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Moral Absolutes? or is it all Relative?

bryanf

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I have noticed, and it has been pointed out by others, that there is a declining standard of morality. It seems that more and more people are adopting the relativist position on morality: what is right for you is right for you, and everyone else needs to recognize and accomodate that.

Here's my question: are there moral absolutes?
 

Tetsuo

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I lean towards the feeling that everything is relative. These days even the most devote christian from the bible belt will say "Hell" or "Damn" when angry or after an accident but 300 years ago in the worlds primative navys this could be punished with a red hot poker through the tongue or a keel hauling. It is often christian people who claim that moral standards are falling and maybe they are but as this example shows everything is relative.
As we get older we notice differences from when we were young and we play on them more, as the behaviour of the young changes so the old critisize, I am sure that was true of my grandparents looking down on what my parents were doing just as my parents did to me and I do to my kids.
At the end of the day the only regeimes that are becoming more strict on their religious principles get bombed by us don't they?
 

mixedmedia

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Tetsuo said:
At the end of the day the only regeimes that are becoming more strict on their religious principles get bombed by us don't they?
Keen observation. We used to attack our cold war "enemies", whether politically or militarily, making distinct note of their areligiosity. Very interesting indeed how the tide has turned.

Moral absolutes? Even the concept of moral absolutes is relative. Certainly many prevailing views on causing death are relative. Against abortion? Support war and the death penalty? That is moral relativism. Everybody makes relative determinations according to the psychological cocktail that shapes our concepts of "what I believe" - genetics and their individual experience.
I have yet to see anything in this world that is absolute...except maybe for the presence of Larry King on my television set every, single night of my life.....is he really that popular? Anyone?
 

WKL815

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This is beautiful. I absolutely adore how liberals' only way to defend their ideals after twirling in the wind doesn't work is to claim religious people are hypocrites. I am not a Christian. I am not religious. Care to debate with me the absolute vs. relative existence of morality? I thought I did a bang up job in the terror posts, and nobody mentioned relativism again. Shall we start anew?
 

WKL815

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Tetsuo said:
but as this example shows everything is relative.
Mixedmedia said:
Everybody makes relative determinations according to the psychological cocktail that shapes our concepts of "what I believe" - genetics and their individual experience.
Everything can be relative to each other, and yet still there can be absolutes. Absolutes and relativism are not mutually exclusive. As often wont with liberals, you choose to ignore meanings of words in favor of the re-constructed idea that makes sense to you. Perhaps there's a whole new market out there Webster is missing - He could be making a liberal dictionary devoid of such words as absolute, altruism, autonomy, ... sacrifice, savage...etc. since you know, everything is relative anyway.

Not that I could explain it, but isn't it provocative that Einstein used the phrase "Theory of Relativity" to begin articulating how the absolutes of our universe work together to create our world. Really it's just about all I need to say to prove my above point. There are absolutes. It's the people's perceptions that are relative.
 

WKL815

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mixedmedia said:
Keen observation. We used to attack our cold war "enemies", whether politically or militarily, making distinct note of their areligiosity. Very interesting indeed how the tide has turned.
Isn't it truly telling that the governments responsible for the greatest abominations to humanity are those without a core religious fundamental?
 

WKL815

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Okay. I am perfectly aware at this time that I am debating myself, but this is such a provocative topic that I can't sleep for thinking so much. So here I am, again.

I was vacuuming my car the other night while listening to Fox News *gasp* (on wireless headphones) as I love to/can't help but think while vacuuming. They had a hippy drug user/pusher turned Evangelical Christian Pastor on the show. He was trying to explain why he thought Christianity was the one true path to God above all others. He said it was just the truth, like 2+2=4, it never equals five or six. He said it was above his paygrade to explain why it was - he just accepted it as so as a believer.

Of course, I am not a believer. My mind needs more proof. So I thought to myself in very simple mathematical theory, why is he assuming the answer is "4". Then I thought, well if the answer is "4", then "4" can be acquired by many different variables. As a matter of fact, by an infinite number of variables factored in an infinite number of ways. But more pointedly, is religion supposed to be the answer (or in this thread morality) or is it supposed to be the means of getting you to the answer? I submit that religion or morality are means to layout your variables to the equation to get humanity to the answer. Why is a plus a plus? Or a negative a negative? I don't know, but it just is and that's the fact.

We could all begin listing what we think constitutes a particular factor in this theoretical equation, and I think this is where people's views of relativism come in - but the factors themselves are absolute and unchangeable by our mere perceptions - we were either right or we were wrong.

As such, we as mere individuals can not know the absolute answer, yet still understand there is one. And we can not be sure of how a factor comes to be derived, but that it is - is still absolute. I think it was Descartes who said "I think therefore I am" which then lead him to believe that there was a God because we as humans could conceive of one. When I studied him, I thought he was mental lightweight. Now I get it.

And as I mentioned in my posts in the terror thread, the best, most direct way to get to the answer is to not allow subtractions (to keep my math theme going.) - to allow opportunities for the greatest opportunity for good by the greatest number of people or something like that is what I said.

But subtractions happen all the time and are a part of life...and math. So I say if we see someone who is always minusing (hmmm...menacing?) then we subtract their ass out of the equation!

Oh yeah, and to reiterate - there are absolutes which do not have to be explained precisely to exist. It is enough to know that they exist. And before you go calculating someone else's equation, you better be sure you understand your own!
 
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Rhadamanthus

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Religion is anything that someone wishes to make it. It fills the space inside of those people who have nead of an answer and do not find the scientific theories of the modern world apealing. I am not a believer myself and I am forced to think that religion is the explanation for life created by people with no better argument or without the time to seek one. But then again I am an unbeliever and I am sure that religion has much more going for it that I give it credit for.

If religion keeps turning drug users/pushers into Christian pastors and makes good citizens out of them in the process than I will hold my peace with religion and give the Evangelicals my best wishes.
 

Schweddy

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WKL815 said:
Oh yeah, and to reiterate - there are absolutes which do not have to be explained precisely to exist. It is enough to know that they exist. And before you go calculating someone else's equation, you better be sure you understand your own!
Absolutely, to me it is the "path" not neccesarily the conclusion that is religion.

Rhadamanthus said:
Religion is anything that someone wishes to make it. It fills the space inside of those people who have nead of an answer and do not find the scientific theories of the modern world apealing. I am not a believer myself and I am forced to think that religion is the explanation for life created by people with no better argument or without the time to seek one. But then again I am an unbeliever and I am sure that religion has much more going for it that I give it credit for.

If religion keeps turning drug users/pushers into Christian pastors and makes good citizens out of them in the process than I will hold my peace with religion and give the Evangelicals my best wishes.
Welcome to Debate Politics!!

:wcm

I am a believer, but if more people felt the way that you do - we wouldn't be in this mess.
 

LiberalFINGER

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Religion is anything that someone wishes to make it. It fills the space inside of those people who have nead of an answer and do not find the scientific theories of the modern world apealing. I am not a believer myself and I am forced to think that religion is the explanation for life created by people with no better argument or without the time to seek one. But then again I am an unbeliever and I am sure that religion has much more going for it that I give it credit for.

If religion keeps turning drug users/pushers into Christian pastors and makes good citizens out of them in the process than I will hold my peace with religion and give the Evangelicals my best wishes.
Outstanding. First beer is on me!

Be careful though. There might be more christ in you than you realize. (j/k)
 

Pacridge

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LiberalFINGER said:
Outstanding. First beer is on me!

Be careful though. There might be more christ in you than you realize. (j/k)
You are correct sir. LF you are a men among god. No wait, reverse that. Now where's my beer. And no holding back on the good stuff.
 

mixedmedia

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WKL815 said:
We could all begin listing what we think constitutes a particular factor in this theoretical equation, and I think this is where people's views of relativism come in - but the factors themselves are absolute and unchangeable by our mere perceptions - we were either right or we were wrong.

As such, we as mere individuals can not know the absolute answer, yet still understand there is one. And we can not be sure of how a factor comes to be derived, but that it is - is still absolute. I think it was Descartes who said "I think therefore I am" which then lead him to believe that there was a God because we as humans could conceive of one. When I studied him, I thought he was mental lightweight. Now I get it.
I enjoyed your post WKL815. I like hearing people think. Even though you believe me to be a silly liberal twisting in the wind.

I think, therefore I am...compelled to be skeptical of the concept of absolutes. Physics has shown that even things we take for granted like shared perception and the nature of matter, time and space are not as absolute as we once believed.
Of course there are an abundance of ideas, concepts, values that I would love to believe into absolution, but skepticism, even my own, won't allow it. There is too much evidence in the world to counteract faith in any concept of "the absolute" and in addition there is still so much that we don't know.
Still there are people who hold onto their faith in absolutes in the face of any challenge, regardless of its compelling or monumental nature.

Did anyone read the article (Time or Newsweek?) about the "spirituality gene," and does anyone have an opinion on that concept?

Do you think that some people are driven to faith (any faith) due to an unconscious compulsion for absolutes? Answers? Meaning?

Could the "spiritually lazy" among us simply be lacking a genetic component that our religious neighbors have?

And if so, the controversial question is, what does it mean in light of the theory of evolution?

Just thinking out loud....of course, there are no answers.
 

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LiberalFINGER said:
Outstanding. First beer is on me!

Be careful though. There might be more christ in you than you realize. (j/k)
sorry, i'm underage
 

Rhadamanthus

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mixedmedia said:
Do you think that some people are driven to faith (any faith) due to an unconscious compulsion for absolutes? Answers? Meaning?

Could the "spiritually lazy" among us simply be lacking a genetic component that our religious neighbors have?


Just thinking out loud....of course, there are no answers.
I do think so. In fact I believe the those people driven to faith (or at least some of the people driven to fait) are driven to faith for the same reason some are drivien to drink. People are driven to drink when they cannot deal with the present reality, thus people are driven to religion when they cannot deal with the scientific reality and wish to find something else that they can stand behind.

We may be spiritualy lazy or maybe we just see no nead to rest our faith in religion.
 

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mixedmedia said:
Did anyone read the article (Time or Newsweek?) about the "spirituality gene," and does anyone have an opinion on that concept?
I pointed something like this out in jest a week ago in jest... would you send more details - date of mag. I would be very interested in reading it.
 

mixedmedia

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vauge said:
I pointed something like this out in jest a week ago in jest... would you send more details - date of mag. I would be very interested in reading it.
http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodGene.htm

The article on the Time site is archived so you would have to pay to read it. I found it here, though.

Don't let the website fool you. The article doesn't purport atheism.

I reread the article this morning and it is very interesting...raises a lot of questions. I'd be interested in hearing what other people have to say about it.
 
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