Moral decline

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jason.p | 09:06 Sat 17th Dec 2011 | Society & Culture
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First of all, apologies if this is not quite in the right category. I've been "lurking" on this site for quite some time now and find the argument/discussion between theist and atheist interesting and often quite amusing. I am a confirmed atheist, having walked out of C of E confirmation classes some fifty years ago, so I align myself with the "usual suspects" (I will admit to have a sneaking respect for some contributors who "appear" to have such an unshakeable faith in a collection of mistranslated fairy stories!).
My problem is that I am becoming increasingly concerned about the moral decline in our society and find myself wishing the established church would accept it's role and take more of a moral stand to help reverse some of the outrageous imbalance that just seems to be getting worse. This makes me feel a bit of a hypocrite, but in the absence of any other acceptable role models where else should we be looking? Probably not politicians!!


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(I will admit to have a sneaking respect for some contributors who "appear" to have such an unshakeable faith in a collection of mistranslated fairy stories!)
This statement is rather broadbrush and even offensive. Are these fairy stories part of the theology of the established church you go on to mention. Not really sure what you are getting at. You call yourself an atheist yet expect and want the church to take the moral high ground. Very strange post.
If there is a moral decline, I don't see what different it would make if the Churches took a high ground - or any other religion, come to that. Anyone who doesn't follow a formal faith still wouldn't take any notice.
What 'morals' exactly would you like to see imposed? Are you talking about the increase in crime, the more permissive sexual society, the fatc that money is held up as a God, ewhat exactly is rankling you?
Im also confused by this, you really think that the church could preach morals, Im a little offended that you think morals are anything to do with the church, morals were around long before religion, the church just appear to have hijacked them!!
What caused Bible-based morality to fall? One potent factor was the widespread acceptance of the theory of evolution. For all of known civilization, people believed in two worlds: one that you could see, and one that was invisible. . . . The invisible world provided the basis for meaning and value . . . It was the source of cohesion for their society. However, about the middle of the last century, people began to be told that there was no invisible world. It did not exist and never had.” Especially from that time on, there were unprecedented attacks on the Bible and its morality. The so-called higher criticism of the Bible and the publishing of Darwin’s Origin of Species were among first of these philosophical attacks.
Oh nooooooo, he's replying to other people's threads me....
A religion will have views on what is moral and immoral but that is not to say religion and morality is the same. Unless slavish obedient to a power group is the only way humans can act morally then it can not be the case that acceptance of truth necessarily results in a decline in morality, and I claim there is no evidence that is the cause of any apparent recent decline.

The power a church holds is separate from the beliefs they hold too, so it isn't hypocritical to hold the pragmatic view that they are i a position to sway the people and should therefore do so. The problem is more where the line is drawn. If you look for a church to exercise it's power on one thing what argument do you use for saying they should not do so in every other subject ?

It is best to accept any aid a church gives but not to rely on it. Ultimately folk have to develop their own moral compass and act as they believe is right.
Moral decline is a myth like the supposed increase in wars and conflict.

If the religious would stop insisting their brand of imaginary ruler should prevail we could probably sort the problems that remain.
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I must admit to being somewhat confused and surprised by some of the negative responses. Perhaps as Boo says "I'm another person" and not one of regulars. As to "offensive"???? strange post????

What I am trying to say is that I have a moral dilemma. I can see a moral decline in our society. There is a general lack of respect for authority, be that parents teachers the law etc. Money is the new "God" and bankers, politicians are it's preachers. This creed filters down to all levels of society.
Since the decline of the established church as role model and rule maker there is a vacuum. IMO society needs guidance from credible role models. Of course I don't believe the bible to be anything but stories which in their time provided the guidance their society needed, but there's no reason why the church can't act as a social moderator and try and use it's influence for good in these modern times. Going back to my OP what else could fill this vacuum?
(What triggered these thoughts was the half hearted implied support some of the church leaders gave the St Pauls protesters. My immediate reaction was "good for you, about time")
If this is strange or offensive so be it.
the problem is that the church has had it share of serious scandals as well, people are less inclined to listen to any of the clergy they are hardly "whiter than white" anymore.
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"Moral decline is a myth....."
I expect that's what the Roman Empire was saying before its decline.

Cazzz. I quite agree, but the church still has an established infrastructure and I believe is probably still quite well respected so it has the capability of doing more "useful good" if only it could change it's mediaeval dogmatic mindset.
My response to you was nothing to do with the number of posts you have made. I personally did not like your dismissal of anybody's beliefs that do not coincide with your own. You seem to want to say that religious is variously, fairy stories or "medieval dogmatic mindset", but you now want this very church you dont believe in, to pull something new out of the bag to solve the world's problems. The ten commandments kind of covered everything when handed down. Oh sorry I am thinking of some fairy story I once read.
Yep the Roman Empire was indeed claiming moral decline of it's youth

Don't laugh - they complained about late parties, heavy drinking and particularly long hair - particularly several hundred years before the fall of Rome.

Lets roll back a bit less far to what sounds like your own youth (?) the sixties.

A notorious period of "moral decline" drug use, long hair and rowdy music (again) sexual freedom, barbarians at the gates and all that!

There are a number of other periods we could mention - I'm sure you've seen these illustrations by Hogath illustrating "moral decline" in his time


The fact of the matter is that morality is no more or less than a set of values and customs considered proper by a particular society at a prticular point in time.

Guess what? they change - at least in part

Some people, especially those who have spent a long time in one particular set of moral standards find change difficult to accept - especially if they fall prey to the doom-mongers - In Hogarth's day preachers, today the Express and the Mail!

If you're worried about the moral decline of youth I suggest you find a way to get out a bit more and meet some - and stop listening to journalist who are only paid to make you angry and worried
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Yes Grasscarp. I would very much like the church to pull something out of the bag, not to solve the "world's" problems but to help in any way it can to put our society back on a more "christian" path. I know this will sound at odds with a confessed atheist but I believe you don't have to be a "Christian" to believe in christian values. There are probably more "christians" that don't go to church than do.
I apologise if by stating my opinion of the bible I was dismissing yours, that certainly was not my intention.
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Jake. I do manage to get out quite a lot and I wouldn't have the Mail or Express in the house even to light the fire with.
I am concerned with moral decline even if you're not. I have children grandchildren and great-grandchildren and my concern is for them as much as anything else.
If I was anything as sensitive as Grasscarp I'd be offended that you made a value judgement about me from one post without knowing anything else about me.
But hey, what the hell it's Christmas!
I think that pretty much every generation complains about the moral decline they see around them - So I am not sure I would accept the assertion of your original post anyway.

Even were your hypothesis true, why would you want the church to intervene? This idea that morality is determined by religion and faith is self evidently false. The various churches like to portray themselves as the guardians of morality, but that is not where our morality comes from.

Even were it true, just what is you expect the churches to do to improve or enforce morality ? Look to the teachers, look to the politicians, look to the parents, but do not look to the church for moral teaching.
I'm not really that sensitive and respect other people's opinions. No hard feelings and happy Christmas, if you celebrate it!
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LG Just because every generation complains about moral decline does not mean it's an invalid observation and that we should not attempt to do anything about it. That seems a defeatist attitude. I thought I'd explained why I thought the church could have a positive role to play. I've looked to teachers, politicians and parents as "guardians of our morality" but on their own they are unable (or even unwilling in the case of politicians) to make changes. There seems to be an assumption that as soon as the word "church" is mentioned all the dogma and claptrap are dragged into it. I see the more positive side of the organisation full of well meaning people who if put to the right kind of work could do a lot of good. Rose tinted specs? Maybe. So there is my dilemma. A complete and utter atheist who sees a role for the established church!!

(Yes Grasscarp, I do "celebrate" christmas. How can you not with kids around you. I just love it. Have a good one yourself)
why would Christian values help everyone with moral decline? It would only give guidance to Christians, and millions of people follow other faiths than Christianity.
Well, the fact that every generation says there is a moral decline actually challenges your assertion that there is, in fact, a moral decline.And no, I dont think it is defeatist to say that first you have to define your moral standard, then determine how best to get there - and the last place you should look would be the church.

How about posting your definition of the moral gold standard?

Morality is not a preserve of the church, regardless of what they say.Education,Teachers, Parents, Local community groups, local politics, the police are all more influential.

You say "I see the more positive side of the organisation full of well meaning people who if put to the right kind of work could do a lot of good. Rose tinted specs? Maybe"

What arent they doing now that you would have them do then? I think the last part of your sentence is about right.

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