About the Absolute moral (Plan A)

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About the Absolute moral (Plan A)
by Dmitrii Kouznetsov

- Who is the most famous rule-breaker?

                            - Moses: he broke all the 10 commandments a once!
                            There are rules to make choses,
                            but there is no rule to chose among these rules.

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

The rejection to accept Absolute Moral norm implies either moral-less behavior or pluralism of systems of moral norms. I would not like to discuss the first (moral-less) case, as it does not correspond to the human behavior. As for pluralism, there is deep analogy with natural sciences. Few centuries ago, there was public opinion that the only one quantity characterizes the strength of the motion; and two characteristics were proposed: the product of mass and square of velocity and the product of mass and velocity. Then it happened that the first one is doubled kinetic energy, and the second one is momentum, and both are "true" characteristics. Now it is time to understand, that in some sense, all religions (including atheism) are true, and abandon intents to find one "True" religion and reject all other religions.

There is no moral norms in choice of religion. It is matter of preference of an individual. However, in one situation some rules may look good; in other situations they may be non-acceptable. For example, at hot climate, before refrigerators, the rule "do not eat pork" looked reasonable as the pork meat easy becomes non-consumable. At the North countries, contrary, the grassy meat is good protectors against cold.

The pluralism of moral norms does not mean immorality, contrary, the individual usually has no need to break the rules as he/she choses them by himself/herself. Immanuel Kant [3] suggested the criterion of rationality in choice of moral norms. However, one should we extremely careful applying this criterion. For example, in 1930-1945, in Germany, many people believed that extermination of Jews is rational and therefore moral. There is no way to stop a moral-less bandit with moral norms. But one may try to suggest moral norms as a guide to a person who has moral problems. These moral norms should correspond to the individual, as shape of boots should correspond to the shape of feet. Unless one better walks barefoot! From the Christian point of view, good is that God likes. God gives commandments to humans. God himself appears to be free form any moral limits. He is free to test anybody any moment he likes ([4], Job). If God does not like the Fig Tree just for the case that it is not time for the fruits, then let this tree dye! ([4], Mathew 12:19). If God needs a donkey, apostles should robe it for God! ([4], Luke, 19:32) If God blesses Joshua to exterminate Canaan's ([4], Joshua) then it is moral and good.

Sorry, I cannot accept this moral. I see no need to do things I dislike so much. Perhaps, if God would come to me and say "I am God Almighty. You should kill your son", I would answer: I do not like this idea. If you are so powerful, do it by yourself, but not with my hands. Moral norms are the intent to systematize the human "like" and "dislike". If God gives us some moral norm, thanks him! We'll consider such norms.

The point of view formulated above is far from to be widely accepted. Many people believe that there exist some absolute moral. From year to year, the Christian propagandist Cliff Knechtle visits the University of Arizona. He gives the public shows, defending the Christianity as absolute moral guide. According this 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 whole city was ruined, many innocent children were tortured and killed there.." Cliff answered that he is proud of American aviation because the bombing was only way to stop the agressor. The answer by Cliff looks 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).

Defenders of the Absolute Moral usually substitute the flexibility of principles with amorality. Talking about Absolute Moral norms, 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 had been saved in the last moment by the Christian Community. According to the declaration of the Vine and Fig Tree Association [2], "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." The christian community consider such students as amoral. However, the "indefinite" point of view on the bloody dictator is doubtful, but it is understandable and self-consistent. Undortunately, it does not help us to formulate humanistic criteria of Good and Evil. 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.

Some chiristians consider Bible as source of knowledhe and absolute criteria of good and evil[1,2]. However. The Bible appears full of contradictions, if we treate 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. However, no rule can substitute the common sense and kindly heart in choices of moral norms, and there is no absolute moral norm.


1. Cliffe Knechtle. Public dispute, U of A campus, Feb, 2000-2003.

2. Vine and Fig Tree (12314 Palm Dr. #107, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, VFTinc@aol.com). A Page for People who believe there are NO ABSOLUTE VALUES. --http://members.aol.com/Arete4VFT/values.htm (2003) ("Most high-school and college students today cannot say for sure that Hitler was wrong")

3. Kelley L. Ross. Emmanuel 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 Schoolsl'. http://www.eclipse.co.uk/thoughts/absolutemorals.htm (1998)

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