We often hear that we can't say something due to causing offence.

offense


1.  a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule;transgression; sin.
2.  a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
3.  a cause of transgression or wrong.
4.  something that offends or displeases.
5.  the act of offending or displeasing.

So it would seem that we are being chastised into submission for transgressing a moral rule.  

So is it immoral to express opinions based on rational thought?

 

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Replies to This Discussion

 Hi Alice,

Morality is a abstract concept and its value is in its relation to the welfare of living beings. An idea whether rational or no which is put forward with the intent to harm, would qualify as immoral. I like Nietzsche`s definition of evil. Where he states, that any action intended to make anothers life more difficult than it naturally has to be, is evil. 

So am I evil in wanting to make another persons life more difficult by asking them to question their faith?

Or I am evil in confronting someone on their believe that homeopathy works in the way that it is claimed to work?

Because on both those counts I know that I am contributing to harming the beliefs they hold about the world.

 Hi Alice,

No I would not say that displeasing someone is evil, but to purposely, intentionally diminish their physical ability to survive no matter in what degree,would be evil. There is no morality in nature, what ever IS in nature, is natural not moral. Morality is a feeling we have about how nature effects our biology and our likely hood of survival. At any give time it is the relation between subject and object or the individuals relation to the physical world. I am driving things a little off course perhaps. I have questioned myself about disrupting a friends worldview with a dose of reality, only to realize reality doesn't do much for him. So if he cannot handle losing the fantasy, knowing that, would I be evil to insisting on enlightening him--what do you think? Remember this is the means by which this man deals with living in this world. 

James - it's a tough question - I have friends who have based all their health treatments of themselves and their children on homeopathy - obviously they would take their kids if the kid was bleeding to death or something equally needing such attention - so I'm not worried about their care of their children - but they do use homeopathy as part of a treatment for emotional instability, mild physical problems such as bed wetting or eczema, nervousness, air or sea sickness - also I have friends who have been Christian all their lives - and most of their family and friends are christian, including their partner and children - so I would say that they have way too much to loose in allowing free thought into their lives.

I know what the party line for my behaviour is in some religious groups - they are told to keep away from me, or aim to enlighten me to their way of thinking if they can - otherwise, I am considered a vehicle of evil and to be avoided.

One of the pitfalls of language- a word is not always its own synonym. The last two definitions are not interchangeable with the first three. Personal offense and criminal offense are entirely different concepts.

It is not wrong to express an offensive opinion; it is a subjective offense, and the speaker cannot always know who will be offended by it. In order for speech to become an offense against law or society at large, it has to do or threaten harm- a standard which does not and cannot cover somebody merely being upset by it. Being forced to confront the mental discomfort of somebody telling you that you're wrong does not equate to your rights being violated.

OK - sounds good - 

So someone hears that they have been holding onto an untruth - and therefore feel grief about that - or they hear that you disrespect their belief and feel grief about it.

Then they blame you for their grief.....

The blame is based in anger

Which in turn is based in a value judgement

So basically they feel hurt, make a value judgement about your comment, get angry about it, and blame you for their grief.

As opposed to:

Feeling hurt, expressing their feeling, expressing their need for support et al, expressing clearly what has happened to cause this hurt, and expressing clearly what they request from you about it.

I might say similar - I feel 

AFRAID
apprehensive
dread
foreboding
frightened
mistrustful
panicked
petrified
scared
suspicious
terrified
wary
worried

ANNOYED
aggravated
dismayed
disgruntled
displeased
exasperated
frustrated
impatient
irritated
irked

ANGRY
enraged
furious
incensed
indignant
irate
livid
outraged
resentful

AVERSION
animosity
appalled
contempt
disgusted
dislike
hate
horrified
hostile
repulsed

CONFUSED
ambivalent
baffled
bewildered
dazed
hesitant
lost
mystified
perplexed
puzzled
torn

DISCONNECTED
alienated
aloof
apathetic
bored
cold
detached
distant
distracted
indifferent
numb
removed
uninterested
withdrawn

DISQUIET
agitated
alarmed
discombobulated
disconcerted
disturbed
perturbed
rattled
restless
shocked
startled
surprised
troubled
turbulent
turmoil
uncomfortable
uneasy
unnerved
unsettled
upset

EMBARRASSED
ashamed
chagrined
flustered
guilty
mortified
self-conscious

FATIGUE
beat
burnt out
depleted
exhausted
lethargic
listless
sleepy
tired
weary
worn out

PAIN
agony
anguished
bereaved
devastated
grief
heartbroken
hurt
lonely
miserable
regretful
remorseful

SAD
depressed
dejected
despair
despondent
disappointed
discouraged
disheartened
forlorn
gloomy
heavy hearted
hopeless
melancholy
unhappy
wretched

TENSE
anxious
cranky
distressed
distraught
edgy
fidgety
frazzled
irritable
jittery
nervous
overwhelmed
restless
stressed out

VULNERABLE
fragile
guarded
helpless
insecure
leery
reserved
sensitive
shaky

YEARNING
envious
jealous
longing
nostalgic
pining
wistful

when I know others have supernatural beliefs, because I need

CONNECTION
acceptance
affection
appreciation
belonging
cooperation
communication
closeness
community
companionship
compassion
consideration
consistency
empathy
inclusion
intimacy
love
mutuality
nurturing
respect/self-respect

CONNECTION continued
safety
security
stability
support
to know and be known
to see and be seen
to understand and 
be understood
trust
warmth

PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
air
food
movement/exercise
rest/sleep
sexual expression
safety
shelter
touch
water

HONESTY
authenticity
integrity
presence

PLAY
joy
humor

PEACE
beauty
communion
ease
equality
harmony
inspiration
order

AUTONOMY
choice
freedom
independence
space
spontaneity

MEANING
awareness
celebration of life
challenge
clarity
competence
consciousness
contribution
creativity
discovery
efficacy
effectiveness
growth
hope
learning
mourning
participation
purpose
self-expression
stimulation
to matter
understanding

And wonder if you would be willing to be more open minded to free thought?

http://www.cnvc.org/Training/needs-inventory

http://www.cnvc.org/Training/feelings-inventory

They offend me with their claptrap, so it goes both ways as a quid pro quo, I guess.

Marc - but what if you want to maintain a friendship with someone who takes offense at your world view - what then?

Alice, then you decide that your relationship is more important that expressing your opinion.

Mark - true - so doesn't it then follow that if you do express your opinion to someone who you know has different views, that you are devaluing your relationship?

Mark - it's interesting because my husband is very opinionated - and speaks his mind - he doesn't try to offend anyone, but just talks about ideas and thoughts he is having.  I seem to worry a lot more about what people think and feel about what I say.

If I hadn't been challenged and shocked and offended by others and chose to avoid it - then I wouldn't be on this website - I value truth - and so perhaps I presume that others also value truth.

I suppose I'll find out what they value as I go on expressing my world view.

IT depends on the person. Damn this iPad keyboard. Lol.

Most of the time I don't make friends with people who have those sorts of views in the first place.

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