Friday, April 17, 2009

If It Makes You Happy It Can't Be That Bad

When I was in college I took a class called Philosophy 101, also known as Moral Philosophy. We spent the entire semester discussing different philosophies of morality. We looked at different philosophies (search for truth) that shaped people's ethics. We discussed and wrote paper after paper about each philosophical idea.

Each philosophy we deconstructed and looked at from various angles. There was NOT ONE philosophy that could not be dis-proved. Not one. At the end of the class we had to write a concluding paper about all that we had learned through the semester and I realized, as I was writing this paper, the truth: there has to be an absolute truth, a moral code, to go by because no other philosophy of morality stands the tests of scrutiny.

Lately, especially in Western culture, the idea that what we think is right and wrong is really all about what works for each person individually (or sometimes culturally). In other words, if it something is morally right or wrong for you or for your culture we should not make any judgments on it. The belief says that we cannot make a full-scale judgment that something is fully right or fully wrong. Or, in the words of one song writer: "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad."

I wonder if those who believe in moral relativism (the belief that what's right for you is all relative) would be singing the same tune if say someone was breaking into their house and wiping them clean of all of their stuff. But hey, if wiping you clean makes them happy, it's right for it can't be bad. Right?

Most people who advocate for this idea of a world without moral objective standards also embrace this idea of "tolerance." They will say things like "We ought to be tolerant" or "We should be tolerant." This is a direct contradiction of the very thing they are saying! If there is no such thing as standard of morality, according to them, I don't ought or should anything!

The other problem with "tolerance" is that anytime you disagree with someone you are practicing intolerance! If everything, every view, every opinion is moraly relative, than believing someone's opinion is wrong is practicing intolerance!

This idea that tolerance in allowing people to do whatever makes them happy just doesn't hold. I actually find it quite ironic that those who most tout tolerance as a virtue are themselves quite intolerant of those of us who disagree. Tolerance really only extends in these cases to those who's view is the same as theirs

I believe it is very possible, however, to disagree with someone's beliefs on an issue and yet still treat them with love. Isn't that what we're called to?

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