Liberty is not just the absence of government control over the lives of individuals. You could live in a society free from any kind of government overreach and still not have liberty. Any form of government will fail without this key being used in that society.
Morality, if true morality, is essential to liberty.
However, it is important to note that many churches only want their followers to accept their version of morality. There is a sadistic strain of authoritarianism in many christian souls and leaders. They would have you believe that we must do wrong to others in order to convince them to capitulate to the desired “moral”, whether true or not. When these shallow minds have gained what they believe to be real power over society, they have all too often then used that power to cause atrocities against honest people. Consider the hundreds of years that the Catholic church tortured and murdered the saints under the guise of “morality” and “duty” to god and church, or rather, the social authoritarianism of pretended morals. When some of these wicked persons brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, he did not condemn the woman, but those that brought her. They had gone beyond the mark, attempting to uphold a personal moral standard with a greater evil than the sin that violated the moral standard.
This video reveals some of these hypocrisies. And that is important to remember when discussing this topic, because it is easy… all too easy, to overshoot the mark, and accept an opposite, but just as extreme position as the ideology of no personal morality.
It is vital to understand this because most of us fall into one group or the other, rather than the healthy middle of the equation. Many people are confused about being in a healthy middle ground of two extremes, thinking that is the same as being uncommitted, or gray, neither hot nor cold. But the correct middle of two wrongs is in that you use wisdom and logic and morals to guide your actions and beliefs in positive and productive ways that do not violate the individual’s rights and freedoms of choice, and NOT in sitting idle between two evils while not standing for anything of value at all.
Of course, there is a tendency for all who have authority to misuse it. However, moral standards are very important to society. Look what happens to the family when they break down. In spite of the misuse of power and other problems, I am from the 50-s. Almost all came from two parent homes, nobody locked their car when they went into a store and many did not have to lock their homes. One murder was the talk of the whole community for months. Divorce was rare, etc. Children born out of wedlock was rare. If a couple had problems, most men would never even think of leaving a woman alone to raise their child. Yes, you can look at the problems in almost everyone’s home, in any society, but believe me there is a big difference, when there is at least some standard of morality. Even though, Christ did not condemn the woman, He told her to “go thy way, and sin no more.” There is a fine line between having compassion and accepting immorality as being normal. But the line must be drawn.
The idea of a middle ground between good and evil is evil.
I said nothing about a middle ground between “good” and “evil”. I said a middle ground between two extremes. Both extremes are evil. You cannot use unrighteous force upon others and call it good simply because it’s your personal philosophy.. or because you think forcing truth and right onto others is better than the opposite extreme of doing nothing to promote good morals in society. Ben, I understand what you meant, but both you and Sharon have sidestepped the truth in what I said in order to justify some sense of right in the idea of forcing morality upon others under the belief that would be better than the decay we see due to lack of morals in society today. In doing so, you appear much like those that brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus. Were they wrong? The woman indeed had committed adultery. They thought themselves in the right, having seen the sin. That sin cannot be justified in their minds. Like you, they said to themselves there was no excuse, and thought to entrap Jesus thereby… for how could Jesus, if he be a true prophet or a son of god, how could he deny the sin that this woman had done? They thought to themselves, this is sin if Jesus excuses this woman’s sin. It cannot be denied, and this woman is a sinner, and we will prove Jesus is a liar and a fraud by catching him in this snare. They would also miss the point of everything I said. I was talking about not using God’s law to justify your own misdeeds to force upon others your own morality and sense of justice or to use God’s law to set yourself as a judge, whether that morality is true or not. Jesus did not force morality upon the woman caught in adultery. You, being a flawed and corruptible mortal, cannot force morality upon others any more than Jesus can. God will force no man to heaven. Only through gentle persuasion and righteous influence can you act without your own sin and steer others into that same path. That is what I was saying. The correct middle ground between the two extremes of the woman who committed adultery and the hypocrites, who sought to stone her for it, is the middle ground in which Jesus stood. Both the adultress and the hypocrites who wanted to murder her were the two extremes. The idea of a middle ground between good and evil is perhaps fallacious, but the idea of a middle ground between recognised evil and that which calls itself good, but is really self-appointed judge jury and eternal judgment, is not. Jesus stood there, and so should you. Many churches have done the same as those hypocrites, in that they, at least, thought it better to force their “morals” upon others for the “greater good”. Others murdered, raped, tortured and did all manner of evil in the name of good, while perpetrating those evils upon those they said were not living the proper morals they sought to force upon others which they did not live themselves. But we can plainly see, both through the example of Jesus, and the words of past leaders of the LDS church, that those who attempt to force a moral standard through unrighteous influence and dominion are usurping God’s law to justify their own evils. Let us all stand in the middle ground that truth and right is, surrounding in a world of sin and error, living in the world but not of the world, and not the middle ground between good and evil. One is a place of quiet and control over one’s own self, who is also able to set a light for others to see, and in a position to gently and respectfully influence others to do what’s moral. The other is a place that is spoken of as being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, doing no good because they seek no good, only to be on the sidelines of truth, and thus in the service of the cause of evil. Do not confuse the two, that was also a point I made. God bless!
Force was never a part of anything said nor implied. If we chose to be immoral, we will not be able to have liberty and will be destroyed.
The question of force is inherent in the historical review of morals. I was pointing out, I thought quite plainly, a broader view of the issue of extremes of force in regards to self-righteous folks who, no matter the good intention, exerted improper influence, coercion and other forms of force to impose a moral standard on others unduly. This isn’t a confusing thing in my mind; I was plainly not insinuating that the video was suggesting we force anyone as a point of the lesson. I was pointing out, while the subject was at hand of choosing again to subject ourselves to proper morals in order to be free, that we must not go to the opposite extreme, as humans too often have tendency to do and as witnessed by thousands of years of human history. While I agree totally with the last sentence of your latest reply, I have to respectfully disagree with that first sentence. As I pointed out in my first comment that this video does indeed touch on some of the historical hypocrisies of certain groups or people, the video actually does talk about the misuse of force or improper coercions on both sides of the equation. From raping a woman at knife point by someone without morals, to that woman then killing herself in a mistaken belief of getting her virtue back, to a man stabbing his daughter to prevent her virtue from being taken… among the others in the video that could be mentioned. All these are extremes that men used to apply improper and unrighteous coercions, or other forms of improper force, to enforce a misconception of God’s moral law upon men. What I originally wrote has everything to do with this subject, and any objective review of the issue of lacking morality would not be complete nor in proper focus without also discussing the tendency and mistakes of going to the opposite extreme of forcing a moral standard that induces people to murder themselves in a false belief of undoing a crime they had nothing to do with except being an innocent and unwilling victim. And stabbing one’s daughter to death in order to prevent her from being violated is, like suicide—and exactly like the hypocrites that wanted to stone the adulteress they brought before Jesus—a far worse crime than that which the action of killing is meant to prevent or punish. I am sorry for whatever misunderstanding is going on here, I don’t mean to overexert my position. I just feel uncomfortable in that it appeared to me that my comments were being taken as some sort of excuse or defense of immorality. That, I never meant to imply. And yes, what I originally wrote has everything to do with the presentation, both the subject and the specific content covered. Just as it has everything to do with many people and churches of today, some of whom I have encountered that exerted a lot of unrighteous influence and coercion upon people I knew. Some, were quite violent in their attempts to enforce their particular view of God’s moral law, up to and including murder as a supposed cure. For anyone who has a decent exposure to an array of religions and societies around the world, they will likely understand my comment much better for what it is. For Mormons who lived in Utah all their lives and were told not ask their non-mormon friends about their own faiths, they will probably look at my comment and think I am passively trying to excuse a standard of lacking morals as a way to object to this video and the truths it plainly points out. But we are on the same side here, I believe, and I hope you don’t think me too forceful in my own stance while trying to clarify my position. If I do err in that regard, I humbly beg your apology. Thanks for all you do here at defendingutah, and your patriotism. May the peace of God go with you, brother in truth.
Yes. 100%. Thank you
Well said, A B. Your post reminds me of the work done at letterstohannah.net, a thoughtful modern-day Christian philosopher who has brilliant insights and commentary which go way beyond the platitudes we hear most of the time. Fearless, subtly satirical and always politically incorrect.