Question 3: Moral Absolutes

Hey Guys,

Here’s question 3. Are there moral absolutes? If so, where do these absolutes come from? Where do we get the right to judge another or even go to war against an “evil” nation (for example something like nazi Germany during ww2)

Interested in your thoughts!

I doubt it. If someone wants to argue that there are moral absolutes; perhaps they could start by posting a list of them?


No. Morals are evolutionary.

See above, when the larger society considers the behaviour of another group reprehensible or detrimental to its own survival it leads to conflict. Study some anthropology and some social sciences. Theology, in particular apologetics just fucks your brain.


It seems you are assuming the existence of this right. I’m skeptical of that.

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Deuteronomy 21:18-21

“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

That is a moral absolute from the bible. @studentfinalpaper do you agree or disagree with this passage from the book that directs your faith.

Beware, this is a trap. If you agree, you are an immoral monster by our modern standards. If you disagree, then you are one who picks and chooses passages from the bible, (AKA the great multiple choice book).

Morality has evolved and changes with the human species. Humans are social animals. It is our ability to bond that has kept us alive. We do not have the speed of a cheetah, the armor of a rhino, the size of strength of an elephant, the flight of a bird, the climbing ability of a monkey, the teeth of a crocodile, the fangs of a snake, the camoflauge capability of a lizzard, or the ability to swim like a fish. What we have are brains, and an ability to bond. We have an amazing ability to work in unison with one another for the betterment of all. A human, alone in the wild, is little more than a walking hamburger.

It is our ability to bond that is at the root of morality. From small clans, to tribes, to cities, towns and countries, human beings make rules so that we can get along with one another. People who follow the rules succeed in passing on their genes. People who can not follow the rules are banished from the clan, tribe, city, or nation. This is still the worst punishment we can inflict on another human being. “Life in prison.” Separation from the tribe.

People that are unable to follow the moral guidelines of the tribe are banished. Our morality evolves with our intelligence. I would bet that in 50 years, there will be meat substitutes and the raising and slaughter of beef, chickens and other animals will be a thing of humanity’s past.

EVIL DOES NOT EXIST: This is a religious delusion. The word “evil” is merely applied to actions or events that I do not like. If the act appears particularly heinous, it is referred to as evil. God ordering soldiers to rip open the stomachs of pregnant women and dash their unborn babies onto rocks, seems particularly evil to me, but Christians manage to justify the act. Owning slaves seems evil to me, but again, Christians make all sorts of excuses to justify slave ownership in their bible. Absolute morality does not exist. What Christianity offers is MORAL DICTATES from a God that says, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

We all have the right to judge others. That appears to be human nature. When I don’t want a person to steal things from me, rape my wife or kill my family members, I find other people that feel the same way. Together we form a small tribe and we make these our rules. People willing to follow the rules can join the tribe. Those unwilling will be put to death or banished. Together we all work to preserve each other’s happiness and in doing so, our own happiness. This is the essence of morality.

The fact that any Government calls another Government “EVIL” is pure propaganda. It is propaganda used to motivate the ignorant among us. The word “evil” needs to be justified with facts and evidence. Anyone blindly responding to such rhetoric is an idiot.

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We can start with the 10 commandments just as a launch point and work with the consequential issues stemming from that!


Thanks for your post!

I think there’s a difference between a “right” and a “decision”. If there are no moral absolutes then using language like “I have a right to ‘x’’” has no logical basis; rather we should say we decide to do “x” because we want to. So we decided to fight Nazism in WWII not because it’s morally right/wrong (if they don’t exist then there’s no conversation there). Rather, we just wanted to stop them from killing others because we think it’s wrong. But it’s not wrong or right because it does not exist. And if they won the war there would be no significant moral difference because morals do not exist.

There is no way the 10 commandments are absolutes. Just the commandment to not kill makes that clear. Like I suggested earlier; if people think there are moral absolutes, it would be nice if they could list them.

Would you say that a young man in his 20’s laying down his life to protect his Mother, an old woman in her 70’s, is virtuous? if so how if morals are evolutionary? That is, there is no evolutionary advantage of a young person dying for an old person that cannot produce.

Just about the only one I’ve been able to come up with is the raping of a young child. For behaviour usually considered heinous, can often think of an exception, within the context of a different culture. Generally though, I consider myself a moral relativist.

We can always construct a (typically ludicrous) scenario where these moral “absolutes” are not obviously true; which means they are not absolutes.

What scenario would allow for the raping of a 4 year old girl? I’m not sure that one exists but please enlighten me if I’m wrong (of course I know you don’t support raping anyone. I’m just asking because of your statement)

Simple: if something seemingly considerably worse will happen if you don’t.

Do you know what a strawman is? You have just made a great example.

I would counsel you NOT to use that or any other fallacy to make a point you (*and only you) think is valid on these forums.

Another strawman. Read some other books. Nobody said “virtuous”.

Plus you need a refresher in human biology. It is VERY unlikely even to day with in vitro, that a a 20 something would have a 70 something mother ( who does not need to be capitalised btw)

That the preservation of one’s immediate nurturing family is a survival asset to any hominid is self evident. No “morals” necessary.

I’ve seen no evidence to support this, so I don’t believe there are.

There is no such right, it is simply a necessary evolved trait of animals that have evolved to live in societal groups. Though it can of course be pernicious.

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The idea the ten commandments are moral absolutes is a claim you’d need to demonstrate sufficient objective evidence for.

Who said it did? Rights are usually underpinned by laws, not logic or the unevidenced belief they are inalienable.

You don’t think Nazi ideology was immoral? Wow. I don’t need the existence of moral absolutes for my moral worldview to find Nazi ideology immoral. Incidentally Nazi Germany was a totalitarian state, just as you are trying to do here, their morals were presented as absolutes.

A demonstrably false assertion, as the opposite is true. Since conversation would be an obvious requirement of moral relativism, but of course conversation would be rendered entirely moot if moral absolutes existed. Are you even thinking about what you’re posting, or are you just regurgitating plagiarised apologetics from someone else, that you don’t understand because you’ve failed to give them any critical examination?

You do not think that rationale requires justifying? Would you be ok with someone murdering you because they claimed it was a moral absolute given them by their deity?

If not, then try to reason why not?

We determine if its wrong or right, using our reason. It’s a subjective process, but balanced against the opinions of others, and those influences are vast and varied.

There would to those who found nazi ideology deeply pernicious.

As is always the case with theist who want to make the unevidenced claim that their religious beliefs grant them access to moral absolutes, you seem to think your dislike of the fact our morals are subjective lends credence to your beliefs, it doesn’t. Preferring everyone adhered to the morals you have selected doesn’t make those morals absolutes. Nazis Germany by the way is one of the worst examples you could have chosen, as the country was overwhelmingly Christian, and the SS who ran the death camps had to be christian in order to join, it was a requirement, and on joining they gave their oath to Hitler “before god”.

I look forward to you compounding your facile views with a no true Scotsman fallacy.

OK, let us dig deep.

  1. Thou shall have no other gods before me. That is not a moral absolute, that is an order, a command.

  2. Thou shall not make idols Once again, just a command, it has nothing to do with morality.

  3. You shall not take the name of the lord your god in vain. How does that have anything to do with morality? Another command.

  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. What if I was forced to work on the sabbath? If not, I could get fired and my family thrown out on the street and starve. How is that moral?

  5. Honor your father and mother. What if my father was a brutush alcoholic who beat me every night, and my mother a crack whore who abandoned me at birth? And how is it moral to honor them?

Remember, we are discussing moral ABSOLUTES you either do or do not.

  1. You shall not murder. I will agree this is a moral absolute.

So far, one out of six can be identified as moral absolutes.

  1. You shall not commit adultery. That is a close call, but I will concede this point. I could debate in opposition, but you need more than one out of six.

  2. You shall not steal. What if your family and children are starving? If you steal, they live, if not, they die? Is it moral to give in and allow your children to die?

  3. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. I will concede that point in your favor.

  4. You shall not covet. That one is a full load of BS. That is mind control, attempting to force a person’s thinking. That is not practiced in a free nation. Maybe North Korea. And what is one man’s covet is another’s inspiration. Who doesn’t want to live in a nice mansion and drive a Ferrari? Is that coveting a moral absolute, or the American way, to look and and strive to improve one’s position in life.

So, in conclusion, the ten commandments deal with moral absolutes in 3 out of 10. And I was willing to concede anything close.