Reason (and, Therefore, God) Affects Morality as an Action in Itself

Those who agree with the view, cited by David Brooks, that “moral thinking is more like aesthetics” should ponder whether they’re missing a connection between this:

Socrates talked. The assumption behind his approach to philosophy, and the approaches of millions of people since, is that moral thinking is mostly a matter of reason and deliberation: Think through moral problems. Find a just principle. Apply it.

And this:

Moral judgments are like that. They are rapid intuitive decisions and involve the emotion-processing parts of the brain. Most of us make snap moral judgments about what feels fair or not, or what feels good or not. We start doing this when we are babies, before we have language. And even as adults, we often can’t explain to ourselves why something feels wrong.
In other words, reasoning comes later and is often guided by the emotions that preceded it. Or as Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia memorably wrote, “The emotions are, in fact, in charge of the temple of morality, and … moral reasoning is really just a servant masquerading as a high priest.”

Mr. Haidt’s metaphor may be memorable, but I wouldn’t declare it accurate. Emotions are the materials that we must use in building our temple, but the structure we build according to blueprints described in a tradition of reason. Statements of principle well argued become actions in their own right. They affect the culture that we imbibe as our individual personalities and moral senses develop.
Think of the powerful people influenced by Socrates, those who’ve built on his logic and who’ve put its consequences into policies. Think of the cultural markers and influences — those that set the moral instinct that we attempt to guide through our own reason — that have developed over the millennia following Jesus Christ. For ourselves, we may tend to find emotions too strong for reason — its master, even — but that proves only that moral reasoning has a delayed effect as it works its way into our collective intuition.
I’d go one step further, although non-theists needn’t follow. This process is indicative of the manner in which God acts in the world: through us. A moral person might find a profound responsibility in that.

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George
George
12 years ago

Yes,indeed,A faith in God does influence having morals and virtues on all issues out there.Such as for example marriage,what it is and where it should be going.The Holy Bible is for marriage in the context of a man and woman who love each other who were created by God for each other and to glorify God.In Hebrews 13:4 it says Marriage is honourable in all,and the bed undefiled,but whoremongers and adulters God will judge.It is a pure,wholesome thing in the context of marriage though.Men lying with men is an abomination to the Lord thy God.All unrighteousness is sin.Sodomy cannot produce future generations of citizens for our nation either,or the blessings of God on our nation.Lets think about what we do when we want to legalize sin.Read John and Romans in the Authorized King James Holy Bible slowly and see our sin natures and how a Saviour and God wants to save us from our sins and give all sinners eternal life who will repent of their sins and trust him alone to save them. Thank You,very much,Sincerely; And God bless you as you look to him for help.

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