Moral Absolutism

A recent Facebook post by a relative about the AMA’s reads: “Wait, so V.I.C. tells us to wobble and Miley twerks on stage and that’s trashy, but Luke Bryan can tell you to shake it for him and twerk on stage and it’s okay? Gotcha.”.The aforementioned post caused  quite an uproar on my news feed, drawing people from all corners of the internet (at least from within the poster’s friend list) to argue about Miley, and her most recent shenanigans. Opinions ranged from disgust and hate “She’s a [trashy] stupid whore. End of discussion. I hate her.”, to undying love and support for both Miley  and Mr. Bryan “Miley is amazing and I love her and I love Luke Bryan but he needs to never do those moves again, kthnx.”. The first comment about Miley being a “trashy stupid whore” was followed by a barrage of equally narrow minded comments by the same girl, claiming that Miley had no morals because of the way she has been behaving lately, going on to suggest that “Morals are morals. It’s not opinions. You either have them or you don’t.”, which, finally,  brings us to the topic of this post: moral absolutism.

The girl’s comment about morals being a fixed set of values that everyone must abide by intrigued me. Another relative summed up my opinion on the subject before I had the chance to comment on the thread: “Morals are not morals. Laws are Laws but morals are not morals. They are subjective to the person who holds them.” To me, it’s always shocking to remember that there are people who believe morals are non-negotiable. It’s something I have tried to block out since moving onto LSU’s campus from my small southern home town, filled to the brim with people you could affectionately refer to as “bible-thumpers”. These people usually agree upon the fact that the bible is the way, the truth, and the light, and the final authority on all things. Unfortunately, visiting home and posts such at this one force me to face this truth.

To suggest that everyone must abide by the same moral rules  is absolutely ludicrous. For morals to be truly absolute, there would have to be a single, unquestioned source and authority on said morals. When you consider the huge variety of religious beliefs (or lack thereof) across the globe, I think we can all agree that there could never be one, universal moral compass. My thinking is that this girl incorrectly assumed that her Christian god was this single, unquestioned source and authority, which, in my opinion, is one of the most narrow-minded things a person could do. It brings with it an array of problems and questions. Is the youth pastor who attempted to “rape the gay” out of the young boys he was in charge of justified in doing this? After all, he was a pious man, and homosexuality is an abomination according to the bible. What about Pro-Life activists who murder, assault, and kidnap abortion doctors in the name of saving  an unborn child? Should they be able to take a life to save a life? The same people that argue that every life is worth saving seem to have had no problem taking the lives of employees of abortion clinics and their relatives on numerous occasions.

Now, before anyone has the chance to attack me for ignoring the fact that according to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, you have the right to  free speech, let me say this: yes, you can in fact say whatever you like, barring this list of exceptions. Yes, while the US Declaration of Independence reassures you that “all men were created equal”, opinions were not created equal and you need to accept that. So yes, the commenter who inspired this post with her hatred of Miley’s antics can technically say whatever she pleases, and is certainly entitled to her own opinion. But saying “whatever, that’s just my opinion” does not mean your opinion is not ignorant, self centered, and suggestive of the moral absolutism I have been talking about. 

My personal beliefs are that of moral relativism, the position that moral propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. Morals are learned, from your family, your environment, and  personal discovery, along with a variety of other factors. If you decide to project your own morals onto others around you, and most unbelievably, celebrities, you’re likely to live most of your disappointed in mankind, which is a pretty depressing way to live. Morality is undeniably a grey area, subject to individual interpretation and beliefs. The remedy to this is to acknowledge that every person has a unique moral compass, and respect that simple fact.

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