Asking the wrong question

Philosophers often get ridiculed because they are constantly asking questions, as if there is something inherently wrong with actively inquiring about life. Often, it is not the questions themselves that cause issue, rather it is the substance of the questions that cause much discomfort because they cause the person on the receiving end of the interrogation to ask questions of themselves, questions which often require uncomfortable answers. The issue with the questioner, as opposed to the one being questioned, is often that they are not actually seeking an answer as much as the correct way to ask the question.

In a recent conversation with an atheist, I was asked from where, as a theist, do I get my morals? The problem with this question is that it is a very complex question. Though it is simply formulated, it is composed of multiple levels as well as several errors in logic.

First problem, the question asks is “where”. This is asking for a spatial location. This interrogative may be proper if the questioner is looking for a place that morals may be judged, but since the subject is an abstract matter, there are confusing issues raised with posing such a formulation in the question.

Second, the definition of “morals” is somewhat ambiguous. Often, when people use the word, they are attempting to describe moral instruction, also known as ethics, those elements that often fell at the end of a fairy tale, where a point is being made allegorically. This point needs definition as to what exactly is being referred to, whether it is the instruction, the action, or the inherent sense that lies within those who dwell in the human race.

The overall problem, as it has been indicated in earlier posts, is that, according to the nature of explanation and the substance of the question, this question does not have an answer in its present formulation, if the question is meant to direct the answer toward a metaphysical explanation. At best, the question should be “from whom did you get your morals”, especially if the question is meant to source ethical teachings that inform actions that are then judged by the sense as to its morality.


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