The Heart of Morality

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    What is the heart of morality and what does it consist of? What do you think of when you hear the words, 'moral intents?' Any thoughts as we launch this thread?
     
  2. Amy.G

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    Moral intent=desire of the heart
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I believe that to be a good definition. One thing we have to understand though is that a desire of the heart is not some hope so, or maybe so, as one would desire to take a trip some day, but rather involves the formation of an intent, the purposing of the heart to obtain the desired end necessary to carry out and see the desire come to fruition.

    This is my first attempt to define intent on this thread. With the input of others I hopefully will develop better ways of communicating my thoughts as we go along.

    Company has arrived so I will be limited in my responses this evening. May the coming year be one in which we all find ourselves drawing even closer to the Lord. Happy New Year!!
     
  4. Helen

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    Essentially, the moral intent of a person's heart is the intent he truly has (although he may be deceiving even himself, and that's a scary thought) regarding his behavior and words and thoughts. Is the intent to love God and neighbor or to care for self? Our actions and words can get all mixed up, but God knows the intent and by that judgment is given.
     
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Nicely put. The point that needs to be made is that some desires are not blameworthy or praiseworthy, and some are. When we speak of simply 'desires,' we may be speaking of the sensibilities alone and not of an actual intent of the will itself that can be properly associated with morals or morality. Morality lies in the formation of the intents, NOT in the sensibilities or mere influences upon the will.

    Thoughts?
     
  6. Claudia_T

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    I read one time that thoughts form habits and habits forms the character.
     
  7. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: The moral to that is don’t believe everything just as you might read it. :)

    A thought, in and of itself, may clearly influence the will to formulate habits, but thoughts may only be impulses of the sensibilities with no moral implications in and of themselves. Unless the ‘thought’ is seen as a 'choice of the will' in the formation of a proper selfish intent as opposed to benevolence, no morality can be predicated of it. No morality involved, …… no character formed, for to me character speaks of morality with proper blame or praise rightfully predicated of the intents which indicate the character.


    I would possibly say it something like this. Thoughts may in fact influence the will in its choices, and the results of those choices indeed are at the start of the formation of ones character. Our only sure hope to avoid the consequence of our selfish choices, or the possibility of the formulation of benevolence in becoming habit, is to yield to the persuasive influences of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
     
    #7 Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 31, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2006
  8. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    One of the most important distinctions to be made in the discussion of morality is the distinction between the sensibilities and the will. Helen in one of her posts said this.


    I do not know to what extent Helen carries this thought out, but to me, one thing is obvious. Helen rightfully understands that God indeed judges man by his intents. This is one of the most important things to understand in morals. In morals, intent is everything. Without intent no moral judgment can be assessed.

    As cognizant and moral beings, we are fully aware of feelings, emotions, passing thoughts, etc. that are not formed by the will of man, but are nothing other than influences upon the will, impulses of the sensibilities. The will is called upon to examine these impulses, and direct its choices and intents it is to formulate in accordance to or in opposition to these impulses of the sensibilities. One only reflect upon their own minds and feelings and one will fully comprehend that these impulses and feelings of the sensibilities are in no way formed by the will and no moral intent can be rightfully predicated simply upon the existence of such emotive influences, thus no morality predictable. One can be certain that the will of man has in no way been involved in the formation of an intent regardless of the presence of these influences. To place praise or blame upon oneself or others simply due to the existence of impulses of the sensibilities is sheer folly.

    Conscience, as well as Scripture testifies that for moral blame to be predicated, intent MUST be present. No intent, no moral blame assessed.

    For intent to be present there has to be a moral agent responsible for the intent. In order to be responsible for the intent, one MUST be able to do something other than what he does under the very same set of circumstances. Freedom of choice must be present or intent is impossible to establish. Any talk of morality, or moral retribution in relationship to an intent or subsequent action is a mere sophism if in fact no freedom of contrary choice exists.

    Calvinism, at its roots, denies freedom of the will. To deny freedom of the will is to eliminate all moral intent. Without moral intent, no morality or moral retribution can justly be established for any action. Morality is utterly destroyed under such a system of thought.

    The words are often echoed by the Calvinist, “One is free to do as he wills.” I say, there is not a shred of freedom in such thought, for one can ONLY do as the will commands apart from some outside force or coercion interfering with its demands. Either freedom lies in the intents, in the formation of the choices that direct the will carrying out the action, or no moral freedom exist at all. Whatever determines the intent is the only place moral retribution can properly be placed. If the intent is coerced or determined by any other, whoever is responsible for such force is the responsible and only moral cause.

    In the Calvinistic scheme of things, God is the sole author of all moral intents, as realized and understandably determined by the fact of God’s foreknowledge of all intents. If carried out to its logical end, Calvinism cannot escape the illogical and absurd notion that God is indeed the author of all evil.
     

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