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Morality And Ethics Without Absolutes


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— Albert Einstein

 

When it comes to ethical decisions and moral behavior,

 

What is right?

 

What is wrong?

 

What is good?

 

What is bad?

 

And, do we really need a god to tell us what these words mean?

 

When I was a Christian, innumerable sermons, messages, pamphlets, and books crossed my eyes and flooded my ears with the dogma of moral absolutism. God had decreed HIS Law. He had embedded it in the hearts and minds of men. HE had written it on tablets of stone. Those laws were foundational to family life. Those tablets were the cornerstones to ordered society. HIS absolute Law is the bedrock upon which all people must build their lives and homes.

 

Moral relativism, on the other hand, was fiercely denounced as a doctrine birthed in the pit of hell. This idea, if it ever gained wide-spread acceptance, would usher in an era of moral collapse and chaos. The very fabric of society would be rent in twain, and Satan himself would walk our streets.

 

OK, no one said Satan would walk our streets, but it was generally agreed that without the absolute moral authority of the Bible, the 10 Commandments, etc., the world might stop spinning in its orbit, or something. At the very least, violence and mayhem would be commonplace. A shadowy vision of a lawless, post-apocalyptic landscape would come to mind whenever relativism was mentioned.

 

I completely bought into that Christian viewpoint.

 

"Isn't it obvious?" I'd ask. "God Himself describes what is good. God is good. And sin is the transgression of the Law of God."

 

I was comfortable with this position because morality this simply defined was easy to understand. I knew right from wrong because God had given me some natural knowledge, His Word to confirm that inner knowledge, and bound it all together with the witness of His Spirit in my heart.

 

Who needs a philosophical education on ethics when you possess a mystical triumvirate of moral certitude?

 

Obviously I've abandoned that position now, but I didn't do it without a measure of fear and uncertainty. Because of my long programming, I wondered if it was possible to be moral without the restraining influences of a belief in God. What was to keep me from diving head-long into hedonism? What would keep me from devolving into a drunken glutton whose mantra would be "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!"

 

Isn't being debauched what "True Infidelity™ is all about?

 

Now, several years later, without a belief in an afterlife or in a God who is waiting to punish me, I haven't appreciably changed my lifestyle. I still hold down a job, obey the speed limit, pay my taxes, love my family, deal honestly with others, am devotedly faithful to my wife, not given to frequent outbursts of rage, regularly bathe, brush my teeth, and comb my hair.

 

In essence, there's been no significant change at all in my behavior. If anything, some of my behavior has improved: I'm less prone to harshly and narrowly judge my fellow human beings.

 

The thought of relativism scared me as a Christian. It scares many Christians because to admit that morals can change based on cultural, historical, familial, or other influences and norms, opens wide the door to the possibilities such as that Hitler and Stalin couldn't be judged as any more immoral than my grandmother. In other words, if we have no Law Maker in the sky, how can anyone say that the things Hitler and Stalin did were bad?

 

Well?

 

Well, if we do have a Law Maker in the sky that says the things Hitler and Stalin did was bad, would that make they did bad?

 

What I mean is, is genocide and mass-murder bad because a so-called god says so, or is it bad for some other reason? If God said genocide and mass-murder were good, would it be OK to kill with impunity and without mercy?

 

Said another way, is what Hitler and Stalin did only bad because a god says so? Do we really need a god to tell us that these two guys were monsters?

 

Are things wrong because a god has decreed certain things bad, or are certain things inherently bad in and of themselves. If God commits genocide is it good? If God commands us to commit genocide, is it good? Whether or not God would ever ask such behavior of us is beside the point. To say that God's nature is good, and HE must obey His nature, is also avoiding the question. If God commanded you to murder another human being, would God be commanding something good or something bad?

 

There are a couple of points here:

  1. Since God supposedly cannot perform evil acts or order evil acts, or call evil good or call good evil, it suggests that He answers to a law of morality outside of Himself. Clearly God cannot arbitrarily declare murder bad one day and good the next. Either murder is bad or it is not, right?
  2. Christianity is morally relativistic.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness..."

 

Lying is a sin. Lying is breaking the Law of God.

 

Yet, Corrie Ten Boom, the famous Christian author who wrote of her experiences during the Nazi occupation of Holland in WWII, hid Jewish people in her home. She repeatedly denied to the authorities that she was hiding anyone. Over and over, she lied.

 

Personally, I think she did the right thing. She did the morally right thing. But she still lied. She lied to protect the lives of others who would die if she told the truth. She made a morally relativistic decision.

 

What if you were a Christian, serving as a soldier in the United States army during WWII, and you were commanded to assassinate Hitler? Assassinating Hitler — would that be morally good or morally bad?

 

What if the command to kill Hitler came late in the war, after many millions of people had died?

 

What if the command to kill Hitler came early in the war, before hostilities broke out?

 

What if the command to kill Hitler came when Hitler was a child?

 

I betting that honest people attempting to answer those questions will admit that their answers changed depending on the way the question was phrased, depending on the circumstances described. While at one point, killing Hitler might seem like the morally right thing to do. Killing a child, even Hitler as a child, would give most people pause.

 

For me, when I began to realize that even in Christianity there are no moral absolutes, that moral decisions change and adjust with the circumstances, I started to break free of the fear that some sort of horrific moral chaos would overwhelm our world without bible-god.

 

If it were easy to determine right from wrong or good from bad, we wouldn't need so many laws, lawyers, and judges. If morality was something written in stone, slavery wouldn't have been tolerated throughout nearly 1,900 years of Christian history. We all know that slavery is wrong, don't we? Yet, not once in the entire Bible is the practice called wrong.

 

Here's something bold: Perhaps, in ancient times, slavery wasn't wrong! Perhaps it's only wrong now!

 

Christians want it both ways. They want to claim a hold on moral absolutes, but will defend things like slavery with moral relativistic rhetoric.

 

The reality is, there are no clear absolutes when it comes to morality. Does that mean that anything goes, so party on, dude? Does that mean Hitler and Stalin are, after all, no less moral than my grandmother?

 

No.

 

It's apparent that human beings have evolved with a need for socialization, for community, for family, for building tribes and cities and nations. We generally all want to live and be happy, and the best way to do that is to live together in peace. Were not that far from our Paleolithic roots, however, so we still have a long way to go. Shedding our primitive superstitious nonsense like so many worn out rags will be a good step in the right direction.

 

I no longer envision all humans with Christian pessimism. I do not think people are morally depraved demon fodder more fit for the fire than for anything else. I don't necessarily think all people are basically good, either. I think it all depends on the relative circumstances we find ourselves in. In any event, morality is strictly a human affair.

 

http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2007/01...-absolutes.html

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Moral relativism is as wrong as is saying God gives us our morals.

 

If individuals determined morality on a whim or based on a purely subjective worldview, it is the same as the mouthpieces of God revealing what God has declared to be right and wrong. We can determine what is right and wrong based on reason, free of divine "revelation" and subjective "revelation". They are effectively the very same thing.

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To take it even one step further, I'm beginning to think that there is no such thing as morals in the first place and those who promote the concept do so only to control people by getting them to do or not do certain things.

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I find simply that by leaving Poonis the hell alone, and not messing in his day, life and affairs, he is usually so inclined to do same for me.

 

I don't go pissing upstream of Chef's water supply. Expect same consideration.

 

Can go on with many more examples, however I believe that not fucking with someone, or group usually allows us all not to conflict.

 

The major problem I see in this world now is that "everyone wants to rule the world". Every religious group has a *plan*. Damn near every fraternal group has a something in motion. People just aren't content not to fuck with my life, they have to try and control it by manipulating the surroundings I am in.

 

After many years of thought and observation, it is my belief that people exist just to piss each other off.

If we're not pissed at the Jones', Poonis and his crowd, daFatman and his cult, and every one else who "isn't us", we're just not fuckin' satisfied.

 

Have no answers to morals and the relative questions. Keep your personal protective device close, the goblins want what you have..

 

kFL

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Moral relativism is as wrong as is saying God gives us our morals.

 

If individuals determined morality on a whim or based on a purely subjective worldview, it is the same as the mouthpieces of God revealing what God has declared to be right and wrong. We can determine what is right and wrong based on reason, free of divine "revelation" and subjective "revelation". They are effectively the very same thing.

 

It is fallacious to assume that moral relativism means determining morality on a whim. To me (ah, relativism right there) it means that many things, such as context and timing, will determine if an action is right or wrong. In addition, from a scientific standpoint there is no such thing as right or wrong- those definitions are assigned by humans. Different people will define the same action in different ways- what authority have you to tell them that their definition is wrong and yours is correct? Different societies have held different views on things- rape and murder have even been classified as acceptable. To you or I that sounds atrocious, but to them, it was simply part of life. What authority have you to say your way of life is THE way of life? Without a god, moral absolutism can not exist. Without an ultimate authority to refer to, you cannot look at an action and deem it immoral outside of YOUR OWN, SUBJECTIVE, WORLD VIEW. Don't be bolstered by the fact that society may share your view- it is still quite subjective.

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Moral relativism is as wrong as is saying God gives us our morals.

 

If individuals determined morality on a whim or based on a purely subjective worldview, it is the same as the mouthpieces of God revealing what God has declared to be right and wrong. We can determine what is right and wrong based on reason, free of divine "revelation" and subjective "revelation". They are effectively the very same thing.

 

How so? I'm not sure how you determine objective morality based on rationality or reason.

 

I agree with Rousseau, morality is based on contemporary community standards - which just so happens to be relative and subjective (though it was the Supreme court who coined that phrase, not Rousseau).

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It is fallacious to assume that moral relativism means determining morality on a whim. To me (ah, relativism right there) it means that many things, such as context and timing, will determine if an action is right or wrong. In addition, from a scientific standpoint there is no such thing as right or wrong- those definitions are assigned by humans. Different people will define the same action in different ways- what authority have you to tell them that their definition is wrong and yours is correct? Different societies have held different views on things- rape and murder have even been classified as acceptable. To you or I that sounds atrocious, but to them, it was simply part of life. What authority have you to say your way of life is THE way of life? Without a god, moral absolutism can not exist. Without an ultimate authority to refer to, you cannot look at an action and deem it immoral outside of YOUR OWN, SUBJECTIVE, WORLD VIEW. Don't be bolstered by the fact that society may share your view- it is still quite subjective.

 

Exactly.

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How so? I'm not sure how you determine objective morality based on rationality or reason.

 

Rational, objective morality is actually very simple--honoring and protecting the individual from trespass on their right to life, liberty and property. It's based on one simple assumption that life is of value and sentient life is of ultimate value. The only ones who disagree with it are the ones who allow as how they can put the value of their lives above those of others, IOW, continuing the ancient double standard--the cornerstone of immorality which some (including myself) call evil.

 

The confusion comes from what we think of when we hear the word, morality. It's been integrated over the millennia of religious indoctrination into the erroneous dogma that morality includes virtue and integrity, which ARE individual and subjective. Virtue is a personal code of conduct governing actions that do not violate the rights of others. You could, say, spend your life on the couch watching soap operas in a continuous drunken/drugged stupor. I might view it as a waste, but it's your life, your call as long as it's on your dime. Neither would it be immoral for me to tell you what I thought of you, unless I pulled a gun and told you to get a life. (Any similarity between my example and any similarly slovenly board members is purely coincidental.)

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Rational, objective morality is actually very simple--honoring and protecting the individual from trespass on their right to life, liberty and property.

 

The very assumption on which you base your view is subjective. Morality is subjective. Some people are frightened by that, as if we are poised on a slippery slope leading to a precipice. I have found that the slope is not all that slippery, and everyone knows about the precipice. Take heart, and have a little faith in your fellow man.

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The very assumption on which you base your view is subjective.

 

No, because it is a universal assumption that when applied to the moral code against transgression of individual rights, makes those rights applicable to everyone equally and universally, a (THE?) requirement for objectivity. I know of no other moral code that can make this claim since any subjective code is not universality; in fact they are employed specifically to facilitate favoritism and the double standard

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Paineful, I do not understand what you are trying to say, but I want to understand.

 

Maybe if you put it in an if.... then... format then I would understand you.

 

For instance, IF we want to be moral THEN we must each respect the rights of others. Maybe that's not what you are saying, but I hope you get the idea.

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You know what, screw it. You're just not worth the effort, Painful (no, that's not misspelled).

 

If and when you come to grips with the fact that you're still a theist and can finally admit to yourself that's based not on some secret "Truth" of the universe to which only you have access, but on purely irrational, emotional belief just like all others, I'll give it another shot.

 

Until then, have fun fooling yourself.

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The only ones who disagree with it are the ones who allow as how they can put the value of their lives above those of others, IOW, continuing the ancient double standard--the cornerstone of immorality which some (including myself) call evil.

 

You mean like Americans when they cheer their soldiers on in Iraq as they kill others whose lives they value less than their own? The world is full of double standards. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid them.

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You know what, screw it. You're just not worth the effort, Painful (no, that's not misspelled).

 

If and when you come to grips with the fact that you're still a theist and can finally admit to yourself that's based not on some secret "Truth" of the universe to which only you have access, but on purely irrational, emotional belief just like all others, I'll give it another shot.

 

Until then, have fun fooling yourself.

 

PT,

 

I really think you should consider the feedback you are getting from people. I find you regularly circumvent the essence of my arguments, you have once (in retrospect illegitemately) accused me of putting words in your mouth, you have utterly frustrated Woodsmoke and Legion says you are unintelligible.

 

I believe all three of us sincerely want to understand but your approach is frustrating.

 

Your screen name, Avatar, your book and clearly your posts give the appearance that you sincerely seek the truth. If so, I suggest you give other people's arguments more credibility rather than wipe them away with a secondary argument or use a minor point to segway back to comforting arguments.

 

I have tried hard to reason with you AND in good faith but you seem to want to make your point more than explore different views.

 

Moral relativism is as wrong as is saying God gives us our morals.
That is indefensible just like (from another thread)...

 

... But then the universe came from somewhere. Neither a God nor no god is a reasonable explanation.

 

That is utterly indefensible!

 

You have sorely mistaken the mentality of people who come to this site.

 

This site is full of people who are sick of broad illogical assumptions that we are "expected" to take as fact.

 

If you want to be taken seriously, do likewise.

 

Here is something to start with...

 

Explain to me, assuming absolute truth exists, how two people are capable of arriving at the same moral points of view if each one's point of moral reference is found in the core of each individual? If you argue (assume you won't) that the point of moral reference is outside the individual, then where?

 

I have not found (note the relativity) any answer to this and this is why I abandoned the idea of absolute truth . I have moved to moral relativity. I have concluded that absolute truth was just another cultural (Judaeo-xtian) value that I swallowed without critical thought.

 

Mongo

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To take it even one step further, I'm beginning to think that there is no such thing as morals in the first place and those who promote the concept do so only to control people by getting them to do or not do certain things.

Morals do exist, but they are neither absolute nor relative. They are subjective, though as morality is about suffering. In short, a "good" act is one that relieves more suffering than it induces, and an "evil" act is one that induces more suffering than it relieves. In essence, every moral question is actually one of whether or not the ends justify the means.

 

Go utilitarianism! I suggest everyone pick up some books by Peter Singer. You should probably start with Writings on an Ethical Life as it samples many of his works.

 

Moral relativism is as wrong as is saying God gives us our morals.

 

If individuals determined morality on a whim or based on a purely subjective worldview, it is the same as the mouthpieces of God revealing what God has declared to be right and wrong. We can determine what is right and wrong based on reason, free of divine "revelation" and subjective "revelation". They are effectively the very same thing.

 

It is fallacious to assume that moral relativism means determining morality on a whim. To me (ah, relativism right there) it means that many things, such as context and timing, will determine if an action is right or wrong.

This is not moral relativism. This is the "preference" part of Preference Utilitarianism.

 

In addition, from a scientific standpoint there is no such thing as right or wrong- those definitions are assigned by humans.
It is true that morality wouldn't exist if consciousness didn't, but it is also true that morality is a construct of consciousness. It isn't completely man made. The very nature of sentience provides morality. Morality is based on suffering and logic.

 

Without a god, moral absolutism can not exist.
Maybe that is true, but maybe it isn't. Moral absolutism isn't good anyway, because of its intrinsic lack of flexibility. It doesn't allow for flexibility. Say a god said "Don't lie." Now, for the sake of argument, you are in Nazi Germany and you are housing a family of Jews in your attic. One day, the government comes around looking for Jews. They ask you, "Are you hiding any Jews?". If you say "Yes", then you will be imparting unfathomable suffering on an innocent group of people. If you say "no", you the government will most likely move on. If you refuse to answer, they will assume that to mean "Yes" and the result will be the same as if you had answered "Yes", except this time, you are imparting suffering upon yourself. What is the moral course of action? The only option that decreases suffering more than it increases it is the one in which you lie. By the absolute divine morality, lying is wrong. But in true morality, it is the moral way to go and to tell the truth would be evil.

 

 

Without an ultimate authority to refer to, you cannot look at an action and deem it immoral outside of YOUR OWN, SUBJECTIVE, WORLD VIEW.
That is not true. All one must do is logically examine the situation. Suffering is a fact. The extent of suffering may be subjective, but suffering itself is not.

 

Don't be bolstered by the fact that society may share your view
Indeed. True morality can often lead you away from what society condones, just as society can condone moral atrocities.

 

- it is still quite subjective.
Subjective to an extent, but not relative.

 

How so? I'm not sure how you determine objective morality based on rationality or reason.

 

Rational, objective morality is actually very simple--honoring and protecting the individual from trespass on their right to life, liberty and property. It's based on one simple assumption that life is of value and sentient life is of ultimate value. The only ones who disagree with it are the ones who allow as how they can put the value of their lives above those of others, IOW, continuing the ancient double standard--the cornerstone of immorality which some (including myself) call evil.

 

The confusion comes from what we think of when we hear the word, morality. It's been integrated over the millennia of religious indoctrination into the erroneous dogma that morality includes virtue and integrity, which ARE individual and subjective. Virtue is a personal code of conduct governing actions that do not violate the rights of others. You could, say, spend your life on the couch watching soap operas in a continuous drunken/drugged stupor. I might view it as a waste, but it's your life, your call as long as it's on your dime. Neither would it be immoral for me to tell you what I thought of you, unless I pulled a gun and told you to get a life. (Any similarity between my example and any similarly slovenly board members is purely coincidental.)

Great post. Spot on.

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Rational, objective morality is actually very simple--honoring and protecting the individual from trespass on their right to life, liberty and property. It's based on one simple assumption that life is of value and sentient life is of ultimate value. The only ones who disagree with it are the ones who allow as how they can put the value of their lives above those of others, IOW, continuing the ancient double standard--the cornerstone of immorality which some (including myself) call evil.
Problem with that is manifold. One, the rights we have (life, liberty, etc., etc.) are those conferred to us by... us. Personal trespass is impossible to avoid forever, because we must deal with other people, and there can be no amount of resources great enough that that wouldn't be necessary, unless you live in the wilderness and are completely self-sufficient (and you can, of course, bear the solitude). Add to that the concept of ownership, of one's life, property, etc., conflict becomes inevitable.

 

Additionally, no one has the right to live, be comfortable or not be tresspassed upon. But everyone has the rights to try to live and be comfortable, and everyone has the right to suffer the consequences of a trespass, be it to themselves, or from whomever they committed the violation to. These rights are not given by us to us, but by our existence, and our comprehension of our existence alone. Those rights are also one of the sources of conflict. Ergo, morality is a way by which we as people, for the maintanence of our societies, and for our own selfish (though not necessarily wrong) reasons seek to lessen the occurence of those violations, and to help us all live up to our rights to try to live and comfortably.

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Indeed. True morality can often lead you away from what society condones, just as society can condone moral atrocities.

 

Insightful observations -- great!

 

Let me ask, how would any of you judge the dropping of the first Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians? Was that a moral action or immoral?

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Hmm... As we've been told, an invasion would have resulted in a far higher casualty number. If that's true, then considering the cost in lives, it may well have been the more moral action, but I can't say for certain.

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Indeed. True morality can often lead you away from what society condones, just as society can condone moral atrocities.

 

Insightful observations -- great!

 

Let me ask, how would any of you judge the dropping of the first Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians? Was that a moral action or immoral?

 

I would say immoral because it caused a great deal of unnecessary harm. I don't think that the ends justify the means with something like that. Those people did not deserve to die simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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(I exceeded the quote limit, therefore Pt 1 &Y Pt 2)

 

PART The First:

Legion Regalis wrote:

For instance, IF we want to be moral THEN we must each respect the rights of others. Maybe that's not what you are saying, but I hope you get the idea.
If an objective moral code is the goal, then it must have equal and universal application and enforcement of universal individual rights.

 

Couching this in an if-then statement is difficult because the if implies something less than universal. For example, your "IF we want to be moral", is much less than universal since we don't all want to be moral.

 

Woodsmoke wrote:

If and when you come to grips with the fact that you're still a theist and can finally admit to yourself that's based not on some secret "Truth" of the universe to which only you have access,

 

Theist in the general since, yes. I've been a deist on this board since day one, and the board is for ex-christians, which I also am. None of that is a secret, and certainly neither is my position on Truth by which I've driven some people distraction I'm sure, trying to explain it. Your accusations are not based on fact at all, but rather, I'm afraid, on emotion. If not, then please explain how I've been secretive, or the secretive aspect of what I've said?

 

Vigile wrote:

The world is full of double standards. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid them.
So, just accept them?

 

Mongo wrote:

If you argue ([i?] assume you won't) that the point of moral reference is outside the individual, then where?

 

Reason and the one universal assumption that I went into earlier.

Assuming there is only subjective Truth, then why are you arguing against mine?

How can pure subjective Truth be anything but justification for murder at will--or crucifying atheists.

 

I have concluded that absolute truth was just another cultural (Judaeo-xtian) value that I swallowed without critical thought.
And there is the core of my opposition here. The fact that I believe in the possibility of God is enough to dismiss what I say as the "revealed" ravings of a deluded theocrat. He's a closet Christian, or one who can't come to grips with the fact that his indoctrination was so complete that he is totally unaware that he never left the fold.

 

Moral relativism is as wrong as is saying God gives us our morals.

That is indefensible

 

Are not the self-serving moral proclamations of Biblical/Koranic prophets, kings, imams and priests, nothing but moral relativism?

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Part the Second

 

YDOAPS wrote:

It is true that morality wouldn't exist if consciousness didn't, but it is also true that morality is a construct of consciousness. It isn't completely man made. The very nature of sentience provides morality. Morality is based on suffering and logic.
I agree, except that I don't understand how morality is based on suffering.

 

QUOTE

Don't be bolstered by the fact that society may share your view

Indeed. True morality can often lead you away from what society condones, just as society can condone moral atrocities

 

Exactly.

 

Dhamphir wrote:

Problem with that is manifold. One, the rights we have (life, liberty, etc., etc.) are those conferred to us by... us.
Why is that a problem? We either confer rights to us by us, or to us by them. For example, under the former, there is freedom of religious thought; under the latter, Christians, say, could outlaw atheism--again.

 

Personal trespass is impossible to avoid forever

 

Hell, it's impossible to avoid period. Does that justify doing nothing about it? Our primary weapon against it is the rule of law--the single standard, universal, rule of law. One size fits all.

 

Those rights are also one of the sources of conflict.
If everyone honored them (an idealistic irrationality I know) then there would be no conflict. Conflict always comes from someone violating those rights, or from a perceived violation and retaliation without all the facts.

 

Ergo, morality is a way by which we as people, for the maintanence of our societies, and for our own selfish (though not necessarily wrong) reasons seek to lessen the occurence of those violations, and to help us all live up to our rights to try to live and comfortably.

 

On its own, I agree with that statement. It's the self-enforcing aspect of this objective morality, enlightened self-interest.

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Using a strict utilitarian approach still requires one to make subjective decisions. Fore example, even if dropping the bombs ended a bloody war (something I'm not convinced of - Japan was pretty much near surrender), were the lives of the innocent civilians worth more/less/the same as the soldiers spared?

 

My opinion is that dropping the bomb was just a cowboy act that could have been avoided very much like the current war in Iraq.

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So, just accept them?

 

I have no problem with that, but in doing so there is not much room for an objective morality.

 

How can pure subjective Truth be anything but justification for murder at will--or crucifying atheists.

 

Huh?

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Part the Third

(Responding to post made during composition of Pt's 1 & 2.)

 

Webmaster wrote:

 

Let me ask, how would any of you judge the dropping of the first Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians? Was that a moral action or immoral?

 

We will always be faced with cleaning up the messes caused by the double standard where rights are intentionally violated, or even in moral gray areas such as abortion where you are dealing with two lives where whatever you do to one, you affect the other. (Another thread.)

 

As for Japan, if we hadn't used the bomb, estimates vary, but in all cases, there would have been much greater military deaths on both sides and well as Japanese civilian "collateral damage" if we'd invaded. Therefore, given the war was driven the aggressive attack by the Japanese, I believe we had the right to opt for the lesser of two evils.

 

That said, we should have fired a couple of warning shots first, in Tokyo Harbor or something. The fact that we only had two bombs at the time was a lame excuse for what was really revenge, since no one else had any or knew how to make them yet and we could have held our positions off mainland Japan long enough to make more. In doing so, we shifted the mantle of immorality on our own shoulders.

 

That being said, we displayed magnanimity on a scale never before seen in our post-war assistance for friends and enemies in England, France, Germany and Japan. IOW, we fucked up, but repented and attempted to make restitution far beyond that necessary for our one transgression.

 

Conclusion: War is hell. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't

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Regarding the dropping of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, my point with asking the question was to illustrate something about morality. Even people who are generally like minded on numerous things may disagree when it comes to specific questions of morality. The answer to whether dropping those bombs was moral or immoral is subjective, relative, and founded on... well, no one knows.

 

In essence, society at the time decided that dropping the bombs was the right thing to do. Today there are some who would applaud dropping bombs on the Middle East. They would believe that was a completely justifiable and morally correct option. If the majority of society declares such an action the right thing to do, guess what will happen.

 

From what I've seen in life, there is no universal agreement among human beings when it comes to delineating the details of specific moral/immoral behaviors. Oh sure, generally, people agree that murder, theft and so on are not good, but everyone admits there are exceptions to everything. If someone breaks into my home intent on doing my family harm, I'd kill that person without a blink. Society would not find me guilty of a crime. And if I sat there and did nothing, society would not find me guilty of a crime. Both actions are equally acceptable by societal standards, though various individuals among us would choose one course of action over the other.

 

Let's face it, if there were no human beings, there would be no discussion of morality. If two dogs get into a fight and one dog dies, what is the crime? What immoral thing happened?

 

If a lion steals the food from another lion, what immorality is committed?

 

Morality is strictly a human affair.

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