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How do we know what's right and what's wrong? how do we decide? What IS right and wrong?

What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Awesome Killer » Wed May 16, 2018 4:55 pm

I'm curious as to the position of some theists claiming moral absolutism in their religions and holy texts.

As someone who is big into situational ethics and does not believe there is any external source for morality, I'm curious for some examples.

I've seen some christians claim about "moral absolutes" in the bible so I'm curious to whether some could respond or defend.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Wed May 16, 2018 4:56 pm

Killing children for the fun of it is universally wrong. There is no society anywhere, no sane individual, no government in all of history that claims killing children for the fun of it is right. Some kill children as religious cultic sacrifices, some in genocide, some in warfare, some for convenience (abortion), and who knows what all else. Sometimes killing is justified and justifiable. But no one thinks that killing children for fun is right. Another one: no one thinks that torturing babies for the fun of it is right. No person, no society in history, no culture on the globe.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Vermont Choir » Thu May 17, 2018 3:07 pm

> Another one: no one thinks that torturing babies for the fun of it is right. No person, no society in history, no culture on the globe.

Au contrere'. It's considered perfectly acceptable by many people in this day and age to cut off bits of the genitals of unconsenting infants without any sort of working anesthesia. What's more is that such an act is considered more than just okay. It's a downright cause for celebration. You know, smiles, parties, music, dancing and that whole deal. This is considered a good occassion from which people have happy memories. This is something that is actively ENJOYED. By and large, the cultures which perpetuate this sort of stone-aged stupidity tend to have a very specific thing in common. You may wish to rethink your position for a minute or two.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 3:11 pm

I resounded disagree. Genital mutilation is not for sport or for fun, even if celebration accompanies it. It is sometimes a religious practice and sometimes a cultural more (traditional, rite of passage, etc.), but it's most assuredly not for sport or entertainment.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Gullet » Thu May 17, 2018 3:16 pm

That just isn't true (that no one kills or tortures babies for the fun of it). Look at the Rape of Nanking.

And I'd bet a dollar that kind of thing has happened multiple times through history. Animals do it too.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 3:16 pm

The Rape of Nanking was warfare and genocide, not sport and entertainment. I specifically said, "...for the fun of it." It was a massacre, horrifically pure and simple. The Nanking Massacre is not in the category of what I'm talking about. And of course it has happened multiple times through history, but I'm talking about killing and torturing children and babies for the sheer fun of it. No one recognizes this as moral, right, or good. No one.

> Animals do it too.

Kill and torture babies for the fun of it? Obviously not.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Eye opener » Thu May 17, 2018 3:22 pm

What about the killing of the firstborn of Egypt under Pharaoh's reign? Didn't some guy in the bible do that? Those kids probably deserved it though, eh?
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 3:22 pm

Either you didn't read carefully or you misunderstood what I said. I said that no sane person, culture, or government regards killing or torturing babies for the fun of it as right. The killing of the firstborn in Egypt was an act of judgment on a murderous (they had killed the children of the Israelites), idolatrous (and actively rebellious against God), and disobedient people. God had acted time and again to let His people go, and yet there was open defiance against God. Pharaoh was recognized as divine, as the giver and preserver of life. God's action against the firstborn of Egypt wasn't a pleasure cruise, an act of sport, or a form of entertainment. It was an act of religious balancing of the scales and of judgment on a wicked culture. It doesn't qualify at all for what I was saying. Come on. Your response is unwarranted.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Awesome Killer » Thu May 17, 2018 3:41 pm

You are not describing moral absolutes, you are attaching a situation which by very definition is ethics, not morality. Morality is "Killing Children is Wrong", ethics is attaching an activity/situation to moral position, "Killing Children for fun is wrong", for fun is the situation/activity you adding an caveat.

There's something called Surplus Killing which takes place in animal behavior as well as human examples. Interestingly its more intelligent animals, such as primates, orcas, dolphins, that do this with prey, often times younglings.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 3:46 pm

Surplus killing is instinctual for animals corresponding to survival. There's no "fun" attached to it. By "fun" I don't mean casually, but for sport, pleasure, and entertainment. No culture deems this activity (torturing babies for the sheer fun of it) as right or good.

While morality may say that "killing children is wrong," there are obviously shades and nuances that must be consdiered to analyze the situation effectively, since there are many reasons or circumstances that can bring about or result in killing. Morality does not deal in simple black-and-whites. Kohlberg's moral dilemmas bring all sorts of caveats into the picture for consideration.
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