Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 4 Discussion Topic

The Renaissance has many parallels to our own time. We too face religious upheaval as is seen recently with the splintering of the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issues of women priests and ordination of non-celibate homosexuals.

We have seen renewed interest in Paganism, especially in the mysterious Druids of Celtic religion.

We live with new diseases such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS, and the resurgence of resistant strains of old diseases such a Tuberculosis and Polio.

In education, parents are seeking alternatives to public schools, such as charter schools, home schooling and classical education schools. As Muslims of the Ottoman Empire sought to expand their territory, Jihadists today seek to establish a world empire under Islamic Law (Sharia).

The discovery of the New World expanded geographical horizons and stimulated European imaginations and economies. Likewise, we look to discover new worlds in our galaxy and beyond, even anticipating luxury space hotels for the very wealthy. Cooperative space exploration may lead to the discovery of earthlike planets in other galaxies.

With so many parallels between the Renaissance (time of rebirth) and our own time, we might expect there to be similar ethical issues.

The Dignity of Man
Responsibility of the Wealthy
Reform of Education and Healthcare
The Power of Rulers
Religious Intolerance and War
Conscience and Individual Interpretation

Would you identify any of these as ethical issues of our time? If so, which would you place in the top 5 ethical concerns of our time in America? Globally? And why?


Unknown said...

All of those could be on the top 5 ethical issues. If you think about it, the world always has something bizarre and crazy going on. Te dignity of man can be pinpointed by looking at Maine and how they allowed gay marriage, then followed it up by repealing it. The responsibility of the wealthy can be looked at on how major companies are needing bail outs, yet even after being bailed out, the top executives are still receiving bonuses. The reform of healthcare is up in the air because millions of people are without or people have accumulated too many medical bills to afford to receive it. The power of rulers can be looked at when looking at Italy's President/Prime Ruler and seeing how he owns all the media, and has a special interest in younger women. The Fort Hood shootings show an example of religious intolerance and war. That man was Muslim, and he was about to have to go fight against fellow Muslims, and he ended up taking it out on others. People not taking the blame for personal problems and blaming others, such as God, would represent conscience and personal interpretation.
As we can see, all of these are important issues. They effect everyone. So all of them can go on the top 5 list.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Ashley, could you explain how the decision of the people of Maine to repeal gay "marriage" undermines the dignity of man? This sounds a little too PC to my ears.

Clearly, it isn't difficult to point to examples of the parallels between our time and the Renaissance. We tend to think of the Renaissance in glowing terms, but it was brutal in ways we can relate to. It was a period of throwing off Church authority and exalting the humanistic attitude that the individual can do whatever he/she wants.

debl said...

I think religion and war are my top pick. When I reflect about what I've learned in this class, religion and war seem to be root causes of mayhem, destruction, and genocide. While it seems paradoxical that these two opposites are connected; reviewing history shows how they are linked.
The egocentric thought process insists "my way is the only way". So, if an egocentric person can gain a large enough following, either through charisma, money, treaties with other egocentric people, or even brute force; then it becomes feasible for domination to occur. The domination would, of course, be in the favor of egocentricism.
The next trick is to present this domination in the guise of religion. As long as religion appears to be the guiding force, people feel it is okay to rape, pillage, and steal. Many an innocent bystander has lost their head over this, literally as well as figuratively.
We see this pattern repeating itself over and over. It is in the news every day.

Dora Campbell said...

The Dignity of Man, where do we stand in reality? We are a society of changing moral standards to suit or fulfill our desires. Although society as a whole has taken giant steps forward since the Renaissance period the dignity of mankind in upholding high moral standards remains questionable.
Aristotle compared man to animals but with animals being unable to take action in decision making whereas, man is capable of making decisions. As human beings we are capable of knowing right from wrong, moral from immoral yet we continue to exhibit behavioral patterns which link modern times to the ancient times of mankind. Unlike animals we have freedom of choice.
Mirandola theorized that when mankind acted against reasoning they descended to the level of beasts. Illustrated aspects of beast verses mankind is demonstrated in the exploitation of women and children which began in the beginning of time and continues today. Women’s movement groups struggled for centuries before finally winning dignified positions in society. With modern means of communication spreading worldwide, the dignity of all women is exploited through explicit sexual actions by those who are fulfilling their own desires. Both men and women from all walks of life partake in illegal sexual acts against men, women, and children. Trafficing of human beings still exists worldwide, we claim to be a nation free from slavery however, we condone the purchase of brides. Prostitution, one of the world’s oldest forms of trade still exists on street corners worldwide. As mankind continues to exercise their freedom of choice one wonders at what level dignity really exists.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Carol W. has asked me to post this comment for her. Here it is:

Since I have to select one of the topics for the top 5 ethical concerns I chose the Reform of Education and Healthcare, both in America and Globally.

Our education here in America could use some improvement. Our American education systems compared to Global education system where the education system seems to be so far ahead of us. That you can see when people come from other countries to live here and attend our schools they have excelled so far ahead of us. They are so advanced in Math, and they are taught good study habits at a very early age. America could learn a lot from other countries. The American Education system can stand some improvements to help make all our students successful pass graduation, so that upon graduation they have the urge to continue on to college knowing what they want to major in immediately, and not waste their first college year "indecisive".

The Healthcare system should be number one on the governments along with the issue of Education. Government money should be spent to insure that no child, woman, man or elderly person both in America and Globally have some type of Healthcare. We should have no people without Healthcare, it is something all people need. So many people loosing their job and when this happens, you know they loose their healthcare plan, something they hae paid years and years on the job into, than find themselves dropped quickly because their job ended.

Someone in government, education and healthcare both in America and Global should be priority. Our Governments have an ethical issue to improve both of these serious issues facing our world and also a moral obligation.

I remember taking a Math class and JCC, and there was a female student next to me and she was from Germany. This lady was my partner on our class projects and she was so smart and she helped me with my math and she helped me to understand enough to pass my class. She was so humble and she told me that over in her country they learn and study at a real early age, they don't play they study, study to be somebody especially smart, and that she was. She said their Government place high priority on Education and that is what our country the United States should be doing also to help create a better Education system and this would keep our children from feeling they have to go study abroad, we should be supplying everything they need to be successful.

Dora Campbell said...


Throughout the history of our world many wars have been fought in the name of religion but unfortunately many of those wars were due to someone having what someone else needed or desired. Acquiring land and the riches thereof was a big incentive to wage war. One has to wonder about our current war in Iraq, as to the underlying reasons relating to this war clarity for its existence is not revealed to this writer, was it revenge for 911, religious and humane rights for others, or simply an oil rights war. After all the death and destruction the evil designer of the tragedy of 911 remains at large, fuel prices soared to record highs, the American economy is in a state turmoil. As a citizen I wonder if peaceful negotiations would not accomplish more that war. After all we are suppose to be dignified human beings. Enjoyed your post.

Dora Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dora Campbell said...

It was interesting to read of your German friend. I agree that education is in need of reform. As a substitute teacher I sympathize with the teachers who in their efforts to share their knowledge have the burden of unruly classrooms and the added pressure to make sure each student passes the course or have their abilities questioned. I don't feel that teachers should be blamed for the behavioral problems of some students. Students who are not willing to learn and interfere with the learn abilities of those who are willing and eager to learn. With the system as it stands today I wonder where future teachers will be found. Will public schools collapse and only the wealthy, as once existed, receive an education in the private sector?

As to health care reform I feel our government is being unethical by keeping us in the dark as to what this bill contains and what impact it will have on each of us. We wonder if this HR3962 bill is truly ethical or will many of our citizens be left to fend for themselves as those in the leprosy colonies of old. Some light has been shed but the bottom line remains to be seen. Great post.

Nikki said...

I agree that all 5 are ethical concerns of our time. The most widespread is Religious Intolerance and War. We see examples of Religious Intolerance and War everyday in mass media. It exists in many forms and many countries around the world. Recently, with the shootings at Forth Hood Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a killing spree that left 13 people dead. Many are reporting that the 39 year old Muslim faith psychiatrist felt harassed because of his faith. Soldiers reported that he shouted “Allahu Akbar” and Arabic phrase for God is great before killing 13 people. We also have seen in recent days Obama put a lot of thought into deciding how to handle sending more troupes to Afghanistan. Obama is considering several options pertaining to sending more US forces to take on the Taliban and associated insurgent groups in areas of Afghanistan and to help the Afghanistan build their forces up to take over the defense of their country. Per “Afghanistan's previous government, led by the Taliban, persecuted and killed Shiite Muslims in programs of mass murder that meet some definitions of genocide. The police often impose "severe physical punishment and imprisonment for deviations from codes of worship and dress."” Protestants and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland have had conflicts for years. A few more recent conflicts are: Muslims and Servian Orghodox Christians in Kosovo, Christians, Jew and Muslims in the Middle East. Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Christians, Muslims and Animists in Nigeria. This has been an ethical issue for centuries and will continue to be an ethical issue for centuries to come. We can not undo centuries of Religious Intolerance and War - we can only make a difference with our individual beliefs and actions supporting individual’s rights and freedom to their own beliefs.

Ashley Francisco said...

This discussion fronts many eithical issues. It lists mans' dignity, the responsibility of the wealthy, the reform of education and healthcare, the power of rulers, religious intolerance and war, and conscience and individual interpretation. All these issues have relevance today and are very much concerns of our time. I would even place the reform of education and healthcare and religous intolerance and war in the top five. I would fill out the top five with the issues of protecting the environment, the economy, and the humanitarian care of poor and under-developed countries.

I would have to place the reform of education and healthcare in the top five because they are currently major concerns. Healthcare is not affordable and it seems that health insurance is heading that way as well. Education is becoming extremely expensive, and we are faced with the fact that even though you have the education you may not be able to find a job.

It is inevitable that religious intolerance and war is a concern domestically and globally. Jihadists are a growing problem, and it seems that ever since nine eleven religious strife has been tearing our country and the rest of the world apart. People often take religion to an extreme and this is true of all religions not just Muslims. If you look at the actual beliefs of religion, extremists are often going against what they are supposed to believe.

The discussion topic posed many issues and each one had relevance. However the two most dominant in my opinion were the reform of education and healthcare as well as religious intolerance and war. These are two topics I see somthing about almost everyday either on the news or in real life.

C Will said...

I think it is more about religion than war. The misinterpretation of religion has spawned the act of war. As with anything else, interpretation is left for the reader creating extremist. While one specific religion creates war for one group, another uses that same religion for peace...

C Will said...

One could truly find a reason to add any of these to the top 5 list. As of lately, there have been some rather interesting ethical issues in healthcare. I am not talking about healthcare for all.. I am talking about a person in Oregon who has terminal cancer. She asked her insurance to pay for a treatment that would extend her life. The insurance denied her claim but offered to pay for a 50 dollar "dying with Dignity" pill. Obviously, it is cheaper for this patient to die than to extend her life. That is one heck of an Ethical Issue.

Valerie Cornett said...

I agree all could be in the top 5 because all are connected in some way. Since the dawn of man, religious beliefs have caused wars. These wars may have been prevented if the people were more tolerant of others. This would require being open minded and using education to learn about others beliefs. It is also some peoples desires for wealth and power which causes them to use religion to lead others into wars. When a few control the wealth and power and have the power to persuade the majority, education and health care will suffer. This is because it is easier to lead the hopeless, sick and uneducated. When one's dignity is removed, one has very little desire to challenge authority. As for reform of any kind, it will be difficult because all must be willing to recognize all humans are equal and deserve equal respect.

Unknown said...

All of these are important ethical issues in our world today. In some ways several of them are linked together. Healthcare reform is again being used as a lightning rod for both political parties, including commercials and statements regarding those who are unable to afford healthcare somehow being "substandard" individuals (The Dignity of Man). Responsibility of the Wealthy (redistribution of wealth?) is a popular subject in political circles as well, which in my opinion will be decided not necessarily by our political leaders but by the richest of our citizens (he who holds the gold holds the power - paraphrased). Our leaders dictate how we live our lives to a certain extent but not as much as midevial rulers.
Conscience and Individual Interpretation can be applied to each of the topics shown as well as any other aspect of life; I see a certain subject differently than you, therefore, you are not a good person.

Shannon Christopher said...

I also believe that all 5 of the given topics could be easily considered ethical issues of today. Even though times have changed, many things have continued to stay the same. In order to prevent an extremely long response I will limit my top 5 choice to one in particular. The Dignity of Man, covers many broad areas of ethical concern. I believe that a lot of what happens today in America and in the rest of the world is based on at least one man's dignity in some way or another. To what extremes will a man go to maintain his dignity? This is a question we all should consider. What one man finds to preserve his dignity may seem to drag another man down. This holds true in many situations, such as war or conflict amoung people. Some people may feel they need to persue certain ways to maintain their dignity but their opposition may feel that what they are doing is in no way dignified and cause a huge ethical turmoil in the mean time. What one man thinks is dignified, another may find completely appauling. So basically, it is a matter of opinion of which we all are more than likely the judge of ourselves and our own actions. In other words, if we all live up to our individual expectations and maintain our personal dignity while also looking out for what is best for others, maybe the world would be a better place for us and our children.

TonyC said...

With out a doubt the "Lack" of dignity of man is most important to me. Man has thrown even the thought of dignity out the window. Now I know there are many people that still have dignity and will try and live their life the right way but in my opinion there are alot more lacking dignity than those that do. I am mainly talking about the politicians of great nation but this seems to filter down to our every day life and the people that we have to deal with every day.

SirLazenby said...

I believe all the above mentioned parallels strongly apply to the current time we live in; most specifically issues pertaining to the responsibilities of the wealthy (achievers and producers). We’ve lived under democratic rule (majoritive tyranny) for so long and have been indoctrinated with the idea that democracy and freedom are the same thing, we’ve completely lost sight of what innate motivations prompt us, as a species, to prosper and what incentives, or lack thereof, cause us to fester.
Squirrels are very fascinating and clever creatures. They, individually, work all summer and fall acquiring as much food as they can hoard. Any squirrel than does otherwise, isn’t going to survive the winter and pass on its lazy genes come spring. Imagine if squirrels, using our current logic (lack of …), decided that all collected foods be gathered together for redistribution come winter. Well, aside from temporarily devaluating the squirrel gene pool by nourishing the lessers of their species, it wouldn’t take long for the lack of individual food-gathering incentive to kick in resulting in an empty pot for redistribution.
I truly believe this public-education engraining of entitlement will soon culminate into all of us suffering a winter the likes of which haven’t been seen since by the settlers of Plymouth Rock. Our current repeating of the initial mistakes made by those first settlers will hopefully be remembered this time and result in a renewed understanding of what Thanksgiving is supposed to recognize; or future generations will simply outsmart themselves, as we have, and start the whole social reorganizing all over again.

Unknown said...

All 5 could qualify for top ethical issues, but the one that hits home for me is the religious intolerance in relation to homosexuality. I dont believe this is as great an issue globally as it is in the United States. America foundation was built on religion but I believe that if you want to use religion as a defense against what you believe is right or wrong you should use it for everything. I'm sure there are religious people who do bring God into every aspect of their lives but I would say that majority do not. It is perfectly fine if homosexuality does not suit everyones individual religion, but how does it effect those who dont agree?

Kristen said...

I believe all of these could relate and be considered top five today. The Dignity of Man is an ethical issue when talking about homosexuality and the way that it is being highly debated.The Responsibility of the wealthy automatically points to the CEO's of our major companies still taking their bonus' when our nation is in the middle of a major economic crisis, which also ties in with the power of rulers. In America it is the "Ruler" the presidents idea for all of these bailouts, which many are disagree with and not thinking were the right path to help our economy. The reform of healthcare is a major issue right now in the US because of the idea of fundings for abortion being in with the healthcare plans. When talking about war I think of tactics of war and prisoners of war and the ethical issues that are playing a role in our society. The war tactics and prisoner are becoming issues all over the world. Consience and Individual Interpretation is also in the top five because of the emerging technology and how it is being used in India. In India many families are using ultrasound machines to determine the sex of their unborn child and in many cases if it is a girl the family will decide to abort the child.
These are all ethical issues that effect American's as well as other parts of the world. Although there are others that are a close tie for the top five I believe these could very well be there.

Unknown said...

I believe reform of education and health care and religious intolerance and war will most definitely always be in the top five. I believe that people will always be looking for an alternative to public education, especially with all the drugs and violence taking place in public schools. No one is ever going to see the same on religious views. People are always going to have their own beliefs on religion and they are not going to be the same as others. Countries are going to continue to disagree on the way leaders run their countries and disagree on what beliefs that country has.

Kyle Carey said...

Religious intolerance and war is my pick from the list of being one of the most ethical issues of our time. I believe it is the cause of many attacks and terroristic behavior, like that of Fort Hood. Religious intolerance sets neighbor against neighbor by creating beliefs about the nature of man, the universe, the origins of the universe, what is correct behavior and right relationships with others. These beliefs exclude those who have different beliefs or behaviors therefore causing argument or war in some cases.

tamar said...

I agree, I think war and religion are definately in the top 5. So many people have committed crimes in the name of religion. Terrorists do it for ALLAH, or whomever they worship. Other people have tried to say that "god, told me to kill my family." It's a cop out, it's peoples' way of not accepting responsibility for their own actions. The concept of Holy War is a major issue to me. Our government throws terms like this out in the event of terrorist action, which fuels the fire. It may not have occured to the people responsible to blame their religion, but I think media and government play a large role in egging them on. The more publicity they get about it the happier they are. They WANT people to be afraid, to know who they are and what they are capable of.

Unknown said...

Yes I would identify all as ethical issues of our time. The dignity of man is an isssue when there are still pro-life and pro-choice abortion issues.The responsibility of the wealthy may be an ethical issue among the wealthy when they are required to pay more taxes because they make more money, at the same time the less wealthy may find an issue with paying taxes while some of the wealthy is exempt. However, I would place in the top 5 of ethical concerns of our time in America as "Conscience and Individual Interpretation" and Reform of Education and Healthcare",and globally I would say Religious Intolerance and War, and The Power of Rulers.

Unknown said...

In America's society today, healthcare is probably one of the biggest ethical issues going for us right now with President Obama's healthcare and education reform being brought out to the public. I do agree, however, that our time does coincide with that of the Renaissance period. From our notes it seemed to me that the Renaissance wasn't as glorious as I had previously thought it to be. Though it was a time where great universities were built and art was prevelant, it seemed as if many people during this era acted out and did their own thing, taking a humanistic side of things especially in religion. In many aspects, this still occurs with many countries today and still causes some turmoil within society. So as for each of those listed above, I would say that all of them are still to this day a top ethical issue in America and globally, with Healthcare and Education reform being one of the highest at this point. A couple of these issues could coincide with one another in America as well.

Unknown said...

I would say that War and Education. Our kids are suppose to be our future and alot of them can barely read and write. Not only that there is war in our schools as well as in Iraq. I just don't know what our future is going to be like but from the looks of it we are in for a ride. It does seem as if we are in our last days. Because there are wars and wars and people are getting crazy and crazier everyday. We are suffering with all kinds of differant diseases.

Michelle Riddle said...

I feel that, probably, the top issue would be religion and war. More lives have been lost because of war over religions than any other reason. Most people are intolerant of someone who doesn't agree with them on religion, or even more simplistic topics. Religion fuels more emotional energy, negative and positive, than most anything I have ever seen. It seems like it has been this way since the beginning of time almost. Tribes would take over other tribes and force their own religions on the people they subject. It is still such an ongoing issue. If tolerance in religion could be taught, and it could be by the churches and powers that be, then this world would be a much better place. But someone has to be right and everyone else has to be wrong, therefore no one is going to admit that "Hey, your religion is just a little different than mine, we can get along." If you look closely enough you will see that most religions have a lot more in common if you look beneath the cover.

A second major issue, I believe, is education. I am an education student and have been working in a public school for 10 years. I have worked with preschool and with alternative school students. It saddens me that so much emphasis is no longer on the student and what they need to know to survive and thrive, but on test scores and numbers and money. Everything is about money. My son had a teacher that told him they were going to study a type of Japanese or Chinese puppetry because it was on the test they have to take at the end of the year. Will he EVER in his life NEED to know this?

Ashley said...

I feel that all of the issues mentioned can be and should be considered ethical issues of our time. Some of these issues are higher up on the importance chart then others; but important all the same. Two of the issues important to me are the responsibility of the wealthy and the education and healthcare reform. There are so many things that oculd be resolved if the wealthy were held accountable to make a change, with the funds in their wallet. It doesnt make since for people to live in unhealhty living situations (i.e. without running water, struggling to find food etc) when there are so many wealthy individuals blowing money on non-essential items, clothing, multiple homes and care etc. Reform for education and health care is also important to me. Health care because everyone should have it, and that's not the case, and education because as a soon to be teacher, education is extrememly important, and students everywhere should be receiving the best education possible.

My top five ethical concern choices would be:
1)Reform of Education & Healthcare
2)Responsiblity of the wealthy
3)Religious intolerance and war
4)The power of rulers
5)Conscience and individual interpretation