On moral relativism

An overly rational person, such as myself, can spend decades wondering about a basic question, such as:

"What is bad, and what is good? Can we even tell the difference?"

It turns out this is not so hard.

Love is good. That which comes from love is good. Caring is good, so is compassion.

The opposites of love could be considered: hatred; fear; indifference; not caring. Those are bad.

There we go. That wasn't so difficult.

Too bad it took me a few decades.



I posted the above some place on Reddit, and was surprised by the immediate vitriol I received. I can sometimes get deeply upset about people, but in this particular case, it was so mind-boggling I couldn't even stay angry. People were literally upset with me because I said "love is good". Of all the things that I could say - that's what they were upset about. :)

Another person observed this:

"A lot of people here are stuck in a backlash from the moral absolutism of church, etc... In that frame of mind, I'd imagine a statement like 'love is good' sounds more disingenuous than profound."

That was certainly the case for me.

I've seen Arthur C. Clarke quoted as saying: "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion."

I rejected Catholicism and Christianity that I was raised in; and with it, anything that reminded me of it. I didn't reject it because of its love teachings. I rejected it because it's used as a vessel for guilt and hate and sexual repression. However, all that guilt and hate and repression comes bundled with the love teachings; so I associated those with the hypocrisy of religion and discounted them, as well.

It's weird how we can go through life claiming something as obviously stupid as "there's no objective good or bad", while at the same time passing all sorts of judgments that require us to tell the difference.

We have virtually all people coming together and agreeing that e.g. overt racism is bad, genocide is bad, rape is bad, corporate greed is bad, no police accountability is bad, political corruption is bad. Yet, for those of us inoculated from religion, it's hard to see the common thread that connects the bad things: they're mostly lack of love.

And even though our lives are made worthwhile by the passions and relationships we love, we stop short of saying love is good, because who says that kind of thing? Sappy religious types say that. And fuck them, right? :)

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