Sunday School

Sunday School September 10th 2023

This topic contains 77 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 8 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative is a fundamental principle in his moral philosophy. It can be summarized as follows:

    “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

    In simpler terms, when making moral decisions, individuals should consider whether the principle or rule guiding their action could be applied universally without leading to contradictions or undermining the very concept of morality itself. Kant believed that actions should be guided by principles that are rational, consistent, and applicable to everyone, regardless of individual circumstances. This universalizability test helps determine whether an action is morally permissible according to Kantian ethics.


    While Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative is a powerful and influential ethical framework, some critics have pointed out potential challenges and situations where its application can lead to what may seem like absurd or counterintuitive conclusions. Here are a few scenarios that illustrate this:

    Perfect Duties Conflict: Kant argues that we have perfect duties that are absolute and must be followed at all times, such as the duty not to lie. However, in certain situations, following two or more perfect duties simultaneously can lead to absurdities. For example, if a murderer asks you where their intended victim is hiding, Kant’s principle would suggest that you must tell the truth (duty not to lie), potentially leading to harm or death, which seems counterintuitive.

    Universalizability Paradox: Kant’s imperative requires that we act according to maxims (personal principles) that can be universalized without contradiction. However, in some cases, universalizing maxims can lead to absurd or impossible outcomes. For instance, if everyone were to universalize the maxim of borrowing money without intending to repay it, the concept of borrowing itself would become meaningless, as no one would be willing to lend money.

    Lack of Guidance in Specific Cases: Kant’s framework provides a general principle for determining moral actions but can be criticized for lacking specific guidance in complex or morally ambiguous situations. It may not offer clear answers on how to weigh conflicting duties or principles, leaving individuals uncertain about what action to take.

    Moral Rigidity: Critics argue that Kant’s Categorical Imperative can be overly rigid and fail to account for the nuances of real-life ethical dilemmas. It may not sufficiently address situations where flexibility or consequentialist considerations might be more appropriate.

    Duty without Regard to Consequences: Kant’s framework emphasizes duty and moral worth based on intention rather than outcomes. While this can be seen as a strength, it can also lead to morally troubling conclusions, such as a situation where a well-intentioned action leads to harmful consequences, and Kant’s framework would still consider it morally praiseworthy.

    It’s important to note that Kant’s Categorical Imperative has been widely discussed and interpreted by philosophers, and proponents of Kantian ethics argue that these challenges can be addressed through careful application and interpretation. Nevertheless, the perceived rigidity and counterintuitive results in certain situations remain points of contention and debate in the field of ethics.

    (Praise be to ChatGPT)



    Reg and Fellow Unbelievers,

    As always, this is not an attempt to change anyone’s mind on the subject of gun ownership–whether anyone practices it is their choice–but simply to point out the distortions of truth and twisted arguments used by supporters of gun control.

    White evangelicals seem to have made America’s gun culture integral to their faith, unlike Christians in the rest of the world.

    This quote linked the article below by Ed Gaskin:

    God, Guns, Mass Shootings and Evangelicals

    First of all, to refute it’s main thesis, there is not now, nor has there ever been, a requirement to offer up as a sacrifice a first-born, or any ordinal number of, child or children, Male, Female, or Trans, as a precondition for manufacturing, purchasing, or owning a firearm.

    No law has ever required such a human sacrifice.

    No firearms dealer has ever required such a human sacrifice.

    No written work such as Foxfire 5 by Elliot Wigginton, in the recipes of manufacturing instructions for muzzleloaders, saltpeter, gunpowder, guncotton, or cordite, has ever required such a human sacrifice.

    Manufacturing, purchasing, and owning a firearm does not require human sacrifice. It is committing crimes and tyranny against Life, Liberty, and Property, with or without firearms, that requires human sacrifice.

    Ed Gaskin makes no moral distinction between 119 million firearms owners in the United States who use firearms for sport, hunting, and self-defense and the minority of criminals and tyrants who use firearms for plunder, enslavement, and murder. There is a legal term for such an inability to know right from wrong.

    Prima facie, ipso facto, a priori, speaking for himself, no further study required, Ed Gaskin is insane. And a dummy.

    Also, there is a lot more common ground between Atheism/Naturalism/Skepticism and Gun Culture than either Believers or Unbelievers acknowledge.

    For instance, there is in Gun Culture a famous sign for home and business that reads:

    And another Gun Culture sign that acknowledges the objectivity and finality of death:


    These, of course, were early precursors to what the kids say nowadays: “F.A.F.O.–Fuck Around and Find Out!”

    There is also a quote in Gun Culture that mocks Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3. Whether Benjamin Franklin actually said it or not does not change the truth of the thought:

    And even the famous Theistic quote from Gun Culture expresses doubt about the perfection and justice of God:

    Agree or disagree, Guns and Gun Culture are not your enemy.




    There’s another saying that goes by the wording “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

    Militant Christian nationalists should know the source:

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Matthew records what happened the night Jesus was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword’” (Matthew 26:52).

    The NRA and the industry it shills for are big on bumper sticker-style slogans like “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

    They claim we need guns to protect ourselves from the government, so I guess you think the only problem with the events of January 6 was that almost all of them forgot their guns(?).

    Or…maybe people like you and me should have gone there to kill those people? What say you on that?

    You see, the problem with guns to protect ourselves from the government is this: Who decides when the government needs to be changed? Quo warranto?

    If you look at the MAGA crowd, the problem should be clear: They believed an election had been stolen and that it was time for American Revolution Redux.

    I doubt there will be a repeat of January 6 because the MAGAheads are seeing their compadres heading off to prison. Ordinary people, businesspeople, farmers, tradesmen, housewives, all getting sentenced to prison for years.

    The dream that the people can rise up against an oppressive government is hard to back up with clear thinking. An army has the advantage of an armory which can supply gear which is of one type so, all the soldiers will use one kind of weapon and one kind of ammo. The rebels will have a hodge podge of equipment and even if some of them have laid in a supply of ammo for themselves, the next guy may have a different weapon which takes different ammo and, BTW, he only has a small supply.

    Under National Emergency conditions, gun stores would be locked down making resupplying or buying additional weapons difficult.

    Most people would simply want the whole business to be over and so they’d be dropping dimes on the gun huggers they know about. And once the rebels see their friends being killed or sent to some sort of Guantanamo-style camp, they’d probably pull in their horns.

    The whole notion of hunters and target shooters and some disgruntled veterans rising up against the government in an armed rebellion is a pie in the sky pipe dream.

    Frankly, a military takeover is a much bigger and more plausible scenario, and one I hope the PTB in the military are busily working to forestall.




    One of the big reasons given to justify people having guns is for self protection.

    Where is the statistic showing that a significant number of those killed and wounded by guns became statistics due to some gun owner protecting him/herself?

    If there is one, I believe you’ll find it’s somewhere in the single digits painfully close to 0%.




    In regard to islamaphobia it is pretty obvious ya gotta define the term. Are you referring to Muslims or Islam? Ideas or people?

    It’s not one or the other. It’s about patterns of thought and systems of belief characterized by irrational bias and/ or antipathy.

    For instance, there is nothing irrational about opposing honour killings. But in the late 90s and early 00s here in Canada, there was some degree of moral panic over honour killings in Canada… that weren’t actually happening. I am not saying the number was zero, but known cases were vanishingly rare. What would happen is any and all cases of domestic violence resulting in fatalities would get labelled by the public as honour killings if the perpetrator was (or was perceived to be) Muslim.

    And the problem here is twofold. First, it feeds confirmation bias regarding a negative stereotype. Second, it creates blindspots regarding our own exceptionalism. For instance, there was a case where a father struck his teenage daughter because she didn’t do her chores. She fell and struck her head, dying as a result. Was it child abuse? Yes. Was it criminal? Yes. Was it repugnant? Yes. Was it an honour killing? No. There was neither evidence of that nor was it likely. The only reason people bought into that narrative was that the man who did the striking was Muslim.

    Now, if we want to discuss whether patriarchal, misogynistic values common in Muslim dominant cultures was a contributing factor to this abuse? It very well could be. But what I saw was a bunch of smug assholes in my community trying to write it off as Islamic barbarity despite the fact that half of them watched their own white, Christian fathers do the same shit to their mothers, their siblings, and themselves. Some of them even lauded that behaviour with “back in my day you’d get smacked for that shit/ kids these days” style rhetoric. What made their fathers okay yet made this Muslim father a barbarian wasn’t some mystical cultural difference; it was luck.

    As a one off, it is what it is. But when that becomes a consistent pattern of thought, it distorts reality and it’s a big problem. We start using Muslims as a target to avoid looking at ourselves. Shariah was another scare word of the times. There was a petition to allow civil matters (e.g. divorce) to be arbitrated under Shariah. Again, I have nothing against criticism of such a policy. I myself am not in favour. However, public response again was disproportionate and misleading with people acting like Sharia was going to replace the criminal code and infidels, women, and gay people were all going to be stoned to death on the streets of downtown Toronto. Nothing of the sort had been proposed. That level of alarmism was vastly disproportionate to the issue at hand.

    And again, there was this blindspot. It was treated as if Muslims were asking for special privilege, but the reality is this sort of religious arbitration was on the table for other religions as well yet without the same moral panic because we had (and to some degree still have) a huge blind spot to Catholicism/ Christianity and Judaism. It’s Islam that gets our spidey senses tingling.

    And we have worse cases. When someone shot up a mosque in Quebec murdering six people, naturally people didn’t support that. But when, in response, a motion was passed in Parliament to address systemic racism and religious discrimination, this sparked years of lies and furor over what the motion actually stated: in particular, it was presented as legislation granting special privilege to Muslims. This itched at the brains of people paranoid Islam is taking over Canada enough to get them outraged, but not enough to learn what the motion stated, how it fit with Canada’s constitution, or even what a motion is as contrasted with a bill.

    We don’t have to delineate between whether it is a person or an idea under fire. What we have to look at is whether there is a pattern of disordered thought driven by irrational, prejudicial bias and that’s where we find our [____]-phobia. It’s not an exact science, but we can definitely see evidence in my country of where special thinking regarding Muslims and Islam is present in high enough levels to be concerning. I don’t support Islam nor any religion, but neither do I think this sort of unchecked bigotry is healthy, rational, or acceptable.


    Simon Paynton

    While Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative is a powerful and influential ethical framework, some critics have pointed out potential challenges and situations where its application can lead to what may seem like absurd or counterintuitive conclusions.

    It’s an example of something that is logical but not accurate.  It doesn’t match up with Mother Nature.

    in some cases, universalizing maxims can lead to absurd or impossible outcomes. For instance, if everyone were to universalize the maxim of borrowing money without intending to repay it, the concept of borrowing itself would become meaningless, as no one would be willing to lend money.

    Did AI write this bit?  This supports the Universalisation Principle: not intending to repay money is morally wrong because if everyone did it, nobody could lend money and expect to get it back.

    If the Categorical Imperative is an example of reason without sentiments, logic without emotion – it shows what can go wrong.



    …if everyone were to universalize the maxim of borrowing money without intending to repay it, the concept of borrowing itself would become meaningless, as no one would be willing to lend money.

    Ironically, one has to have a sense of morality prior to applying the categorical imperative. Where does that come from?


    Simon Paynton

    But according to Kant, moral decisions are rational based on the principle of universalisation.  If this provides a world where the maxim is possible without the world breaking down in some way – it’s a good decision.

    I think it’s intended that if universalisation leads to a contradiction, it’s a rational-morally false move.

    However, I see what you mean, its debateable whether certain goods and values are already assumed in Kant’s model.  For example, human flourishing or money borrowing/lending are assumed to be utilitarian goods in themselves.



    Autumn, i see where you are coming from. Strong case you’ve made. I am not really sure what i think after reflecting. On the one hand it seems ideas and people have to be separated. It is too sloppy to leave a term like Islamophobia an amorphous concept. On other hand i think human nature is such that ideas and humans espousing those ideas are conflated. Perhaps a few can keep the two apart but the majority will conflate the two.

    And while it is true that the examples you’ve described can be characterized as islamaphobia without distinguishing ideas from people i think the concept has to be about individual Muslims as opposed to ideas. Islam is a political institution that causes behavior and promulgates ideas that are anathema to any reasonable human. It isn’t irrational to despise Islam.

    The things you relate are about people. Islamaphobia is i think appropriate as a catchphrase for the reaction which suggests antipathy and irrational bias.



    i think the concept has to be about individual Muslims as opposed to ideas.

    It doesn’t. Islamophobia targets Muslims and Islam, but it isn’t about Muslims or Islam. It’s about bigots, cultural norms and systems of belief that promote and sustain irrational, prejudicial bias.

    If you’re talking about rational criticism then there is no need to place such arbitrary limitations. There isn’t a need to do everything wholesale neither is there a need to be so granular as to vet every Muslim one-by-one to see if they are chill. Criticism could be about an individual, an idea, or an entire nation state. The defining characteristic is whether you are being rational or if your thought processes are clouded by bias. In essence, it’s that simple.



    Autumn would your defense of the term be the same if the target were child molesters? Pedophilphobia? So instead of a significant minority group of the entire population and its abhorrent institution we were considering irrational bigotry/antipathy towards molesters.

    In the former we have an institution and its followers who “are bigots (and have) cultural norms and systems of belief that promote and sustain irrational, prejudicial bias.” In the latter we have a comparatively tiny minority (i assume) who are driven by impulses that presumably are personally unwanted due to the great cultural antipathy and other than the Catholic Church and not overtly there haven’t any power or support. In other words one can argue it is a group that is more in need of a term to describe the greater world and its irrational views and the wanton discrimination that results against pedophiles.



    Jake, are you comparing being a Muslim with being a Pedophile?



    Autumn would your defense of the term be the same if the target were child molesters? Pedophilphobia?

    In principle, yes. I feel no need to defend irrational, prejudicial bias. There are rational reasons to be critical of pedophilia. We don’t also need irrational reasons. We don’t need additional hate and fear-mongering. We don’t need people thrusting their own insecurities, frustrations and fears onto yet another group.

    Again, you’re trying to make Islamophobia about Muslims, but it’s not. Muslims, in the case of Islamophobia, are the target of other people’s misguided feelings. This is the same as other social phobias. For instance, when it comes to homophobia and transphobia, we’ve seen a resurgence in the pedophile/ trying to convert our kids myths. It’s obviously not true, yet people still believe it, so why—in the presence of ample evidence to the contrary—do people glom on to something that isn’t true? Because for some reason they need to believe it and their minds will preserve that reality at our expense regardless of what we’ve actually done or not done. It isn’t about us; it’s about them. We’re just the target.

    You are conflating whether people deserve criticism with whether or not they deserve bigotry.




    (Kant’s) theory proposes that it is not consequences that should guide our actions; rather, we should be concerned about acting rationally and in accordance with duty to moral principles.

    Think about it: It also presupposes a preexisting moral sense. And I think a moral sense usually implies a belief in generalizability. (“Is this sort of thing generally OK?”) Well, if you have a moral sense already built—at least in large part—on whether an action is acceptable, why does one need the categorical imperative?



    Davis i am not comparing the two. I was curious to see whether Autumn was more an apologist for Islam/Muslims or had principles that would carry over. The answer was as i expected.

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