Moral relativism and religion.

I think it would be fair to say that many or most religious people have a strong disbelieve in moral relativism. They believe moral laws defined by God and are absolute. (or are absolute, exist eternally and God is God by knowing and following all those laws). I think many religious people would even go so far as to agree with the statement 'right is right and wrong is wrong and there are no two ways about it.'

I wanted to find a quote decrying Moral relativism so I did a Google for "moral relativism Falwell" and found this interesting bit of data:
Abortion, moral relativism and mistreatment of others almost came in a three-way tie as the top concerns among America's evangelical leaders, according to the survey released Monday by the National Association of Evangelicals.

What I find interesting and ironic about this is that in practice religious people tend towards a far more relativistic view of morality than the non-religious.

Most non-religious people would agree that the death, torture, destruction of property of millions even billions of people is a bad thing no matter who is doing it.

If you are religious, (particularly Christian, but several other faiths as well), you probably believe it is bad thing most of the time, but sometimes is a very very good thing. Even something to look forward to and pray for. It is called the apocalypse, Second Coming etc. (God's holocaust).

Most non-believers people would feel that a person who deliberately causes another immense suffering over a minor grievance like using their name in a disrespectful way without apologizing or even just not believing certain things, would be doing a very bad thing. Even if this torture they caused was only for one year. Or even one day or one hour.

If you are a Christian you likely feel this is usually a bad thing thing, but if God does it is good, even if that suffering lasts forever.

If you are a Mormon there is a decent chance you see Socialism as an evil.

Unless it is has been instituted and directed by a prophet, then it is a very good thing.

This approach to morality is far more relativistic than any non-believer I know and I think it is unfair.

I do believe that morality is relative. (how could it be otherwise? How could morality even exist without context? What would that even mean?)

That being said, when your moral relativism takes the form of: 'Abc is bad when everyone else does it, except it is good when I do it.'
It is unfair to make rules and judgments that apply to everyone but yourself.

I know this approach is rife within Mormonism. There are many examples similar to the one about socialism where it is taught that a principal is very bad, except when done within the context of Mormonism. (one more example: The Church often praises those who question and doubt their religious leaders or traditions. Martin Luther is portrayed as a hero for his railing against Catholicism. Joseph Smith is admired for his questioning doubting approach to his religious upbringing. Yet the Church strongly frowns upon and sometimes excommunicates those who do this same towards them.)

It is weird to me how it is often taught in Mormonism that something which might be seen as good, like Socialism, if done in a slightly different way, is seen as totally evil rather than just somewhat less good. What if they took that stance about other issues as well? Since 'loving your parents' is seen as a commandment by God, if it is done by a non-believer it becomes evil, so they should actively try and hurt their parents.

I acknowledge that the goodness or badness of a principal is based on context but if you claim otherwise then go on to teach that something otherwise bad is good only when your team does it, there is a problem.(not to mention it being really unfair/unjust)


Dr. Cyclops said...

Great rant. You should write a book.

Chris Almond said...

People often use the term 'rant' negatively, which makes wonder if you are being sarcastic in your compliment? Is this the case?
I am writing a book.

Chris Almond said...

If you weren't being sarcastic, then thank you very much.

Chris Almond said...

If you were being sarcastic,
what gives man?