Need some help from SciForum on Reddit

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by garbonzo, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

    Hello friends, I've posted here a lot over the course of me deconverting from a Jehovah's Witness and afterward. I go to the exjw subreddit on for a community to go to for support, discussion, etc.

    But recently I got into a debate about ethics with a mod on the subreddit. He seems to hate me or at least dislike me very much for debating with him on an honest subject. I have no idea why. Ever since the beginning he has had a hostile tone in his discussion instead of a respectful debate as I wanted in the first place.

    The reason why I am posting here is I need some help. I either need clarification on the subject if I am indeed wrong on the matter, or some support on the subreddit because everyone seems to be taking his side. I have no idea if it's because I'm wrong on the matter, if it is a matter of opinion, or if since he is a mod he is persuading their opinion on the matter. I have no idea, so I'd like some help from the smart and reasonable people on here. I don't believe I am wrong, and trust me I have went over this so many times in my head wondering what I could be thinking wrong.

    So since everyone was against me, of course I have to wonder if I am wrong, so I asked a random guy on my MSN Messenger contacts list who bought something off me a long time ago. This should answer all your questions:

    EDIT: Cleaned up the IM sp34k.

    So what do you think?


    What makes someone a bad person?

    Is it someone who deliberately does someone wrong or just plain someone who does something wrong?

    (This is the main gist of the whole debate I have come to the conclusion.)

    Note: Before you read, I want to say that my illustration with: "What if he turns around and molests the child?" may be a bit irrelevant, and that may have provoked the hostile attitude, but that shouldn't detract from the main point I wanted to get across: Just because someone is misled, and does wrong, it doesn't make them an inherently bad person.

    My line of reasoning with bringing that up is that this is a complicated subject. Just because someone does something wrong, it doesn't make them bad, and just because someone does something right, it doesn't make them good. *The act* may be good, but the motives have to be taken into consideration. If the parents saves the child with the intentions of abusing it later, that is a bad person, even though the act was good. If a parent neglects to save the child because they are misled and think and truly believe they are doing what is right and morally right for the child, it doesn't make them a bad person. The act was bad, but motives count.

    I hope you guys understand and if you do I would really appreciate if you could respond to some of those people there or leave your support here and I may link them to it if you can't respond there.

    "ScrewYouAndYourHorse" seems the most open ATM, but "JWTA" is the hostile one and has been so closed-minded and unreasonable it is scary, attacking me half the time instead of debating the subject. Such as, "the amount of downvotes you get proves that I'm right." When that doesn't prove anything, it's just basically an appeal to authority.

    Thanks so much for reading guys! And I *am* open-minded, so if you have a problem with my logic here, PLEASE let me know so I can correct this thinking. Thanks!
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    That's a tough one. They may have good intentions, but their lack of critical thinking has caused them to adopt a bad philosophy. I'm not letting bad philosophies off the hook, but you are still personally responsible for accepting it, with the exception of the young or the mentally ill. You may call them bad parents, but the label of bad people is problematic. I think judges tend to take this into account, and I haven't seen severe sentences for JW-caused deaths.
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  5. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

    No, I agree that they should be held responsible, but this is about labeling them a "bad person" only.

    I don't believe they should be labeled a bad person for being sincerely misled.

    If you agree I would really appreciate it if you could support me with this.
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  7. NightFall Lazy Hedonist Valued Senior Member

    You cannot be sincerely misled into a lifelong decision. You can be lazy. you can accept words as wisdom. you can neglect personal research and understanding. You can turn a blind eye to the world around you. Hide under a rock and push your fingers into your ears and shout at the top of your lungs. But one cannot be sincerely misled for their entire life unless they the welcome blind faith that accompanies so many destructive cultures. Living ones life in such a way, imo, does make a bad person.
  8. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

    Were you grown up indoctrinated? If you weren't or if you weren't grown up fundamentalist, then you have no idea, don't understand and are not qualified to comment. I believed 100% of it all because they provided evidence that seemed authentic. The quote science publications out of context, etc. You were grown up to trust them. You don't think of cross checking and checking sources at all. Haven't you heard the saying "You can't reason yourself out of a situation you never reasoned yourself into"?

    If you were never taught critical thinking, it doesn't come as naturally. It's why my parents are so gullible to everything, not just religion. Scams, snake oil products, etc. And they can't pass on something they don't have. Growing up in the Bible Belt didn't help any. My school never taught evolution. We had science textbooks from the 80s. The only reason I was able to get out was because of selfish reasons. I wanted to do things you couldn't. It led me to post a thread on here which began to teach me critical thinking. I can not explain it any better, it was literally teaching me that "skill". I had to actually *learn* it. I never had it.

    So if you want to say that becoming indoctrinated makes you a bad person, so be it, but you can't use that for everyone. If you live in a place where the internet is censored it is even harder, if you have a bad education it is even harder, if you take away the internet altogether it is even harder, if the library is censored it is harder, other information is censored it is harder, if the library is gone it is harder, if you can't read English it is harder, if you can't read at all it is harder, if you live in fucking N. Korea it is IMPOSSIBLE. So you CAN'T use that for EVERYONE. YOU don't know another person's situation, you don't know what is in their head.

    If motives count, you can't say it makes a bad person, because you can't read minds. Unless motives don't count for you.
  9. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

    So another guys joins in and after I provide my best points on the subject his response:

    Nope, he doesn't responded to the subject. He attacks me. Can you guys see how frustrating this is?

    I respect other people's opinions, but these people need to at least realize that some opinions can co-exist together. They want to invalidate my opinion and say I am insane for having this opinion. I just want to show that I am not the only person that thinks this way!

    Thanks guys....
  10. NightFall Lazy Hedonist Valued Senior Member

    Let's back this train way up. You said originally that a bad person is defined as one who hurts others or one who deliberately hurts others. Just for safety's sake, I'm going to focus on the "deliberately hurts others" because I think we can agree that that is a more accurate definition. Secondly we made an exception to those who were only involved in such actions as the result of a mental infliction. For this argument we have determined that religion/faith/beleifs etc. fall into the category of mental infliction, especially in such circumstance where any information against same religion/faith/beleif is censored from the "person".
    Congrats.. you just liberated every terrorist. ever. Unlock the cells, our prisons shall be emptied.

    "I didn't know it was wrong" and "But he told me to do it" doesn't make a persons actions justifiable. I know how frustrating and infuriating it can be. One side of my family is divided in two distinct halves: those in michigan, and those that built their church in texas. My sister-in-law a few years ago decided to throw in the towel and become a blind faith follower of whatever her pastor decided to make up for the week (he's even made of list of people she can allow in her house. so far, i'm still on it). So yes, I do understand what is like to look at someone who (in my case) is raising four children right down the road from me, and filling their heads with this crap and knowing that in their deepest of hearts they truly believe this is the right thing to do.. all the while feeling sick over the destruction that I know is inevitably going to happen in years to come as a result. And I can tell you now, that If my niece were lying in a hospital bed, and my sister in law decided that since her pastor said no-no, that she would just let my niece die, I don't care how sweet she is and how much I love her, that would make her a bad person and I would see to it that she paid for the death her child at the hands of her neglect.
  11. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

    Oh. My. God. It is people like you who are debating with me on that forum. I wouldn't mind if you could conjure up a solid argument, but you keep confusing two things. Please understand this here.

    There is a difference between a person doing a bad act, and a bad person. The law is for people who do bad acts. We can't read people's minds, so we judge mainly on the act. This is why all people are held responsible for their actions, and if you had read the OP you would see I agree with that. =(

    So please remove from your head who is responsible for what. Everyone is responsible for what they do, including terrorists.

    This isn't about that. We are not talking about the law, because the law doesn't deal with this. We are asking what a bad person is.

    Just because someone is misled, does it make them an inherently bad person. Some of these terrorists, especially the young kids, are definetly brainwashed. They have to be to blow themselves up, actually sacrifice themselves for this cause. They killed people, and they killed themselves. Can you call that kid a bad person for being brainwashed and misled?

    Please separate yourself from thinking about what is bad and what a bad person is.

    What I am saying is look at the motives, as motives count.

    Also, I never classified brainwashed people as mentally ill? All I was talking about is the motives. In the case of a mentally ill person, like take Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Is Dr. Jekyll a bad person? In case his mental illness were cured, would he become Dr. Jekyll (the good guy)? If so, then I don't believe he is an inherently bad person, in spite of his bad actions as Hyde. Again, this is not talking about the law.

    Having some perspective on this now, can you reconsider the case with your sister's hypothetical? Again, she should be held responsible for her actions, and it isn't justifiable, but if she truly believe she was right, and say she thought he daughter would be alive in heaven anyway after she died, and she truly believed this, why would it make her an inherently bad person? She was tricked and misled.
  12. NightFall Lazy Hedonist Valued Senior Member

    Our moral character is defined by the choices we make. Allowing someone /something else to make those choices does not remove the responsibility and consequence from a person. It simply means their choice was to be weak and cowardly.

    You seem to want to define a bad person in such a way that you could take a blood sample and -yep! we've got a bad one! grab the sharpie! But by your definition people cannot be 'bad'. You say that motives count.. but doesn't everyone have some sort of motivation for everything they do?

    In the case of my sister(in law, but i'll claim her), she was tricked by her own accord. She made the choices she did because they were easy to make. They took the least effort. Sure, in the beginning some things were a little strange, but instead of looking for information and answers and understanding, she just went with it. because it was easy.

    We could look at this from the other end and define first what a good person is. But ultimately, and this is probably where the problem will fall with the reverse, is that good and bad in this case are purely opinion. People do not spoil. We do not develop a condition spontaneously that likens us to mushy fruit. The 'bad' in a person is a perspective, defined individually.

    You feel that most people are good, almost always. We are tricked, duped, misled, and coerced, and its all very tragic, but in the end our intentions are good and that is what matters.

    I believe that people are fairly lazy. And when presented with a situation, too many would rather be tricked, duped, misled, and coerced, rather than take responsibility for themselves, allowing the consequence of their actions to spill over on those around them, rendering them a pretty lousy person.
  13. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

    You can only really ever judge someone by their actions. What they tell you their intentions were and what they actually were are only one lie away from being to 2 different things.

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