HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Self-Centred Absolutism
 
Absolutism is the doctrine that no matter how great the need or benefit is, certain actions should not be done.


Absolutism implies you know fully that these deeds are wrong so you can impose your morality on other people for if you don't they will have error imposed on them and that would be worse.


Absolutism is based on the belief that objective moral values are discovered by us and are not mere opinions or invented.

 

Absolutism should be based not on the belief but the KNOWLEDGE that morally good principles are factually correct.  Believing facts is weaker than knowing them.  That is because belief can be wrong but knowledge cannot be wrong.  Believing in moral principles as objectively correct even if they really are means you are making yourself authority and arbiter of objective morality.  That is against objective morality and makes you fundamentally arrogant.  And arrogance offends the moral principle of humility and honesty.  Belief makes it all too much about you and what you think.  Objective morality is of no practical use unless you KNOW.  Asserting that is objectively moral!

 

Religion has no business in trying to defend objective morality for it is not its call.  It is up to philosophy to do that.  Religion then is inherently objectively immoral.

 

THE MEANING OF ABSOLUTE MORALITY EXPLORED

 

Absolute means complete so to say something is absolutely wrong means no circumstances make it right or even a bit okay.   It is always wrong and completely wrong.  An example is how you are banned from killing a man even if you 100% know that doing it will save a city and thus countless lives. Some say an innocent man. But absolute morality says what matters is that he is a man and not if he is guilty or innocent. Deep down we do not really love this morality. We may love it but somewhere in there we hate it. Part of us wants to kill the man to spare the other lives. As people prefer to leave the dirty work to others they are probably very happy but secretly happy if you kill him as long as it is not them doing it. But that will not stop them from hurting you and they will demonise you to make themselves feel and look morally good and even morally superior.

 

Absolutism rejects the notion that the action does not matter if it leads to good consequences.  It says that it is intrinsically wrong to have an abortion if your mad husband is ready to nuke the world even if you don't.  They say the nuking is not your choice but his so you are good if you keep the baby even if he blows the world to smithereens.

 

Absolutism boasts that it makes all people equal for the abortion is wrong regardless of what religion you are or your social class.  All have to face the same moral demands.

 

VIRTUE AND ABSOLUTISM

 

Absolutists tend to believe you should be virtuous at any price.  You never for example become unchaste even if you are told you will be shot unless you say masturbate in front of an audience.  The argument is that it is not  you decreeing you will be shot so it is the other's problem.  Your job is to stay chaste and pure.  But you are as good as getting them to shoot you.  What about that?

 

If virtue is somewhere between a vice and a vice then what?  What if there is the vice of wilfully spending no money and the vice of wasting it all the time?  The middle between miserliness and the other extreme means you cannot really expect to be in the middle much if ever.  You won't exactly ever be at the exact middle.  You can expect to look as if you are.

 

Absolutists cannot expect us to be impressed by their lives.

 

SHOULD WE FORGET ABOUT OTHERS?
 
One form of absolutism says you must or may forget about the welfare of others when you don’t owe them anything. Today, we are often instructed to let others do all the evil they want and to step over dying strangers instead of getting some help if we wish. We are told that they have no right to our help for they have never done anything for us. “Don’t get involved”, is almost a modern proverb. The theory applies also to those who have helped you and if you have repaid them so you can leave them bleeding to death if you find them stabbed by the roadside. This absolutism is based on the doctrine that an omission is not a harmful act even when it kills. It claims to be based on justice. But it is actually based on the fallacy of supererogation which is unjust. It says that it is generous to help them but not obligatory which is ridiculous for morality that is not for the best is unintelligible.

It is our duty to dissuade people from seriously harming others if we think our efforts can’t work for we would want others to do that for us.

It is our business to get involved for the victims would want us to do it so it is just as if they asked us to influence their enemies away from forbidden ways. Even if they castigate us for acting and accuse us of interfering later on it does not matter for we can be sure they would have telepathically asked us to help them during the attack if they could have.

Everybody interferes when they do wrong. Therefore, when you intervene to help an ingrate who is in serious need that person has asked for it. What a kindly punishment! They have no right to complain unless you are not helping.

We will only good so strangers are entitled to our help for they would have been nice to us given the chance. If I were the child of an enemy who is a good parent that person would have been most kind to me. Every enemy has times in which they would have done good for us. Whatever else she or he has done to me I must remember this and it supersedes any wrongs done. This proves we should help and be helped by strangers. We do owe them our saving assistance. Persons are valuable and when we should make haste in saving a precious emerald from destruction we should save persons who are infinitely more precious.

We would owe nobody any charity if nobody did favours for us though we never did anything for them.

Religion has done a great deal to promote the, “Don’t get involved”, philosophy. It prefers building churches to the greater good of saving lives in the Third World with the money. One would never stop counting if one was to number the good deeds religionists could have done but did not bother. Its bad example is to blame. In fairness, the government is not much better and often worse. Too often, their dosh goes into their pockets instead of helping people.

If you say that you must never do anything for a person who has never helped you or that you don’t have to, then babies should be or maybe allowed to starve to death and there would be no human race.

 
 
THREE TIER ABSOLUTISM

 
Some absolutists say that there are three things that have to be taken into consideration for determining what is absolutely wrong or wrong under all circumstances.

One is our personal rights. This is concerned with the present or what you deserve now.

Two is utility or the increasing of good and happiness. This is concerned with our future.

Three is justice, respecting the rights of other people. This is concerned with the present.

These things fall into different orders of importance depending on the situation. The theory says that if one or two or three come first sometimes that does not mean that that one has to come first all the time.

The rule that results in the least evil has to be the one followed.

Examples will help.

I am going to a dance but my sister gets sick and needs me to stay in with her. The ethical theory says that I should stay at home for my right to go to the dance is not as important as her right to be cared for.

If I am in fear of my safety but not my life because of a stalker who hates me should I have him jailed even though it will break his depressed mother’s heart and make her more ill though it is the only way I will shake him off? The ethic says I should for my right not to be unjustly attacked comes before his mother’s right.

Should I give a Grade C student an A for he will sink into a life-long depression if I do not? The theory claims that that would be unfair and wrong so I should give him what he deserves no matter what. Justice overrides the increasing of happiness.

If your father is burning to death in a house and a doctor who will save the world from every disease is also trapped inside and I can only save one the ethic tells me to save my father. Again justice overrides utility.

No real or consistent reason is given or can be given for why one of the three points should override the other. It is all sheer guesswork and lies and it will be accepted for it fits most people’s feelings about morality but feelings have no business determining what is right or wrong. If it is okay to give the grade and cause an illness then it is okay to leave my sister and go to the dance. If consequences come first at times then why don’t they come first in the case with the doctor? Only justice or love or both can be the products of a moral theory. The theory sometimes commands that the worst be done so it is not a moral theory – or always just or loving - but an emperor with no clothes on. We cannot think of any convincing reason why the reason given for the decision should override the other two.

The absurdity of the theory is shown by the fact that it cannot tell you if you should or shouldn’t torture a madman to make him tell which town he poisoned the water in to kill lots of people. We are assuming there that torture would make him tell the truth here for the purpose of argument.

The ethic is contrary to belief in God because “justice” is an integral part of it and if God exists we are free agents who deserve only suffering. Free will alone is enough to wreck it.

 

ANTI-JUDGMENT MORALITY

 
The anti-judgement theory of morality says that we must let others do what they like to us if we cannot avoid protecting ourselves without hurting them for we must judge nobody except ourselves. It is absolutist on not hurting anybody.

Some people say that we never know what other people are like. No matter how evil a person seems to be they really might be good inside. Lots of people like to pretend to be evil because their friends are bad and they want to fit in. Some simply like to shock people. Because of that, people tell us that we cannot judge. This means that we have to treat others as if they never did wrong and reward them accordingly. This is to be on the safe side. What if the person does not care who he murders? Should we jail him to be on the safe side for it is safer to jail one person than to put others at risk? It would be safest to send him to a nice place out of the way. That way you keep both safe sides: you don’t hurt him and you don’t leave him free to hurt others. You cannot hurt a person to prevent something that you have no evidence to suggest will happen. You don’t know what is going to happen in five minutes time. You say you do but you do not. Try predicting to see what happens. The criminal could get sick or give up crime.

If you really cannot judge you have to believe that the murderer should be free no matter how many murders he has committed in the past for to say he might kill again smacks of judging him or of being cynical.

When you are slandered the theory tells you to have a quiet word with the slanderer if it will not upset him but not to hurt him by exposing him against his will. You cannot even say he is a slanderer for you have to see him as one who made a mistake and a person who accuses because of a mistake is not a slanderer.

When a person steals from you if you do not judge you will have to let him go Scot- free. You have to believe that he needs what he took more than you. If he does not need it financially he needs it emotionally. Jesus knew of this moral doctrine when he said that we must let thieves take what we have (Matthew 5:40).

What if you are encouraging people to steal from you by doing this? Though you cannot judge, you know that some people will take advantage of you when they hear what you are like. This can be avoided by not telling anyone that it happened or that you let thieves go. If people find out you would have to say that you will be more careful from now on.

You cannot talk of forgiving your monstrous enemy for you have to believe that it was a natural evil and perhaps down to the evil of them not understanding what true morality was or madness so that it was not their fault.

At least, the victim of the rapist or mugger will pick up the pieces easier if the ethic has really sunk into their hearts. Feeling that you have been wilfully hurt proves hatred and anger and hurt more than inadvertent harm.

This ethic will be despised by society and religion for both are incapable of any real goodness or concern for others.

It is incompatible with religion which advocates war, telling people to make slanderers eat their words and forgiveness. You cannot forgive until you have finished judging.

Jesus was certainly a fraud when he did not preach this ethic for it is an improvement on his own evil ethic and we have seen that he did believe in it when it suited him. And he did not practice it either. For example, he encouraged what he called righteous and fair judgement while he followed the ridiculous morality of the Bible. For example, women were regarded as having a duty to be subservient to their husbands and paedophilic marriage was encouraged by the Bible.

The error in the theory is that it is too sceptical about knowing other people. When a person says they are of this kind or that kind that counts as evidence that they are telling the truth. Perhaps they are lying but we cannot see if they are so we have to depend on the evidence of what they say or do. We can never fully know another person but we can reasonably say what they probably are or will be. We can know when they have done something deliberately wrong but we do not know the degree to which it was malicious.
 
 
CONCLUSION
 
Absolutism, the doctrine that some acts are wrong no matter how much evil avoiding them does, is nonsense and is arbitrary. It is religious bigotry and superstition. It belongs with religion because religion likes to enforce rules that make no sense and it refuses to change them. For example, the Church says that the rule to love God above all things and to do all things solely for the love of him comes first and must not be changed. So even if terrorists and the state and psychologists are against it, it must stay the same. The appeal of absolutism is in the power it gives men and religion.
 
 
  
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, VOL 6, PART II, KANT, Frederick Copleston SJ, Doubleday/Image, New York, 1964
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
ETHICS, A C Ewing, Teach Yourself Books, English Universities Press Ltd, London, 1964
ETHICS IN A PERMISSIVE SOCIETY, William Barclay, Collins and Fontana, Glasgow, 1971
FREE TO DO RIGHT, David Field, IVP, London, 1973
MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
MORALITY, Bernard Williams, Pelican/Penguin, Middlesex, 1972
MORTAL QUESTIONS Thomas Nagel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, 1979
NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
PRACTICAL ETHICS, Peter Singer, Cambridge University Press, England, 1994
RUNAWAY WORLD, Michael Green, IVP, London, 1974
SITUATION ETHICS, Joseph Fletcher, SCM Press, London, 1966
SUMMA THEOLOGICA OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS, Part II, Second Number, Thomas Baker, London, 1918
THE PROBLEM OF RIGHT CONDUCT, Peter Green MA, Longmans Green and Co, London, 1957

The WEB

Roman Catholic Ethics: Three Approaches by Brian Berry
www.mcgill.pvt.k12.al.us/jerryd/ligouri/berry.htm