The Instigator
abyteofbrain
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rabid.Penguin
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Is morality relative?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Rabid.Penguin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/26/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,570 times Debate No: 38159
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

abyteofbrain

Con

If morality is relative, then why would I have any reason not to change my beliefs to fit the situation? Do you see where this leads? I could do anything I wanted to, and be morally perfect. If morality is not objective, then the governments are merely a bunch of in-the-way, power mongers. If everyone truly believed that morality is relative, then our world would be chaotic; eventually, there would be only one person left (if even), unless some were to stop believing in the relativity of morality. Saying morality is relative is as good as saying it doesn't exist.
I'm having a hard time defending my view, I hope I get much better. Thanks in advance for the debate.
Rabid.Penguin

Pro

My opponent should have defined what he meant by "moral relativism," as well as the terms of the debate in his first post so that we had a clear definition to work from. Since we"re both extremely novice debaters (if you can even call either of us that), I"ll let him define it in his next post if he wants, and I"ll just try to address his objections to the best of my ability.

(1)If morality is relative, then why would I have any reason not to change my beliefs to fit the situation?
(A)This is not an argument for or against moral relativism. There could be many reasons why something may be considered morally "good" in one instance or "bad" in another. And if there exists no good or bad (only opinion) then you could conceivably change your view depending on the situation.

(2)Do you see where this leads? I could do anything I wanted to, and be morally perfect.
(A)Relatively speaking, yes you could. Though you may still suffer the consequences of breaking the law.

(3)If morality is not objective, then the governments are merely a bunch of in-the-way, power mongers.
(A)Some people believe they are. Why are they wrong? Or one could argue that government is in place so that we do not destroy each other. Though maybe not objectively morally wrong, it would have a detrimental effect on society if, for instance, murder was legal.

(4)If everyone truly believed that morality is relative, then our world would be chaotic; eventually, there would be only one person left (if even), unless some were to stop believing in the relativity of morality.
(A)What if everyone chooses to have the same morals? That doesn"t make morals objective or absolute. And look around at the world. People murder each other, and people do random acts of kindness. The actions that people take can give us a clue as to what THEY think is morally right or wrong, but it gives us no clue as to the existence of some objective or absolute morality.

(5)Saying morality is relative is as good as saying it doesn't exist.
(A)It might not exist. Or maybe what is good or what is bad is defined by the society those people live in.

My opponent has offered no real argument for why moral relativism is wrong or any other form of moralism is right.
If you"re really interested in learning how to debate or form arguments (and this is probably good advice for me too =p) You should check out some websites on what the parts of an argument are, and do some studying on logical arguments, as well as fallacies. I know the Coursera website also offers a free course on Arguments. Also, it may be a good idea to go to Wikipedia (or some other site) and read about moral relativism, moral absolutism, and moral objectivism. As well as read some articles on arguments that other people have already made one way or the other which may give you some ideas on how you want to form your argument. It"s a huge topic though =p But I"ll debate you on anything you want and take any side you want, for the practice, as long as I have the time. I"m sure the great people at Debate.org will help us out =p
Debate Round No. 1
abyteofbrain

Con

Moral reativism is the relativity of morality (I couldn't resist). It's the belief that morality applies only to individuals, and does so independently. For example, to say it's wrong to murder (or do anything else) doesn't make sense, because it may not be wrong for some people to murder, while it is for others. It's about "discovering what's right for you". I hope this definition is satisfactory.
First of all, if it's about discovering what's right for you, then there's nothing to stop us from creating our morallity. You can't tell someone else that it's wrong to create their own morality, or to ignore it altogether. knowing human nature, morallity would be whatever makes us happy, which would eventually lead to the ignorance of morality.
To make a good argument, I need a little context: I need to know what view of our world's origin you support. After thinking about it, this is essential to my argument, I can't really raise an argument without it.
If you're supporting the truth of the Bible, then my view is easilly supported. God tells us that some things are wrong, if morality were objective there would be noreason to mention morals in the Bible. I believe that God makes morality; for example, if we were instead ruled by a cruel, unloving God, making him happy is still all that would matter because he has the power to do anything to you.
Rabid.Penguin

Pro

"[T]hen there's nothing to stop us from creating our morality."
But don't we already see this in the world today? Different societies have different morals. One society may believe sacrificing children is ok. Another society may think it's evil. Why is one society right and one wrong?

"I need to know what view of our world's origin you support. After thinking about it, this is essential to my argument, I can't really raise an argument without it."
I'm not sure why that's important. Are there things that are objectively right or wrong, or are there not? The answer to that question is either yes, or no. And the truth has no bearing on what I believe. I may believe that my neighbor has the power to summon a dragon named Ginger that likes to watch Friends and eat kettle corn, but truth is objective. It doesn't matter if I _believe_ that, it isn't true. Something is true or false regardless of what people believe.

You have yet to show what basis there is for assuming an objective morality outside of your personal belief.
Debate Round No. 2
abyteofbrain

Con

If morality is relative, where could it possibly come from? Without a God to tell us what to/not to do, there is no morality. Why would a God give us relative morality? Giving us that, as I've already shown, is as good as giving us no morality, only more confusing. Why would He do that? From the standpoint of the biblical God, He has given us moral absolutes, and stated that anyone who is morally perfect can go to heaven, which means that only those who don't bend their morality for the situation will go to hell, why would He do that? What evidence is there for moral relativity? You've provided none, and I've never seen any elsewhere.
"one could argue that government is in place so that we do not destroy each other. Though maybe not objectively morally wrong, it would have a detrimental effect on society if, for instance, murder was legal."
If murder was or wasn't illegal, why would that concern you? It's based other's beliefs, not your own. If morality is relative, how could chaos be a bad thing? Relative morality can only apply personally to individuals, otherwise you face major contradiction.
All "moral relativists" I've met didn't actually believe in moral relativism: they believe in what YOU should and shouldn't do. Moral relativism is merely a tactic to achieve peace, which doesn't work.
All actions have consequences, which don't change according to what you believe. If one believes murder is good, and another believes it is bad, and they both murder, both victims are dead, both people are murders, and they are both subject to legal prosecution.
Moral relativism is a modern idea, no evidence of it in ancient days exist. If moral objectivity has been trusted so long, it must be given some credit.
Thanks for the debate. I'm ready for a reverse debate whenever you are. I think you could help me a lot in a reverse debate.

http://www.peterkreeft.com...
Rabid.Penguin

Pro

"If morality is relative, where could it possibly come from? "
Ourselves? A group of people agreeing on what is moral or immoral?

"Giving us that, as I've already shown, is as good as giving us no morality, only more confusing. Why would He do that?"
You're arguments rely on morality coming from God, but you've never shown why we should believe that morality has to come from God. You're kind of begging the question. The premise that God exists or that morals come from God has never been established.

"All actions have consequences, which don't change according to what you believe. If one believes murder is good, and another believes it is bad, and they both murder, both victims are dead, both people are murders, and they are both subject to legal prosecution."
This is true. If you commit an illegal act you must suffer the legal consequences. But that does not mean the act itself was de facto immoral. Legality doesn't necessarily equate to morality.

"Moral relativism is a modern idea, no evidence of it in ancient days exist."
Germ theory is a modern idea. Just because something is modern doesn't make it wrong.

"All "moral relativists" I've met didn't actually believe in moral relativism:"
I think so far this has been your strongest contention, but you didn't take it very far or explain why this is. "I've met" is also a phrase you shouldn't use. Anecdotal evidence is no indicator of reality. For instance, you may meet 100 people where this holds true, but the several billion you haven't met, this doesn't hold true.

Overall you're argument hinged on morals being from God, and thus must be objective, but you've given us no reason to believe morals must, in fact, come from God. Let alone God's existence in the first place.

Again, I actually do believe in God, the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, and I do believe in objective morality. Though I don't think a good case was made as to why relative morality must be false, or why it's more likely that an objective morality exists. Of course, I'm not sure I could argue any better =p but if you want, I'll try lol.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rabid.Penguin 3 years ago
Rabid.Penguin
Take your time. Just send me a message when you want to do the other debate.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
Isn't that an annoying name? I would like a reverse debate, but I have another debate challenge as we'll (and one I'm planning after that) so I'll be busy.
Posted by Rabid.Penguin 3 years ago
Rabid.Penguin
Penguins can't have rabies. Only mammals can have rabies. "Rabid" is a family name.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
Maybe this site should be renamed comedians.org.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
It's probably the rabies.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
He's creaming me.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Hmm, Which God?
There are hundreds of Gods, hundreds of Religions all quite Moralistic.
There are also many tribes with Morals that had no God, before the Bible was written.
You may need an angle on it from a Anthropological perspective.
Buddhism taught most of the Morals that Jesus taught, for hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
I think this debate could get rather messy.
No, Most of my early relatives were likely criminals, but they still had morals.
They only robbed the rich.
LOL
Posted by Rabid.Penguin 3 years ago
Rabid.Penguin
Full disclosure, I do believe the Bible, and I do believe in objective morality, and that what is right and wrong comes from God.
Posted by Rabid.Penguin 3 years ago
Rabid.Penguin
Gah!!!! Ok. I'll see what I can do. Maybe I can post my response over lunch!
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
I sympathize, but there's nothing we can do. I'd eliminate the deadline altogether if I could.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
abyteofbrainRabid.PenguinTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had a lot of problems in the presentation of his case, while Pro took a difficult position and defended it admirably. His mistakes include: relying on the assumption that God has provided objective morality without establishing that God exists in the first place, relying on anecdotal evidence to make his case (" have met "), mistakenly placing emphasis on what his opponent personally believes (which is a form of ad hominem... even if Con could convincingly show that Pro is utterly irrational, this does nothing directly to damage the validity of a particular argument which the opponent has invoked), and a form of the Historian's fallacy in thinking that because objective morality has a longer history, it must be true. I'd suggest Con review this Wikipedia article to guard against infractions in future debates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
abyteofbrainRabid.PenguinTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro dismantled all of Con's arguments with ease....Easy debate to judge.