There is no one fixed rule for making moral choices. What exists in place of a single rule, or even several rules, is a series of guidelines which expresses the many factors which should be weighed by any individual faced with a choice involving moral values. These guidelines also provide an indication of what kind of choices will involve moral values in reaching a decision between two or more optional courses of action. (NOTE: This section, the Rules for Moral Choices, did originally contain statements of Rules of Human Sexuality, Rules of Pornography, and Rules of Human Procreation, all of which have been combined into a separate section which is entitled as Rules of Human Sexuality, appearing later in this part.)
Harm fewer, rather than many. Harm less, rather than more. Help rather than harm. Help more rather than help fewer. The bottom line is that negligent harm is to be avoided as much as possible, and deliberate harm is to be inflicted only to avoid a greater harm to self or to other(s). The more uncertainty there is in the perceived harm to be avoided, the less harm is authorized to be inflicted to avoid that perceived harm.46 (However, it should also be remembered that the concept of "harm upon self" is limited by the Freedom Dogma, in that society does not have a right to compel an individual to cease or desist from a course of conduct which is only harmful to that individual.)
Dissent is a valuable contribution to society as a whole, and must be encouraged by society as part of the requirement that society be progressive. The purpose of dissent is to cause change by calling attention to some perceived wrong and attempting to create a consensus as to how that perceived wrong should be remedied. The limits of dissent are where dissent is carried beyond the point of calling attention to a problem and begins to actively intervene in the lives of other individuals who have consciously formed an express desire to not be interfered with. While a certain amount of annoyance is usually necessary to get the attention of individuals, once an individual has paid attention to the dissent and has formed a desire to no longer be annoyed by a particular dissenter or group of dissenters, it is wrongful for that dissenter or group of dissenters to continue to annoy said individual because continued annoyance amounts to persecution of said individual for a failure to adopt the beliefs of the dissenters, and all persecution on the ground of rationally held belief is always wrongful.
Things are never an end, but only a means. Things are not enlightenment, but only a means to achieve enlightenment. Money is merely an abstract "thing" which may be exchanged for other "things," and thus money is subject to the rules of things. Greed is defined as an uncontrollable desire for the acquisition of unnecessary things. Greed is a vice, not a virtue. The individual ownership of things ceases upon the death of the individual, and at that time, ownership passes to the heirs of the individual. If an individual dies without heirs, ownership passes to the tribe of the individual. As part of the social compact between the individual and society, the society undertakes to protect the things which an individual owns, and to provide for the proper transfer of ownership upon the death of the individual. Also as part of this same social compact, the individual agrees to provide things to the society, in the form of taxes and/or charitable contributions, which the society can then use for "overhead" expenses, services provided back to the individual members of the society, and the achievement of the various social goals of the society, including specifically the social goal of enlightenment. Things do provide some degree of pleasure to individuals, so some amount of things may be acquired for the pleasure which they provide, or even for just the pure pleasure of owning them. However, each of the things which an individual owns must be managed in a way which avoids waste, and owning more things than one can manage is, in and of itself, waste (see the Rules of Waste, below). If some of the things which an individual owns are valuable to society as a whole, particularly when the study of such things would add to the overall knowledge possessed by society, then the individual who owns such things is also charged with a duty to find a way to make such things available for the reasonable use of society as a whole.
Intentional waste is a vice, and is abhorrent in all of its forms. To the extent which a product can be designed to last longer, "planned obsolescence" is a form of intentional waste. To the extent which fashion is deliberately altered for the purpose of causing purchases of the new fashions, fashion is also a form of intentional waste. Using more when less will do not only violates the principle of paucity, but also violates a rule of waste.
The philosophical statements contained in this bible are primarily ends oriented, and thus may be said to define a system of teleological ethics47 (as opposed to deontological ethics48). As pointed out elsewhere, the Social Goal of Enlightenment is basically an expression of Utilitarianism (the "greatest pleasure of the greatest number"). The greatest criticism of Utilitarianism is the statement that the ends do not justify the means,49 a statement which we tend to accept as a matter of course as being inherently correct. The best answer to this is to focus on a comparison of the proximate result with the ultimate result. While we would all agree that it is the height of immorality for society to execute an innocent man, if that innocent man happens to be Jesus Christ and by his death all men are saved, then the value of the (moral) ultimate result so far outweighs the immorality of the proximate result (killing an innocent man) that in this particular instance only, the ends would justify the means, because on balance, the far greater good is achieved by this sacrifice. For those who may be offended by this comparison, then think of the fact that we would expect an adult to jump into a raging river to rescue a drowning child who is swept away by the rushing water, even at the cost of the life of the adult. So, if this is the result which society expects, would it then be too much to willfully (and involuntarily) execute this same (innocent) adult in order to save the life of that same child? (All moral questions posed each assume that there is no other alternative option available, and that the contemplated result is guaranteed so long as the stated means is employed.) If you are inclined to think not, then contemplate the fact that virtually all societies reserve to themselves the right to forcibly draft their citizens into armies to go forth and be killed for the "greater good" as defined by the leaders of the society.50 It thus appears that, at least for the present stage of Western Civilization (and for the contemplated civilization to be formed out of this religion), the end DOES justify the means,51 but only so long as the relative values of the moral cost of the means and the moral value of the end are each computed with care and balanced to determine the morally proper result for a particular set of circumstances.52 It now becomes obvious why wisdom must precede knowledge, because one must be wise indeed to quickly ascertain the morally correct course of action when presented with an absolutely abhorrent set of alternative courses of action.
Every person ought to be either working at some task or learning something new each and every day of their life.53 By extension, this would impose a form of moral duty on each individual to choose education in preference to pure, mindless, entertainment for filling up the "free time" which each individual naturally comes to possess. However, the educational experience ought to bring pleasure to each such individual, so this "duty" should not be a burden, but instead one of the fulfilling pleasures of life which each individual should experience each and every day. The clear intent of the Rules of Education is to challenge each individual to locate some subject matter which interests them, study it to some depth, and then contribute some form of insight on that subject to the overall base of knowledge which society comes to possess. However, even if no insight is eventually contributed, the pursuit of personal growth is a sufficient reason to promote education as a goal in and of itself. The brain of each individual is similar to a muscle in that if you fail to exercise it on a regular basis, it will tend to deteriorate over time. This continuous pursuit of some form of education constitutes the "exercise" needed for our brains to stay strong and healthy, even in advanced old age.
The classic quote from the Christian Bible goes: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's."54 For so long as our community exists as a minority within a larger majority society, we will have to deal with the moral choice of taxation. The first rule is to pay whatever is due. The second rule is to use any available and legal device to reduce the amount of taxes which will be owed unless the moral consequences of the device are more costly than are the moral consequences of paying more taxes. Recall that every penny of taxes paid is money which will not be available for the use of the individual, family, tribe, or church, so part of wise money management by all of us will include these Rules of Taxation.
46 The right to self defense, and the limits placed upon that right, are implicit in this rule. As an example of this, the now common practice for law enforcement officials to condone the use of a gun to subdue a single individual wielding a knife would be all but prohibited under these rules because the harm to be inflicted on the knife wielding person would be vastly out of proportion to the threat presented by that person in all but the most unusual circumstances. Society has an obligation to develop non-lethal alternatives to deadly force, and to require the use of said alternatives in all circumstances where deadly force is not required to avoid a real threat of death or disfiguring personal injury.
47 Teleological ethics is a theory of morality that derives duty or moral obligation from what is good or desirable as an end to be achieved.
48 Deontological ethics holds that the basic standards which define whether an action is either morally right or wrong are independent of the good or evil which results from the action.
49 In other words, it is immoral to use immoral acts to achieve a moral result.
50 As this sentence is being written, early on the morning of September 16, 1994, President Clinton has ordered a military invasion of Haiti for the "greater good" he perceives that this will achieve, admittedly at some clear cost of young lives to be terminated.
51 At least until some wise man invents a different system of ethics which does not require a choice between two alternative systems which are fundamentally at war with one another. The possibility that some such wise man might come along, and provide a solution to wash away the bad taste left by the necessity of choosing one of two bad alternatives is one of the reasons for making this the loose-leaf bible, thereby subject to significant revision in the future.
52 For example, it is clear that the moral cost of the Holocaust during World War II was so far greater than the moral value of any end which Hitler could possibly have hoped to achieve, that no rational person could ever justify the invocation of that "means" to any conceivable end. It is just as clear that it would be morally wrong to kill the young child in order to save the life of the older man, in the example given above. Finally, this means that we attach a moral value to the innocence of youth which clearly weighs on the balance scales of moral decision making.
53 With thanks to Newt Gingrich for his expression of this thought.
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