the loss in production.  Even if we allow for the fact that they can equal John Does per hour production by working the fifteen hours that have been cut, it would not be of financial benefit to the company.  Even paying these employees minimum wage would still result in a cost 
  • of 105.00/wk.  As you can see, that is more than the $50.00 it would cost to cover John Does medical insurance.

Look for the conclusion of this article.

Date- 10/1/2013.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY. 

HEALTH CARE.  PT  5.
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE- A PRACTICAL APPROACH.

Medic, Hospital, Laboratory, Medical













The scenario from part 4 was, of course, a fictional example.

However, all you have to do is change the job description and plug in different numbers to find out that this can be applied to any full time employee who is down-sized to part time, to avoid being offered employer subsidized health care.

Ignoring or disagreeing with the result in the story does not answer the questions that it poses.
  • All working Americans are, in essence, producers.  It might be a Cook who prepares X number of meals per day, or a Truck Driver who makes a certain number of deliveries during a scheduled shift.  This also holds true for white-collar jobs.  Teachers produce educated students during a school year and Doctors treat a certain number of patients each day.
  • When an employee has their work hours cut and are now part-time, they can no longer produce the same results achieved during a full-time work week.
  • This reduction in out-put must be justified, if the only reason was to avoid offering Medical Insurance.
  • The bottom line is simply this; Is there a reasonable explanation in shifting any full-time employee or employees to part-time, in that it will  be more profitable because they do not have an employer based Health plan?

What the scenario does not address is the long term benefits of having an employee, who did not have medical insurance, into one that has it available if needed.  Here are a couple of more points that should be considered;
  • Many employees come to work ill, because they cannot afford the double whammy of paying a Hospitable Bill and losing a days pay.  At least with medical insurance the financial hit would not be so bad.  
  • By staying home and receiving proper care, they are not on the job possibly infecting co-workers.
  • Now preventive and rehabilitative medical care is available.  Not only is sickness treated properly, but future illness can now be prevented and injuries can be treated and healed more efficiently.  Loss of work production is decreased, for there are fewer days missed.

What amazes me is the number of Americans,without medical insurance, who don't question their politicians motivation for trying to prevent Universal Health Care.  That is a question that Medical Science cannot answer.

Date-10/3/2013.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY.

RIGHTS-  WHAT THEY ARE,  AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT.  PT 1.

Strangers are welcome here.There is perhaps no more important word, when we discuss such issues as Freedom of Choice, Protection from Governmental Interference into our lives and, yes, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Yet, the definition of RIGHTS seems to be something many don't understand. 

Even more alarmingly, there are those who define the term in different ways at different times, depending on the agenda they are supporting in the latest election cycle.

The goal of this article is to define what is meant when the word RIGHTS is used properly, and to shed light on the improper usage of the term.


In general terms, a RIGHT can be referenced and defined in several ways:

-  A Protection against Persecution for certain behaviors, that an individual or group may engage in.

-  The ability to make decisions about ones' own life, free of improper
influence or malicious retribution.

-  Protecting groups that are recognized legally, from hostile actions by those
who desire to inflict harm upon the members, without just cause.

-  Punishment administered to any individual, Either by Government, Social Organization, or Employer must be justified through defined procedures that allow the individual an opportunity to provide a proper defense to any and all charges. Further, that judgment will be based on facts and evidence that were gathered in a prescribed manner.  Of course, the degree to which these are implemented differs from the Public to the Private sector.

When speaking of Rights that are found in the Private Sector, we usually find them to be creations of contractual agreements between Employer and Employee, or in By-Laws that are part of a fraternal organizations code of conduct for members. By their very nature, these Rights affect a very select group.

This is not true in the Public Sector.
End of PT 1.  

Date-  4/7/2014.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY. 

RIGHTS- WHAT THEY ARE, AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT. PT 2.


Meadow, Away, Panorama, Mountain Hiking

Rights, when we are discussing the Public Sector, generally fall into two categories;

1)  HUMAN RIGHTS-  These are Protections, Freedoms and Guarantees that are bestowed upon individuals by virtue of their being part of the Human Race.  To a certain degree some of these may be applied to all living things, but only to a certain extent and varies depending on specific situations.

2) CITIZENS RIGHTS-  Are granted by a governing body with the legal authority over a specified jurisdiction, to individuals identified as part of the recognized civil population.  These Rights can vary greatly, depending on the source of Authority.  i.e (Constitutional Republic, Monarchy
Oligarchy, Dictatorial etc.)

This brings us to the concept of CIVIL RIGHTS, which is basically a sub-category
of CITIZENS RIGHTS. The main difference is;

     -  Rights given to all Citizens may include the ability to chose a System of Morality and/or Faith that is constructed by the individual, and is not interfered with by the State.  Further, that one cannot be held either Criminally or Civilly for Behavior or Speech that others consider offensive.

      -  Civil Rights are guarantees set up by the State/Government, that protect individuals from Malicious, Discriminatory, Arbitrary and Hateful acts that target them specifically as a single person or as part of a group.  These Rights apply to 
both the Public and Private sectors.  Civil Rights are basically set up to"Level the Playing Field", in which no single person or group has an unfair advantage over other parts of society.

However they are applied, not all Rights are created equal.  Some can never be taken away, Some are Valid only in certain cases and others may be given up voluntarily.

There is one main rule that applies to all Rights:  NO ONE CAN EXERCISE A RIGHT, WHICH AT THE SAME TIME VIOLATES THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS.
End of PT 2.






ETHICS AND MORALITY. 

RIGHTS- WHAT THEY ARE, AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT. PT 3.

Right, Human Rights, Human, Hands, Wrap
Can we break down the Hierarchy of which Category of Rights is the most important, and can supersede the others?  Yes, it is possible to do this, and the following is the result of such an analysis.

HUMAN RIGHTS-  Must, by their very nature, rank as #1.  They are the only Category of Rights that is binding on all Countries, States and Governments.  This is the goal of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, to create and enforce Laws that bind the people of all nations to a Universal set of Moral Standards in the proper treatment of every member of the Human race.

Further, that these are Rights that cannot be relinquished, even on a voluntary basis. THE BOTTOM LINE- HUMAN RIGHTS CANNOT BE DENIED, LOST OR GIVEN UP, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES.

CIVIL RIGHTS-  Are a sub-category of CITIZENS RIGHTS, but are placed on a level higher in importance. Citizens Rights may include such things as Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly etc., but may not be legally applied in every situation. This is where the Category of Civil Rights can be found.  Consider the following : 

        Example #1-  Freedom of Religion allows you to believe and promote a certain set of Moral Values.  However, the application of such values in the Public Sector may not be considered Legal.

        Example #2-  Freedom of Speech permits you to advocate and relay information to other people.  However, the Legal System may create limits on the How, When and Where such information is disseminated.

        Example #3-  Freedom of Assembly-  Allows you to Come Together and/or Associate with other like minded individuals.  A Legal problem may arise if these meetings are used for planning Criminal Activities, or for the purpose of creating situations that have a detrimental affect on other persons and groups.

These examples have one main goal:  That Government has a Moral duty to its citizens and society at large, to create restrictions on Individual Rights, for the benefit of all.
End of PT 3.










ETHICS AND MORALITY.

MORAL COWARDICE-  WHEN YOU SACRIFICE YOUR PRINCIPLES,
SO NOT TO OFFEND.  PT 1.

Books, Old Books, Reading, Literature, Education, Read

While writing about Political Issues through the years, one recurring theme I find most disturbing;  MANY AMERICANS DEMAND THAT THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS REVEAL AND STAND BY A SET OF MORAL PRINCIPLES THAT ARE EASILY IDENTIFIABLE AND UNCHANGING. YET, ARE AFRAID TO FOLLOW THIS LINE OF REASONING IN THEIR OWN LIVES.

Many individuals are deathly afraid to reveal their personal beliefs on Religion and Morality, in fear that their family or friends will ostracize them.                                                 

This has always fascinated me.  Why would any person deceive others, just to maintain a relationship built on lies?  Yes, I understand that a Human Being is essentially a Social Animal, and the need to be accepted is a fundamental desire. However, what do you sacrifice, in the name of being part of a particular social circle?

This has always fascinated me.  Why would any person deceive others, just to maintain a relationship built on lies?  Yes, I understand that a Human Being is essentially a Social Animal, and the need to be accepted is a fundamental desire. However, what do you sacrifice, in the name of being part of a particular social circle?

To be clear, I am not including the individual who is trying to interact with an extremist group, or others that are clearly irrational in nature.  Sexists, Homophobes, Religious Fanatics, Xenophobes etc., are examples of Mindsets based on Fear, Hate and a general loathing of Humanity.

This article is to ask why an Intelligent and Caring person would decide to mask their beliefs, which are genuine in nature, from those that mean the most to them.

Let me ask a question, to all of my readers. Think of the people you are closest to,they may be a relative, or a friend.  By close, I mean an individual that you consider a close confidant, in that their advice would be considered a prominent part of any important decision that you make.  Would you be afraid of offending them, if they found out that there were certain moral absolutes that you were not in agreement?

Look for PT 2.

Date-  4/10/2014.

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ETHICS AND MORALITY. 

MORAL COWARDICE.  WHEN YOU SACRIFICE YOUR PRINCIPLES,

SO NOT TO OFFEND. PT 2.

Friends, Lost, People Talking

A major part of the work that goes into publishing this site, is keeping up with current news and events.

However, it also means confronting and understanding opposing viewpoints, not only of those I have never met, but also friends and family.  What I have found to be most interesting is the reluctance of some to voice an opinion, if they are aware of those with a dissenting point of view being present.

I understand that many people will go out of their way to avoid confrontation.  The desire to be liked and accepted is so strong in some individuals, that they will try to find a way to make everyone happy. This includes being a passive witness and listener, even when someone is ridiculing and disrespecting an opinion or belief they hold dear.  Even more disturbing, this can extend to the point of ignoring inaccurate or wrong information being transmitted to others, by an individual who clearly does not understand the facts of a given situation.

I have often found this to be true of a person promoting an idea that supports a certain world view that cannot stand up to close scrutiny.  They bend or distort information in a way that fits neatly with their conception of reality, even if it violates the Rules of Logic and Critical Thinking.

Now the point of confronting such irrational and clearly invalid lines of reasoning, is not to attempt to change the mind of the offending individual.  Usually, this would be a pointless exercise, for they have already exhibited a capacity to ignore anything that would conflict with their viewpoint.  As we have seen, especially when we examine certain decisions made by Juries in Criminal Trials, that some people lack the ability or willingness to make decisions in a rational manner.
Look for PT 3.





ETHICS AND MORALITY. 


MORAL COWARDICE-  WHEN YOU SACRIFICE YOUR PRINCIPLES,
SO NOT TO OFFEND. PT 3.                                

Man, Silhouette, Embrace, InternetIn Today's Political Environment, as has happened in the recent past, the vicious nature of public commentary is again forcing Rational Discourse to the sidelines.  You cannot turn on the Radio or Television, without hearing the incoherent rambling of some Political Pundit.  Insults, Threats and Bad Information are the norm. Modern Technology has changed the very nature of how Political and Social debate is now conducted in the Public Spectrum, in comparison to Decades past. I am of course referring to Cable Television and the Internet.

Before the worldwide expansion of the Internet, and the introduction of Cable Television into private homes, Political News, Commentary and Review Programs represented a very small part of what was broadcast over the air.  Prior to the 1980s most homes received programming from the three major Networks: CBS, NBC and ABC, and maybe several local UHF Channels and PBS.  Legendary shows such as SEE IT NOW, SIXTY MINUTES, MACNEIL\ LEHRER and the National Evening News provided the vast majority of Over the Air viewing regarding Political News and Information. 

Additionally, Newspapers and Magazines, once Bastions of "In- Depth" Investigative Reporting and "From the Scene" Articles , are now struggling to stay afloat financially. The Reason: In the past, these elements of the Media prided themselves on the Professionalism, Integrity, Honesty and Accuracy of the information they presented to the public, and this led to the trust and esteem that the News Media relied on to succeed.

Unfortunately, the proliferation of so-called "News Stations and Programs", and the ability to place anything on the Internet regardless of Truth or Lack of Critical Construction or Validity, has led to the rapid increase in Bogus, Irrational, Racist, Bigoted, Homophobic etc. news items.  Such Reporting will never make it past the Editorial Standards of true Journalistic Professionals, who value truth and integrity.

The real sadness is not the Irrational or Closed- Minded people who report and thrive off the Hate and Misery they feel, and want to inflict on others through false and misleading information.  These people have probably always been with us, and maybe always will.  However, Moral Cowardice does not challenge or refute information known to be wrong, and allows this Bullying of the Innocent to continue without confrontation or contradiction.
Look for PT 4.









ETHICS AND MORALITY.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE? PT 1.
Sun, Meadow, Only, Landscape, Nature











It is Suppose to be one of the Most "HUMANE" Acts one Person can do for another.  That no Matter How Much you have been hurt by SOMEONE ELSE, be it MENTAL , PHYSICAL, OR BOTH, TO "FORGIVE" THE ACTIONS AGAINST YOU IS CONSIDERED TO BE NOBLE AND VIRTUOUS. 

Yet, at the same Time, even though "FORGIVENESS" IS SUPPOSE TO BE A VOLUNTARY DECISION BY THE "VICTIM,"  IF IT IS NOT OFFERED, THE ONE WHO HAS BEEN HARMED IS CONSIDERED TO HAVE COMMITTED A MORAL TRANSGRESSION AGAINST THE ONE WHO VICTIMIZED THEM.

It is a Fascinating example of how Some People Believe that taking the "HIGH ROAD," especially if They are Talking about someone elses Victimization, must be part of the ROAD TO RECOVERY IN OVERCOMING THE PAIN AND ANGUISH THAT HAS BEEN INFLICTED ON THEM.

HOWEVER, JUST WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE ANOTHER?  Does it Mean the Same Thing to Everyone, or DOES THE DEFINITION OF "FORGIVENESS" CHANGE DEPENDING ON THOSE INVOLVED, OR PERHAPS THE SITUATION/EVENT THAT LED UP TO SUCH A DECISION POSSIBLY BEING MADE.

Lets Create a Basic Example.

-  An Individual Decides to Act in a Way that is considered a FREE CHOICE.

-  This Action may result in the Direct Harming of Another, and it is 
a possibility that any Reasonable Person would be aware of.

-  Ignoring the Possible Consequences, the Individual Acts, and Harm
comes to someone else, who in no way contributed to the NEGATIVE 
RESULT that has been Inflicted on Them.

STOPPING HERE, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES OR DEVELOPMENTS WOULD YOU WOULD YOU CONSIDER "FORGIVENESS" AS A JUSTIFIED EXPECTATION OF THE "TRANSGRESSOR,"  AND A MORAL REQUIREMENT OF THE "VICTIM?"  IF SO, WHAT WOULD "FORGIVENESS" CONSIST OF.

END OF PART 1.






ETHICS AND MORALITY. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE? PT 2.


Woman, Thoughtful, Pensive, Young, Face

I Ended Part 1 with an example, and a "WHAT WOULD YOU DO?" Question.  However, You may have noticed that Answering such a Challenge isn't easy.  Nor should it be.  "FORGIVENESS" is not the Simplistic Concept Many would have you believe, for it contains Different Elements and Levels that are Unique to each Situation.

Those who believe that Short and Quick Resolutions are the Answer to Resolving Conflicts, sometime begin Their Advice with words like the following;

-  "He's really sorry for what he did, you should forgive him."

-  "She's not like that usually, it won't happen again, don't worry about it."

-  "You pushed the Wrong Buttons, you know how they are.  Watch it 
next time."

THIRD PARTY INDIVIDUALS are usually the ones to offer such "ADVICE."  Either by Design, Ignorance or Fear, They seek to place the BURDEN OF RESOLVING THE SITUATION ON THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HARMED, OFTEN WITHOUT ANY SANCTIONS AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE CAUSED THE SUFFERING. 

It is just another CASE OF BLAMING THE VICTIM.

So where do We Start?  How and When should "FORGIVENESS" BE OFFERED, AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES?

How about Defining "FORGIVE."

THIS IS THE DEFINITION TAKEN FROM THE MERRIAM- WEBSTER DICTIONARY.

: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) 
: to stop blaming (someone)
: to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)

THIS IS TAKEN FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA- BERKELEY "GREATER GOOD."  THE SCIENCE OF A MEANINGFUL LIFE, WEBSITE.

What Is Forgiveness?
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.


These Definitions are fairly close to others I came across, and all have Basically the same things in common.

HOWEVER, THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT THINGS THAT SHOULD BE NOTICED:

-  BOTH DEFINITIONS REQUIRE NOTHING FROM THE INDIVIDUAL(S) WHO HAVE CAUSED THE PHYSICAL OR MENTAL TRAUMA.

-  BOTH USE THE TERM "FEELINGS,"  AS A NEGATIVE DESCRIPTION REGARDING HOW THE VICTIM CONTINUES TO PERCEIVE THE PERSON AND ACTIONS THAT HAVE HURT THEM.

THIS LEADS US TO THE FOLLOWING:

IS "FORGIVENESS" JUST ANOTHER FORM OF "ACCEPTANCE," SINCE NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN THE "VICTIM" AND THE "PERPETRATOR?"

WHY IS CONTINUING TO JUDGE THOSE WHO HAVE HARMED YOU SOMETHING THAT MUST BE OVERCOME, IF THE INDIVIDUAL(S) INVOLVED HAVE NOT ALTERED THEIR PERSONAL BEHAVIOR, WHICH MAY CONTINUE TO CAUSE PAIN AND SUFFERING TO YOU AND OTHERS? 

END OF PT 2.










ETHICS AND MORALITY. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE? PT 3.

Men, Thinking, Man, Thinking Man, Male

Unfortunately, it seems that the Definition of FORGIVENESS IGNORES TOO MANY IMPORTANT FACTORS. We are expected to apply it to ALL SITUATIONS IN WHICH HARM HAS BEEN INFLICTED UPON US, EITHER DIRECTLY, OR THROUGH THE HURT AND PAIN CAUSED TO OTHERS WHOSE PERSONAL WELFARE AFFECTS US EMOTIONALLY AND/OR INTELLECTUALLY.

Yet not every Situation is the Same, and Certain Important Details are often Ignored.  As I Mentioned Earlier, This Includes the Future Actions of Those Who have Caused Harm, and whether or not there is any Adjustment in the Type of Personal Behavior that led to the Negative Consequences that were Inflicted on Those Innocent of any Immoral or Illegal Behavior.

However, that is the Final Evaluation;

-  After the Act has been Committed.

-  When the Affects of such Behavior have become known,
at least the Physical, on the Victim(s). ( Mentally, the Victim 
may Suffer Ill- Effects for Years, which may not always be Readily Apparent.)

-  Once Punishment, (Through the Legal System) , has been Exacted.

-  WHEN RESTITUTION , if it is Possible, is made to make THE VICTIM WHOLE, or as Close To as is Possible.

However, that is all Done AFTER THE FACT.  It is at This Point that the Expectation of FORGIVENESS is Usually Confronted, whether or not it 
should be Offered, and if not, WHY?

THIS TYPE OF REASONING EXCLUDES THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT
OF ALL, WHEN WE JUDGE THE ACTIONS OF ANOTHER:  

WHAT LED TO BEHAVIOR THAT CAUSED INJURY OR SUFFERING, AND 
HOW DOES THIS MITIGATE OR ALTER THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE HOLD THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES RESULTING FROM THEIR ACTIONS.


IT IS THE IDEA OF JUDGING THE INTENT VS JUDGING THE OUTCOME.

END OF PT 3.







ETHICS AND MORALITY.  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE? PT 4.

Girl, Beauty, Beautiful Girl, Female

IT IS THE IDEA OF JUDGING THE INTENT VS JUDGING THE OUTCOME.

That I Believe, is the Reason there is so much Confusion, Anxiety, and Distress when it comes to the Concept of Forgiveness.

Why?  Consider the Following.

-  WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FORGIVING AN INDIVIDUAL WHO COMMITS AN IMMORAL ACT THAT RESULTS IN CATASTROPHIC NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES, AND ANOTHER PERSON WHO COMMITS THE SAME ACT, WHICH DOES NOT RESULT IN ANY MEANINGFUL HARM TO ANYONE?

-  IS A PERSON WHO SETS OUT TO HURT ANOTHER BY COMMITTING OR PERFORMING CERTAIN ACTIONS, LESS DESERVING OF FORGIVENESS THAN ANOTHER WHO ACTED IN THE SAME MANNER, BUT DID NOT WANT TO CAUSE SUFFERING?

-  IS FORGIVENESS A GIFT YOU GIVE ANOTHER REGARDLESS OF THE PARTICULAR ACT THAT CAUSED UNWANTED PAIN AND SUFFERING?

-  IS GENUINE REGRET, BECAUSE OF AN EMPATHETIC EPIPHANY THAT WAS NOT EXPRESSED EARLIER, A REASON FOR FORGIVENESS?

-  SHOULD YOU FORGIVE ANOTHER, IF THEY ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS?

FINALLY, IF A PERSON CHOOSES NOT TO FORGIVE ANOTHER, CAN THEIR DECISION BE CONSIDERED IMMORAL?






ETHICS AND MORALITY. PERSONAL ETHICS VS INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS, OR FINDING GOD VS FORCING GOD. PART 1.



Clouds, Air, Storm, Orange, Blue

Why is it that people with certain Moral Beliefs, automatically feel it is their mission to see that others also adopt this same ETHICAL SYSTEM?

What is even more Disturbing, is their desire to see it instituted into Law, either by Statute or Judicial Decree.  Unfortunately, the Lack of Freedom to Choose never seems to bother them, unless it inhibits their own ability to make Individual Decisions.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION, AS A RIGHT, INCLUDES THE ABILITY TO OBEY OR DISOBEY ANY FORM OF RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE.  IT IS NOT A MATTER OF SELECTING WHICH FORMS OF FAITH CAN BE LEGALIZED, AND ADJUSTING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO CONFORM.  NONE OF THEM ARE TO BE PART OF ANY CODE OF LAW, BECAUSE THE CONCEPT OF 'FREEDOM OF RELIGION' WOULD BE MEANINGLESS. 

A Response to this could be something like : "The Word of God is Absolute, we must Convert or Convince others that their only hope for Salvation is accepting Scripture, and Submitting to Gods Will."

This type of Response makes the following Assumptions;

-  DEFINING "GOD" IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY, AND MUST BE ACCEPTED.

-  That Their DEFINITION OF GOD IS THE CORRECT ONE.

-  THAT FAITH ALONE IS REQUIRED AND NECESSARY.  NO LOGICAL PROOFS, OR SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY IS NEEDED TO "KNOW THE TRUTH."

-  That GOD HAS REVEALED INSTRUCTIONS FOR A MORAL LIFE, THROUGH INTERPRETATIONS OF SPECIFIC TEXTS, WHICH MUST BE ACCEPTED AS TRUE AND INFALLIBLE.

-  "SALVATION" IS A DESIRABLE GOAL , THAT CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED BY OBEYING THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Now there is nothing UNCONSTITUTIONAL OR ILLEGAL about believing any of the above.  A FREE SOCIETY allows each of us to find answers on our own, and being able to share our BELIEFS OR FAITH with others.

HOWEVER, THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONVERTING OR CONVINCING SOMEONE TO ACT OR BELIEVE CERTAIN RELIGIOUS DEFINITIONS OR ABSOLUTES VOLUNTARILY, AND FORCING THEM TO THROUGH THREATS OF CRIMINAL OR CIVIL SANCTIONS INSTITUTED INTO LAW.

LOOK FOR PT 2 IN A FUTURE POST.  








ETHICS AND MORALITY. PERSONAL ETHICS VS INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS, OR FINDING GOD VS FORCING GOD. PART 2.



Coastal Landscape, Sea, Mediterranean


Unfortunately, throughout Human History, Many Religions and Faiths 
have exported Their Religious Beliefs and Practices at the point of a Sword.  Adapt or Die.

Sometimes it is Different Denominations or Sects within the Same RELIGION, supposedly Worshiping the same GOD, who have engaged in Fights to the Death.

Yet, there are cases of Empires and Nations showing Tolerance to the Belief Systems of People who Inhabit recently acquired Territory or Land.

What causes One form of Government to behave in a manner that Persecutes, and another to show Understanding and Acceptance?


I think it may lie with THE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, OR THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH THAT IS ESPOUSED BY THOSE IN POWER OR AUTHORITY, THAT WILL GIVE US AN INDICATION OF HOW OPPOSITION RELIGIOUS GROUPS WILL BE TREATED.

To Clarify, consider the following Two examples.

Government # 1 is Ceded Land that was Formerly controlled by an opposing Nation.  This Government is now responsible for Administering and Enforcing Economic, Social and Legal Programs that are part of its Infrastructure, into the Newly Acquired Territory.

There is a Problem;  The Dominant Religion in this Area, by number of Adherents, is Relatively Small compared to other Faiths within Government #1's Borders.

However, the New Government has a Policy that Recognizes the Following:  THAT LAWS GOVERNING MORAL BEHAVIOR AND RELIGIOUS FAITH, ONLY ADDRESS ISSUES THAT WILL AFFECT THE STABILITY OR PROPER FUNCTION OF THE PRESENT FORM OF AUTHORITY. This may include such Concepts as CIVIL RIGHTS, TAXATION, CRIMINAL ACTS etc.

THIS GIVES US THE FOLLOWING:  RELIGIOUS FAITH AND WORSHIP ARE MORALLY NEUTRAL CONCEPTS LEFT TO INDIVIDUAL EVALUATION, AND ARE NOT TO BE SANCTIONED OR PUNISHED UNLESS THEY INTERFERE WITH THE GOVERNMENTS ABILITY TO SUCCESSFULLY OPERATE.

LOOK FOR THE SECOND EXAMPLE, ALONG WITH THE COMPARISON AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO, IN PART 3.





ETHICS AND MORALITY. PERSONAL ETHICS VS INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS, OR FINDING GOD VS FORCING GOD. PT 3.


The Clouds, Clouds, Sky, Heaven, White

In Part Two, we examined a Government that allows those living within its Boundaries, the opportunity to Worship Freely, and in the Manner they choose, free of Official Interference.  This Policy is Subject to Obeying Civil Laws, designed to preserve the Safety and Stability of the Standing Government.

The Moral Standard that this Type of Government Policy is Endorsing, regarding the extent of Permissible Religious Behavior and Activities to be left undisturbed, can be related as:

The Concept that Ethical and Moral Behavior, in how one chooses to live Their Life, is Meaningless if one is not free to select an Alternative without outside Intervention.  In Other Words, Coming to God and Obeying Specific Doctrines, cannot be Truly an Act of Devotion and Belief, if FORCE OR THE THREAT OF PUNISHMENT COMES FROM GOVERNMENT SOURCES.

The Government in example #1 is Defining GOD on a Very Personal Level, leaving as much as possible to Individual Interpretation, only Intervening when the Safety of All is at Risk.

NOW, let us create a second example.

The Scenario:  After an Extensive Conflict, a Peace Treaty is Drawn up between Two Countries.  In the Treaty, a Community that Lies within the Physical Boundaries of Nation A, is now to come under the Rule of Nation B, due to the Physical Borders being Altered.

This Community had been living under the Laws of Nation A, which has a Policy regarding Religious Freedom similar to that of the Country described in the First Example.

However, in this Second Example, the New Government believes that GOD GUIDES THEM DIRECTLY, AND THIS IS EXEMPLIFIED IN THEIR CODE OF LAW,  WHICH ALLOWS DIRECT INTERVENTION AGAINST ANYONE WHO DOES NOT OBEY RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE SET BY "DIVINE INSPIRATION", AS INTERPRETED BY RELIGIOUS HIERARCHY.









ETHICS AND MORALITY. PERSONAL ETHICS VS INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS, OR FINDING GOD VS FORCING GOD. PT 4.

Landscape, Blue Sky, Clouds, View, Hills

From the Two Examples, we get the Basic Controversy that exists in the U.S. Today, as well as many Nations around the World that try to separate Religious Belief, Tradition, and Form of Worship outside the Realm of Government Control;

To what Degree does Legal and Lawful Authority have over the Religious Lives of Those who live within its Borders.  What is Permissible, and free from Government Intervention, and what Constitutes Criminal or Undesirable Activity that must be Controlled or Stopped.

Remember, in part Two we had a New Government that wanted to leave as many Personal Moral Decisions as possible in the hands of the Individual, Free of Possible Intervention or Sanction.  In part Three we had just the opposite, a New Government that wanted to control the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Those within its Borders, to the Point of Punishing those who will not follow a Specific Mandate about correct Moral Behavior.

However, within the U.S., THERE IS A PROBLEM THAT TAKES THESE TYPES OF SCENARIOS, AND REVERSES THEM;  INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS THAT BELIEVE THAT THEIR RIGHT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ENTITLES THEM NOT ONLY TO WORSHIP AND BELIEVE AS THEY SO CHOSE, BUT THAT THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS MUST LEGISLATE THESE DOCTRINES INTO LAW, MAKING IT ILLEGAL NOT TO FOLLOW A SPECIFIC CODE OF ETHICAL OR MORAL CONDUCT.

It often Amazes me the number of people who claim to follow "THE PATH OF GOD", OR "FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF THE LORD", who will scream the loudest if they believe that Their Rights are being violated, YET SEEK TO FORCE EVERYONE TO OBEY THEIR OWN PERSONAL FORM OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
TO THEM THE "PATH" OR "FOLLOW", IS NOT TO BE LEFT TO INDIVIDUAL CHOICE.

Now, in the U.S., this wouldn't be a Problem if Elected and/or Appointed Officials Actually Understood or Believed in the CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE.

UNFORTUNATELY, TO ACHIEVE THE POWER AND PRESTIGE THAT COMES WITH HOLDING PUBLIC OFFICE, MANY AMERICANS ARE WILLING TO TOSS OUT THE CONCEPT OF "FREEDOM OF RELIGION", TO APPEASE THOSE WHO WANT TO LIVE IN A THEOCRACY OF THEIR OWN CREATION.