Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Part #2: Codes of Ethics for 2016

Continuing the 10 Commandments:

6. Don’t murder.

Such a long-standing ethical truth ought to be obvious,
but strangely many humans still disagree!

This morning's newspaper reports that two men sitting
in their sedan were shot to death in our neighborhood,
only 7 blocks from our house.

But in some ways even worse than the 11 murders here
this year, is that two secular writers, 2 weeks ago
on a web-blog, claimed that sometimes murder
isn't wrong!

One friendly poster even declared murder is only "unpleasant"!
All ethics are relative. There isn't any right or wrong,
good or evil for humans, only dislike.

What leads such former moral individuals to assert
there are no true ethics, that acts of murder
aren't wrong?

What goes on in their minds to argue such a horrendous
And what occurs in the mind of a youth
and an adult when they murder?
What is the basis of their decision?
Twisted upbringing?
Wrong worldview?
Cold procedure?
or alcohol?

However, most humans view murder as a horrendous crime, one of the worst evils. Opposition to murder has been a given in moral codes for thousands of years-- not
to murder individuals of your kin or group or nation.

But the last phrase is exactly where the moral code of the Jews, Muslims, and Christians needs to be revised.

It’s not enough to prohibit murder in one’s own society, because almost all societies and groups do that, even criminal gangs at least part of the time.

We humans need to expand/extend the prohibition against killing to go far beyond our kin and our society to include all of humanity.

NO KILLING of any humans!

No war.

No abortion-on-demand.

No capital punishment.

No euthanasia.

Caution note: "No euthanasia" doesn’t mean extraordinary
measures must be done to elderly individuals when they are
confined in hospital beds, barely coherent and near death.
This ethical guideline isn't advocating for a vegetative state,
but rather that no elderly person ought to be intentionally
killed with drugs.

Eventually humans could move toward
No killing of sentient animals.

Hopefully, more and more humans will include
not killing any animals. Good cases can be made
for non-meat diets.

5. Honor your parents.

What's wrong with that? Honor means to show respect to those who gave you birth and raised you, yet some secular critics even manage to disparage this good command. Sheesh.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it special and separate.

Seems like good advice, to set aside at least one day a week for rest, reflection, and to focus on the transcendent; to look beyond one’s own self, interests, and obligations.

3. Don't curse and act profane.

Some things and concepts are of essential value and great worth. Respect is an important moral truth.
Caution note: This moral precept isn't opposed to strong satire or comedy,
but rather refers to the very present bad tendency in humans to disparage
what is good, what the famous Atheist psychiatrist Eric Berne called the "little fascist" in us all.

Yes, I revised the religious language to emphasize the ethical, not the dogmatic.

2. I must admit I don't see any good ethical points in this commandment. The law is even used by Muslims to justify persecuting and slaughtering anyone who criticizes Allah, or shows pictures of Muhammad the prophet.

This moral command is also used to justify the destruction of classic world architectural wonders and ancient sculptures such as when the Taliban blew up the gigantic stone Buddhas in Afghanistan.

The commandment seems the exact opposite of ethical and is especially horrific when it claims God is "a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation..."

How could intentionally punishing and harming little children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren for what their ancestors did possibly be just?!

Truly sick.

No wonder that many morally sensitive humans can't fathom some of the moral code of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

1. Don't have any gods before God.

This an essential ethical command. If only humans had followed its real meaning, over a hundred million humans wouldn't have been slaughtered in the 20th century alone.

What the commandment is getting at is that we humans ought to never--NEVER--make what is finite, into our absolute center--
not our self, not our family, not our social group or race, not our nation, not our ideology, etc.

Then there are moral codes according to Buddhism:

The Ten Essential Precepts
1. …does not kill but rather cultivates and encourages life. ..work for the benefit of all beings.

2. …cultivates and encourages generosity… live from a generous heart rather than from an avaricious mind.

3. …does not misuse sexuality but rather cultivates and encourages open and honest relationships.

4. …does not lie but rather cultivates and encourages truthful communication. Lying to oneself, to another or to one's community obscures the nature of reality…

5. …does not intoxicate self or others but rather cultivates and encourages clarity.

6. …does not slander others but rather cultivates and encourages respectful speech.

7. …does not praise self at the expense of others but rather cultivates and encourages self and others to abide in their awakened nature… rejoicing in one's wholesome qualities and deeds is a time-honored Buddhist practice…

8. …is not possessive of anything but rather cultivates and encourages mutual support…should make decisions together in a cooperative and accountable manner, and with a wholehearted effort to consider all points of view.

9. …does not harbor ill-will but rather cultivates and encourages lovingkindness and understanding. Even more corrosive is the harboring of ideas of revenge…attempt to resolve them with anyone directly involved in a spirit of honesty, humility and lovingkindness.

10. …cultivates and encourages awakening, the path and teaching of awakening and the community that takes refuge in awakening.


Here's the 10 Commandments revised with a modern interpretation based in the Enlightenment:

1. Love the Good, the Truth, and the Loving with all of your heart, all of your mind, and
all of your strength...

2. Love all other humans as much as yourself including those different from you, and
even your enemies.

3. Be sacred in your words and thoughts. Don’t ridicule or profane what is of worth.

4. Take at least one day and evening a week for recreation and reflection.

5. Show caring and concern for the elderly.

6. Protect and cherish others. Don’t do violence to them in thought, word, or deed.

7. Be faithful and loyal to your spouse– intellectual, emotional, and physical union.

8. Be generous. Don’t take the land or things of others without permission.

9. Speak the truth always in love. Be honest and forthright.

10. Simplify; be content with what is good and necessary; don’t be greedy for what others

Next is Michael Shermer's ethical code
from his new book, The Moral Arc:

1. The Golden Rule Principle

2. The Ask-First Principle

3. The Happiness Principle ("always seek happiness
with someone else's happiness in mind"), and the
Rational Principle ("try to find rational reasons
for your moral actions that are not
self-justifications or rationalizations
by consulting others first")

4. The Liberty Principe

5. The Fairness Principle

6. The Reason Principle

7. The Responsibility and Forgiveness Principle

8. The Defend Others Principle

9. The Expanding Moral Category Principle

10 The Biophilia Principle

Shermer's Code in one sentence: "Try and expand the moral sphere and to push the arc of the moral universe just a bit farther toward truth, justice, and freedom for more sentient beings in more places more of the time."
Michael Shermer

And, of course, there are many more moral codes which purport to be the true one.
It's like the famous quote from
Oliver Twist

"You want MORE?!"


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

No comments: