Is relative meaning a bad thing?

RatDog
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Is relative meaning a bad thing?

 Since I've been on the site I've heard arguments that moral which are relative are somehow less meaningful or effective then morels that exist in some kind of absolute sense.   Just recently I've encountered the notion that meaning which is relative is somehow less then meaning that exists in some kind of absolute sense.  Do you thing that the meaning people create for them selves is somehow less then meaning that comes from some kind of higher power?  Is meaning that only applies to one person less the meaning that applies to everyone? Why do some people feel that life without god has no meaning?


The Doomed Soul
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The answer to your questions

The answer to your questions dear poster... are all relative... hahaha


pauljohntheskeptic
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RatDog wrote: Since I've

RatDog wrote:

 Since I've been on the site I've heard arguments that moral which are relative are somehow less meaningful or effective then morels that exist in some kind of absolute sense.

All morals are relative and none are really absolute. Think about it.

RatDog wrote:

Just recently I've encountered the notion that meaning which is relative is somehow less then meaning that exists in some kind of absolute sense.

What is an absolute sense and how would that be measurable if such exists to me?

RatDog wrote:

 Do you thing that the meaning people create for them selves is somehow less then meaning that comes from some kind of higher power?

What is a higher power? Never met one. If I've never met or discovered such a thing as a higher power than it's a meaningless question.

RatDog wrote:

Is meaning that only applies to one person less the meaning that applies to everyone? Why do some people feel that life without god has no meaning?

Again, how do you measure this? What do you do, place an arbitrary value on what I consider as meaningful versus another, or a large group of others?

*Edit Added*

I have no idea why people can't find value in life itself without creating a god. I've always suspected it's a fear of death thing or a need to know there is something more after life.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

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RatDog
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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

All morals are relative and none are really absolute. Think about it.

 

 

True all morals are relative.  I was using people unhappiness with morel relativism as an example of people’s obsession with absolute black and white answers.  

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

What is an absolute sense and how would that be measurable if such exists to me?

 

 

It can't be measured because it doesn't exist.  At least I have no reason to believe it exists.  

 

It seems that many people want there to be a meaning to life that exists outside of us.  A meaning for human life that is unquestionable, and everlasting.  A meaning that will still be there even when we are all gone.   I can't think of a reason why we should care what happens when we are all gone.  Maybe just arrogance? A desire to feel like we are a part of something that will endear forever even if we ourselves do not.

 

Personal I would be willing to settle for any meaning I can get right now.  I'm little depressed.  

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

What is a higher power? Never met one. If I've never met or discovered such a thing as a higher power than it's a meaningless question.

 

 

Your right, I guess it is meaningless.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Again, how do you measure this? What do you do, place an arbitrary value on what I consider as meaningful versus another, or a large group of others?

 

 

You can't really measure meaning.  That doesn't seem to stop people from feeling that they have so much more meaning in their life then everyone else.  It seems that a lot of religious people feel that they are the only ones with any meaning, and that everyone else just thinks they have it.  

 

What I’m trying to understand is why a lot of ex Christians seem to have to struggle to find a replacement for the meaning that they gave up.  It been years since I've been a Christian, and I'm still having a hard time with this.  I wonder if it is because the meaning I'm looking for now has to come from myself and not from other people in the form of a fictional god.  

 

 


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The problem with moral

The problem with moral relativism critics is that there is an assumption that what works for one person works the same for everyone and that what works in one situation is applicable to all.  For the 1st part, humans have different personalities and deal with events in our lives differently.  Take a huge car crash.  Some people can walk away from a scenario without any psychological trauma while others end up with forms of PTSD.  For the 2nd, murder is wrong - except sometimes.  Life is complex and what works in one case cannot be assumed to work universally.  This is why religious dogma fails and is dangerous IMO.

I tend to be impatient with the lack of desire to think in the people I encounter so probably have some bias clouding my judgment here, but I think people like dogma mostly due to laziness.  It's just so much easier to make a rule and have it apply 100% of the time than to spend the time to think through every decision you need to make.  There's just a certain comfort level in pre-making your decisions.  That's what I've seen within fundamentalist christianity anyway.

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.


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RatDog wrote: Since I've

RatDog wrote:

 Since I've been on the site I've heard arguments that moral which are relative are somehow less meaningful or effective then morels that exist in some kind of absolute sense.   Just recently I've encountered the notion that meaning which is relative is somehow less then meaning that exists in some kind of absolute sense.  Do you thing that the meaning people create for them selves is somehow less then meaning that comes from some kind of higher power?  Is meaning that only applies to one person less the meaning that applies to everyone? Why do some people feel that life without god has no meaning?

Imagine that you can decide how much money you have. You can say "I have one hundred dollars" and a hundred dollars appears in your hand. No one would allow you to buy anything with your money, because you could poof ten times as much into existence tomorrow and make it all worth very little.

Now imagine that the amount of money you have depends upon the amount of gold you own. You can have, say, a hundred dollars per gram. Someone might allow you to buy something with your money now, because it is tied to a standard that prevents it from losing worth.

The same applies to values. When you can arbitrarily change your values, when they are tied to nothing in the world, they carry little weight. You have no reason for choosing one set of values over another, and we have no reason to expect you to be morally consistent. When they are tied to something in the world, then we can have some reason to expect consistency.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Now imagine that the amount of money you have depends upon the amount of gold you own. You can have, say, a hundred dollars per gram. Someone might allow you to buy something with your money now, because it is tied to a standard that prevents it from losing worth.

The same applies to values.

Oops! No it doesn't. You just equated the valuation of gold with the valuation of ideals. No, and wrong. The value of gold is determined by supply, demand, and market action. The valuation of ideals can take place in a person using any moral capacity that person has, including a full range of sources.

Like you, a person could decide that they need to consult a handbook for every decision they make (if that's not true, let me know -- I think you could defend that point well). Or they could judge the situation based on personal experience and wisdom. Now a child has no personal experience or wisdom, for the most part, so we give them rules. But grown-ups can be left to their own devices, surely.

 

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HisWillness wrote: Oops! No

HisWillness wrote:
 Oops! No it doesn't. You just equated the valuation of gold with the valuation of ideals. No, and wrong. The value of gold is determined by supply, demand, and market action. The valuation of ideals can take place in a person using any moral capacity that person has, including a full range of sources.

Like you, a person could decide that they need to consult a handbook for every decision they make (if that's not true, let me know -- I think you could defend that point well). Or they could judge the situation based on personal experience and wisdom. Now a child has no personal experience or wisdom, for the most part, so we give them rules. But grown-ups can be left to their own devices, surely. 

I am aware that people are able to choose a variety of values and value-standards. You are able to base your values on the Bible, your conscience, or the Psychic Friends Network, and there are many people who take each of those options. I am saying that if the chain of reasoning you use to derive your values contains an arbitrary choice at any juncture, you could change your values at whim without committing an epistemic sin. A value that you could change so easily seems to be, in an important sense, worth less than a value that you could not.

 

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

HisWillness wrote:
 Oops! No it doesn't. You just equated the valuation of gold with the valuation of ideals. No, and wrong. The value of gold is determined by supply, demand, and market action. The valuation of ideals can take place in a person using any moral capacity that person has, including a full range of sources.

Like you, a person could decide that they need to consult a handbook for every decision they make (if that's not true, let me know -- I think you could defend that point well). Or they could judge the situation based on personal experience and wisdom. Now a child has no personal experience or wisdom, for the most part, so we give them rules. But grown-ups can be left to their own devices, surely. 

I am aware that people are able to choose a variety of values and value-standards. You are able to base your values on the Bible, your conscience, or the Psychic Friends Network, and there are many people who take each of those options. I am saying that if the chain of reasoning you use to derive your values contains an arbitrary choice at any juncture, you could change your values at whim without committing an epistemic sin. A value that you could change so easily seems to be, in an important sense, worth less than a value that you could not.

 

But the religious 'chain of reasoning' contains an ultimately arbitrary choice, or is based on an intrinsically unknowable assumption, that the edicts of an all-powerful creator being are the good. Or else that they define the good, although this amounts to 'might makes right'. We have absolutely no way to 'know' the ultimate motives of such a being - there is absolutely no logical reason why such a being would even necessarily have only positive intentions toward us, or would always 'communicate' truthfully with us about its motives. It could even wish us well but lie to us, if that lead us ultimately to some benefit, or vice versa.

Fully analyzed and considered, the assumption that an infinitely powerful entity exists, and is interested in us, means we abandon all hope of knowing with certainty the ultimate nature of reality or of how our actions will affect our personal or mankind's future, since we are effectively subject to the whims of an unknowable sentience.

At least basing our morals on criteria such as minimizing actual perceived harm and suffering of real people, and maximizing positive feelings of love and friendship toward and from them, gives us some means of anchoring our morality in something real.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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If right and wrong (morals)

If right and wrong (morals) arent relative how can we ever improve them. The last 5000 years of human history has shown we have needed to and in many cases have improved them. The next generations will have a better concept of right and wrong than this generationa and we have a better concept than the previous ones.

I look back on people living 2000. 200 or even 50 years ago as complete savages relative to modern times. 50 years ago it was normal and morally good to be a racist (American ancestor worship of dead politicans to me is just as irrational as christianity but I leave that to Americans to explain).

In 50 years time 2059 people will look back at us as a bunch of ignorant savages