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Thread: !0 Commandments versus a legal system

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    !0 Commandments versus a legal system

    A legal system like in the west is not necessarily about morality and justice. It is about maintaining order.o
    In the time of Moses although stated as from god, it is really a social legal system.

    It promotes order. No adultery or fornication which can lead to conflict. Do not lie or steal, again all about order. Do not bare false witness or make false accusation, again promotes social order and stability.

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    Veteran Member seyorni's Avatar
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    Why do you single out the West?
    I think legal systems in the West -- and i assume you're talking about Europe and the Americas -- tend to be based on abstract principles of fairness and idealism than those in the ancient world. That's not to say this veneer isn't fragile. If people feel threatened or insecure, the desire for order, convention and predictability can still override principle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seyorni View Post
    Why do you single out the West?
    I think legal systems in the West -- and i assume you're talking about Europe and the Americas -- tend to be based on abstract principles of fairness and idealism than those in the ancient world. That's not to say this veneer isn't fragile. If people feel threatened or insecure, the desire for order, convention and predictability can still override principle.
    Fairness and legal systems are not the same.

    sometimes the obliviously guilty go free because of the way the system works. A system of fixed rules and imperfect people can never be perfect. Sometimes the innocent are convicted. It is about a system that maintains order over chaos and individual justice.

    The obvious flip side is the Philippines where the president had been involved in extrajudicial killing of criminals. Or the Argentine death squads. Or Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Fair, sides, what the hay. Systems to survive need correcting processes. What was fair when women were property isn't fair when women are persons. Correcting processes need be in place to bring legal systems up to current specification of 'fair' and what constitutes 'sides'. Those processes need be adjusted for current conditions and current problems and they need to be constituted demanding continuous process improvement.

    Pointing at others, the philippines for instance, is not one of those processes. Processes need be based on evidence of performance which is continuously updated for drivers and consequences using widely agreed to procedures.

    Since this is a morality thread one must first accept that morality is an evolving thing not some etched in stone construct.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    A legal system like in the west is not necessarily about morality and justice. It is about maintaining order.o
    In the time of Moses although stated as from god, it is really a social legal system.

    It promotes order. No adultery or fornication which can lead to conflict. Do not lie or steal, again all about order. Do not bare false witness or make false accusation, again promotes social order and stability.
    We possess two versions of the Decalogue, but both are part of the actual legal codes of the ancient House of Israel such as they were during the nearly-theocratic Second Temple period. It's not surprising that they have a legal feel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    A legal system like in the west is not necessarily about morality and justice. It is about maintaining order.o
    In the time of Moses although stated as from god, it is really a social legal system.

    It promotes order. No adultery or fornication which can lead to conflict. Do not lie or steal, again all about order. Do not bare false witness or make false accusation, again promotes social order and stability.
    We possess two versions of the Decalogue, but both are part of the actual legal codes of the ancient House of Israel such as they were during the nearly-theocratic Second Temple period. It's not surprising that they have a legal feel.
    All cultures had codes for civil, moral, and religious issues. The Code Of Hammurabi.

    Google bible 613 commandments. It pulls out all the biblical dictates. Compared to the Code Of Hammurabi the Hebrew codes were scattered over centuries with no consistency and some rather bizarre crimes and punishments. What you expect of a superstitious tribal culture.

    Hardly a moral code for modern times.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Every culture known to mankind has their own version of the 10 Commandments. The core of everyone of these is the edict, "Do not kill your friends." The second is "Don't steal your friend's stuff."

    These two basic rules are what allows a group of people to live in close proximity, whether it's a tent, a grass hut, or a cave. There's nothing vague about their origin. Humans cannot survive alone. We have to cooperate and without the assurance that our camp mates won't bash our skull while we sleep. Homo sapiens and all the hominids who walked on two legs before, would have gone extinct. Actually, we are the only ones who didn't, so who knows. In any case, it's kept us creating new homo sapiens for a very long time.

    The operative words are "friends" and "stuff". In order to benefit from the two rules, we have to know who are our friends, and what is stuff. All the complex legal codes which have been created since the beginning of time were put in place to define these two words. It draws a circle around the group and within the group, we know what can be claimed and what cannot.

    Beyond that, more rules have to be crafted to define what happens to people who kill friends and steal friend's stuff. The environment has the greatest effect on the sub-rules. If we live on a tropical island where we don't need clothes and all our food grows on trees, property is not going to be a big deal. What difference does it make if I have four coconuts and you have five. Another coconut is going fall to the ground in a minute. In a harsh environment, where food is scarce and either freezing to death or dying of thirst is a constant threat, the sub-rules get very specific and usually very harsh.

    One constant problem with codified rules is they tend to stick around, long after the conditions which spawned them are gone. An adulterous wife is no longer a threat to the family's wealth (allowing someone from outside the group to consume resources), so stoning is no longer in order. That kind of thing still happens in some places, mostly because that's the way it's always been done.

    There's nothing particularly special about the 10 Commandments of Moses. They just happen to have been the rules of a literate society which passed them on to other literate societies which took cooperation to higher levels than had ever been seen.

    As societies and cultures become more complex, which is to say, they have more resources(however they get them), whatever authority rules the day, co-opts the rules and claims they made them up. Maybe it's divine inspiration or just divine right, but it's never something new.

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    Veteran Member seyorni's Avatar
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    The powers-that-be are concerned with maintaining their power and/or wealth. Their concern is stability and preserving the system that created their power. They craft laws accordingly, to suppress anything or anyone threatening the status quo. Heaven forbid the hoi polloi should ever catch on and demand a piece of the pie.

    Best maintain the trappings of democracy and keep the people either happy or squabbling amongst themselves.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    The problem with identifying powers is that there are always many perceived powers which is normal for living things since living things compete for resources. Yet as a social species we need recognize we are one species and that with which we must compete are natural forces and conditions rather than among ourselves for possession and exploitation of such resources. Wasting energy on differentiating among us impedes this primary task of overcoming natural conditions outside our species.

    Just a take on what might be another way to approach morality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    A legal system like in the west is not necessarily about morality and justice. It is about maintaining order.o
    In the time of Moses although stated as from god, it is really a social legal system.

    It promotes order. No adultery or fornication which can lead to conflict. Do not lie or steal, again all about order. Do not bare false witness or make false accusation, again promotes social order and stability.
    We possess two versions of the Decalogue, but both are part of the actual legal codes of the ancient House of Israel such as they were during the nearly-theocratic Second Temple period. It's not surprising that they have a legal feel.
    All cultures had codes for civil, moral, and religious issues. The Code Of Hammurabi.

    Google bible 613 commandments. It pulls out all the biblical dictates. Compared to the Code Of Hammurabi the Hebrew codes were scattered over centuries with no consistency and some rather bizarre crimes and punishments. What you expect of a superstitious tribal culture.

    Hardly a moral code for modern times.
    You must stop doing this. It's really not intellectually sound. It's not what the 613 commandments say, it's how Judaism interprets them. All words need interpretation. The US Constitutions seems clear to me, nut it's not what I say it is, it's what the Supreme Court says it is. SO the eye for an eye crap is not literal. In Judaism it's monetary damages. The death penalty stuff. Judaism is opposed to the death penalty. And those 613 rules only apply to Jews.

    All laws of any society are about control.

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