9.06.2004

Morality cont…

The absence of moral absolutism should not be taken to imply that there is no consequence for ones actions. Nor should one assume that although we have no absolute system we are not able to agree on some rules that should apply to universally.

It is vital to understand that, contrary to the fears of religious zealots, the lack of a divine moral code does not trap us in an anything goes world devoid of predictable "good" behavior. Rather it challenges us to really examine the world we live in and the values that we place on things.

This almost certainly takes us back to Nietzsche and his struggle to understand what the world and the value of things in the world. For example what is the value of a human life? Is all life equally valued. Do certain actions lessen or enhance the value of a human life? This has to be one of the key questions that we ask ourselves in re-evaluating our current moral regime.

I cannot offer any easy answers here but consider the following:

Perhaps the really young and really old have less value then the middle aged. Perhaps the value of a criminals life is less than that of an upstanding citizen. Perhaps fetuses have less rights than mothers, perhaps more rights? The key questions of capital punishment, legalized euthanasia of the sick and elderly, abortion, and the use of mass casualty weapons are all areas were the basic current morality systems fail us. They present blurry boundaries that allow people to read as morally acceptable whatever they personally feel they should be.

Lets back up once again and be clear. Moral regimes are relative to the society and species that they govern (and that created them), not the product of a divine being. But I cannot stress enough the fact that this does NOT mean anything goes ethically speaking. We are not free to rape and murder and rob our fellow humans. Moral relativism does not absolve us from consequences to our actions and boundaries to what should be considered acceptable behavior.

What I am arguing for is a re-evaluation of what morals are in our society and what they should be. We cannot continue to pretend that god wants us to hate the gays since they are evil morally. That God wants us to execute the murders because of a vague reference to an eye for an eye somewhere in the bible. That Allah wants us to behead foreigners and stone adulteress women. Simply put we cannot continue to define good and evil simply on the basis of whether or not god said it was okay. Why because none of us can agree on what god wants. Simple enough?

A new morality, a rational morality based on a common and easily understood set of rules. This is what we need now. If we are going to have a set of rules that define the value of human life differently for the actions of that life, than it needs to be clear to all what those rules are and they have to be fairly applied.

Jesus who? Later…