Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I’m no longer a Christian. I now worship Bubu, the divine grasshopper God. Bubu teaches that it is our right as divinely created creatures to feast on the harvests of others. If we follow the teaching of Bubu faithfully, we can be reincarnated as a grasshopper. If we fall from the teachings, when we die our appendages are slowly plucked off by sadistic human child-like figures. There is no love your neighbor in Bubism. The prime directive is to feast! Fill your needs first. If you help others, you are not a true Bubist.

Just kidding. You see what I did there? I constructed a basic moral/ethical system based on absolutist values. I read some comments in a blog today (I won’t bother to link to it) where some idiot was arguing that Republicans are the party of God because they are moral absolutists and Democrats are all moral relativists. I’m tempted to swear here, but I won’t. What total nonsense.

There are several assumptions that underlie that belief system. First, a belief in God is necessary to avoid total moral relativism. Second, Democrats (and liberals generally) don’t believe in God and must therefore all be moral relativists. I started addressing the first argument above. You can construct any number of moral systems based on absolutist beliefs. Some systems are based on the Bible and Christian beliefs. Others might as well be based on grasshopper worship.

You can construct secular moral systems based on principles such as valuing human life, or protecting the environment. What characterizes absolutist moral systems is the idea that there are basic, first principles which are essentially unchallengeable. Well, our acceptance of those first principles are based on our accepting certain assumptions – like whether or not God exists. It is perfectly reasonable that people’s belief systems start from different assumptions that are characterized by different first principles. To argue that monotheistic religion is sole source of absolutism is ridiculous.

Radical environmentalists (like Earth First!, or the Earth Liberation Front) are very absolutist and they are not monotheists. See the postmodernism discussion in my earlier blog posts for a longer discussion on the dangers of absolutism. My point here is that lots of people are absolutists (like the Nazis) that most Christians (who feel very strongly about being absolutist) would not want to be associated with.

The second argument that all Democrats must be moral relativists because they are not Christian ignores the fact that many progressive Christians are Democrats. The reality in America is that religious belief crosses party lines. To make a blanket argument like that shows the ignorance of the author.

I’ll finish this argument later. The thought for later is that a lot of the people who claim to be moral absolutists really aren’t that good at being absolutist.



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