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About the absolute moral

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  • Аннотация:
    Who is the most famous rule-breaker? - Moses: He broke all the 10 commandments at once!

There is no absolute moral; the moral norms change form generation to generation, from country to country, from one class to another class. Some moral norms are more stable than others. The most stable moral norms are often interpreted as Absolute Moral [1,2], Categorical Imperative [3]. This interpretation is good approximation. Such approximation is effective in practical activity and can be strongly recommended [2,4]. At the same time, each individual should keep the option to revise any "absolute" moral norm; especially in situations when different moral norms conflict. The formal use of Bible [4] as set of ready to use Absolute Moral leads to contradictions [5].

From year to year, the Christian propagandist Cliffe Knechtle visits the University of Arizona with the public shows, defending the Christianity as Absolute Moral guide. According his point of view there exist absolute moral. Christian moral, of course. Cliff suggested an example: "The torture of an innocent child is Absolute Evil".

However, this example is inconsistent. One asked Cliff: "What about bombing of Dresden in 1945? The city was ruined, many innocent children were tortured.." Cliff answered that he is proud of American aviation because the bombing was necessary to stop aggressor. The answer by Cliff is contradictory. As I understand, no one truly Christian can participate in any war - even in a war for liberation of his own country from a foreign occupant - under condition he unconditionally accepts the rule "Love your enemies" ([4], Matthew, 5:43). Actually, Christians never followed this rule very punctual; as inquisitors, as crusaders considered themselves as Christians.
Immanuel Kant (see [3] and references therein) constructed his "Categorical Imperative" on the base of rationality, then moral norms appear as supports for a healthy society. Such rationality appears as moralism [6], as self-sufficient regulator of life.

However, the human-constructed, rationality-based moral led to catastrophes comparable to the Crusade Wars and Holly Inquisition. The idea of human-made moral standards, through Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx led to nihilism and substitution of moral criteria with practical ones [6]; the results were the philosophy of Fascism and Marx-Lenin ideology [7].
Defenders of the Absolute Moral easy confuse the flexibility of principles with immorality. Cliff [1] usually tells about atheist students who lived amoral life and had either to get to a prison, or to die from a drug intoxication, but saved in the last moment by the Christian Community. According to the declaration of the Vine and Fig Tree Association, "Most high-school and college students today cannot say for sure that Hitler was wrong. They believe that 'he may have sincerely believed that he needed to murder millions, and if he sincerely believed this, you and I can't say he was wrong."[2]. The Christian community consider such a student position as obviously wrong.
The position mentioned with respect to the bloody dictator is really doubtful, but it is understandable and self-consistent. For both Christians and Jews, Hitler was absolute Evil, because he did mass murders without God's blessing. At the same time, Joshua who did similar things with the God's blessing ([4], Joshua) was absolute good. Abraham believed that he MUST sacrifice his only son Isaac, and he was about to kill him. Would not God stop Abraham, he would kill Isaac ([4], Genesis, 22:9). Would we have to consider Abraham as murder in such a case? I think so.

The intents to use any fixed system of "Absolute Moral" led to activities I would not like to accept. The 10 Commandments allowed Jews to exterminate Canaan's. The Christian's dogmas of Love led to the Holy Inquisition. The practical and very attractive Categorical Imperative of Kant was developed into Nazi ideology and Communistic philosophy. In spite of such multiple examples, many Christians still consider Bible as source of absolute criteria of good and evil[1,2]. However. The Bible appears full of contradictions, if we treat it as set of ready to use moral norms, as Alan Urdaibay in his course [5]. If we use the Bible as instrument to build our moral norm, the Bible becomes a source of wisdom and humanity. But not the only source. Moral norms help the people to make decisions, but there is no absolute moral norm, and no rule can substitute the Good Will and the Common Sense, as no rule of the road can substitute the kind heart of a driver [8].


1. Cliff Knechtle. Public dispute, U of A campus, February, 2000-2003.
2. Vine and Fig Tree.(12314 Palm Dr.#107,Desert Hot Springs,CA 92240). A Page for People who believe there are NO ABSOLUTE VALUES. -- http://members.aol.com/Arete4VFT/values.htm (2003)
3. Kelley L. Ross. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) http://www.friesian.com/kant.htm (2000)
4. The Holy Bible. New international version.-- International Bible Society, (1984)
5. Alan Urdaibay. 'Atheism Central for Secondary School'. http://www.eclipse.co.uk/thoughts/absolutemorals.htm (1998)
6. Leonard Nelson, System of Ethics, Yale University Press, 1956, p. 89, -- http://www.friesian.com/poly-1b.htm#moralism "I call 'moralism' a system of normative moral principles sufficient for the positive regulation of life. In other words, moralism excludes the possibility of morally indifferent actions. According to it, every action must be [characterized] as either fulfillment or violation of duty."
7. V.I.Lenin. Three sources and three parts of Marxism.
8. Riles of the Road. Arizona Motor Vehicle division, 2003.

Additional links (added later)
http://deepaktripathilibrary.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/the-relevance-of-positivism-in-social-science/ Sussex Paper, Deepak Tripathi. The Relevance of Positivism in Social Science. January 21, 2008 at 12:20 am
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell4.htm Bertrand Russell. On the Value of Scepticism. 1928
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Copyleft 2003-2011 by Dmitrii Kouznetsov. This text may be used for free, attribute http://samlib.ru/k/kuznecow_d_j/absolutemoral.shtml

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