absolutely illogical

absolutism

One of my blogging buddies recently accused me of moral absolutism. According to Wikipedia, if I were a moral absolutist, I would believe “certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other circumstances such as their consequences or the intentions behind them.” Perhaps my blogging buddy hasn’t been tuning in very carefully to my musings. If anyone can think of examples where I have displayed moral absolutism, I would be very interested to hear about them. In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to do some absolutely moral contrasting.

example 1 – remarriage

All Christians are completely opposed to humans partaking in more than one marriage during their lifetime, because the god God and his son god Jesus explicitly state on numerous occasions in the Christian holy book that, unless all previous spouses are dead or aren’t Christians, this is a SIN. Their moral absolutist line is, it’s absolutely wrong, regardless of other circumstances.

I’m not opposed to humans partaking in more than one marriage during their lifetime, because I don’t think a condemnation like that makes sense. I am absolutely not morally bothered about what adults choose to do in their relationships with other consenting adults. Assessing all the potential consequences, it’s illogical to be bothered about remarriage.

example 2 – gay marriage

All Christians are completely opposed to gay marriage because the god God and his son god Jesus explicitly state on numerous occasions in the Christian holy book that two people of the same sex can NEVER get married. Their moral absolutist line is, it’s absolutely wrong, regardless of other circumstances.

I’m not opposed to humans partaking in marriage with someone of the same sex, because I don’t think a condemnation like that makes sense. I am absolutely not morally bothered about what adults choose to do in their relationships with other consenting adults. Assessing all the potential consequences, it’s illogical to be bothered about gay marriage.

example 3 – slavery

All Christians completely support slavery because the god God and his son god Jesus explicitly state on numerous occasions in the Christian holy book that it’s fine to have slaves and it’s just dandy to be well-behaved slave with a nice Christian master. Their moral absolutist line is, it’s absolutely good, regardless of other circumstances.

I am opposed to humans buying and selling other humans because I don’t think the consequences of allowing this (e.g. I or my offspring could become someone else’s slave) make for pleasant societies. I support making society pleasant because I have to live here. Assessing all the potential consequences, it’s illogical to keep slaves.

example 4 – eating pigs

All Christians completely support eating pigs because the god God and his son god Jesus explicitly state on numerous occasions in the Christian holy book that it’s fine to eat pigs. Their moral absolutist line is, it’s absolutely good, regardless of other circumstances.

I am opposed to humans eating pigs because our own eyes have shown us, and indeed science has demonstrated to us, that all animals suffer from pain and stress, like humans. As a human animal, I don’t like pain and stress, so I don’t want to promote pain and stress in the lives of other animals, especially when I can easily live a perfectly healthy life without consuming the flesh of other animals. Assessing all the consequences, it’s illogical to eat pigs.

final assessment

So, what’s the difference between my logic-based beliefs and the moral absolutist beliefs of Christians on these matters?

  • For Christians, someone told them in a book what to do, and they are unaffected by the logical consequences of the issues. They are sure their actions are either RIGHT or WRONG. If someone shows them a new piece of evidence that reveals what their book says is nonsense, their opinion does not change. [This may not be strictly true – apparently some Christians get remarried, some of them support gay marriage, some of them don’t have slaves, and some of them don’t eat pigs!]
  • For me, I think about potential consequences of actions and form my opinion based on evidence. If someone shows me a new piece of evidence that shows that my evaluation of the outcomes was erroneous, my opinion changes.

In summary, I think it’s clear that moral absolutism is a silly label that doesn’t apply to anyone, not even Christians with a divinely inspired moral guidebook.

 

Advertisements