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Moral Relativity-Child Suicide Bombers

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 715 times Debate No: 54416
Debate Rounds (4)
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Ryan Margroff
Child suicide bombers is immoral. Being a suicide bomber is a decision is not an easy decision. The countries that use suicide bombers are usually countries that are fighting a war on their soil. The fact that children are being used is wrong. The children cannot make their own decisions. Whatever dictatorship the child is a part of does not know what is wrong and right. Suicide, by itself, is immoral. Making children do it is worse. There is not moral relativism claim to excuse this. As stated in the video, they aren"t very knowledgeable about the war. They are told that their vest isn"t filled with explosives, which is not true. This should not be considered suicide. It should be considered murder. It is murder. They press a button when an American or a NATO member walks by. That is immoral. This is normal in their country, so they think nothing of it. The Taliban is one of the worst groups of people in the world. Their notoriety comes from killing people. They kill these kids, it is not suicide. They are taught from an early age, "Suicide leads to Paradise." The kid talking in the video mentions that he did not read the Quran that much. It is going against the Quran to commit suicide. They arrest anyone who does not pull the switch to detonate the bomb. With that thought in mind, a child would not go against the Taliban leaders. They are placing a threat on these kids to commit suicide. They put a false impression of God and the Prophet, also upon the Holy Quran. When a kid thinks that suicide and those false impressions are wrong, they arrest them. To compare this to where I am and where I come from, which is very difficult to do, I am not very religious, but there is a basis in which all Americans follow. The Taliban is not following their Quran, and they are not allowing these kids, their future to do the same. This is as bad as Hitler and his Nazis. We, as Americans, do not think very highly of the Taliban. We have been in war with them since their attacks on the Twin Towers. The leaders show the children videos of other suicides being committed. They are taught that they should do the right thing for their country.
Looking at the world today, there are not many of these groups left. There a few dictators stealing the headlines on CNN every week in North Korea and in Russia. Sometimes you are reminded about the Taliban and it is cause of these horrible bombings. We are reminded that these are bad and against our set of rules. They are not considered bad there because there are no rules. In class on Wednesday, James mentioned how fights have no rules. Their day-by-day life is a huge fight. There are no rules and the game plan is to kill. Their leaders are on top of a notorious list: the World"s Most Wanted. That is not by accident. They do not have any cares except they want the most power and a little bit of headlines every here and there. They see these kids as useless tools to exert pain on their opponents, who is just about anyone not in the Taliban. When countries are worrying about the future, they are not. They are worrying about themselves. This will not be an issue in 20 or 30 years. It is a huge issue now, even though no one is talking about it. We hear there was a bombing and see only five people died. The common follow up question is: how many Americans? None. Okay, good. What they are doing is immoral. They are not giving the kids a chance to grow up and make their own decisions. They are lying to them. They are telling them to flip the switch and when they do not, they are arrested. These leaders did not go through this because they are the ones that started it.
What they are doing to these kids, from an early age, is altering their life to the way they want it, not the way the kid wants it. There are false stories and impressions surrounding them. When they want to step outside the circle, they are arrested. Arrested is better than suicide, but when you are a bomber, the group of leaders see value in you. When you go against them, they all do not like you, and life is worse from then on. There is not an end to this. Apparently, the only end is "Paradise".

1)Children cannot make their own decision.
2)Suicide is immoral.
3)They aren"t knowledgeable. (15:29)
4)They are lied to. (15:35)
5)The Taliban"s usage of child suicide bombers cannot be excused by any moral relativism claim.


Ryan Molenaar: Con: The Taliban's use of children as suicide bombers cannot be excused by any moral relativist claim

In this argument, the idea of children being used to become and be used as suicide bombers is questioned. While I do not condone such behavior in any way I believe that the Taliban's usage of suicide bombers can indeed be excused if referring to Moral Relativist claims. Moral Relativism will be broken down into three categories in this argument; Descriptive, Meta-Ethical, and Normative. The first couple of statements simply state facts about the Taliban and what they believe. The children used by the Taliban do not have much knowledge of anything religious, and so the Taliban try to teach them a certain way. It is believed by those who are not within the Taliban that the children are being taught wrong. However, when taking into account the idea of Descriptive Relativism, it can be argued that the way they are teaching it cannot be judged by others. Perhaps that is what the Taliban believe when they say that it is okay to commit suicide. It is stated in the video that the "bad" people are those who teach the Quran to the children incorrectly. Firstly, who is to say that what is taught is wrong? The Quran can be interpreted in many ways and the Taliban clearly see it as one way. Secondly, according to Meta-Ethical Relativism, the subjective term of "bad" and all other terms considered subjective, cannot be used to judge a standard that may be set in a certain culture. It is clear that what the Taliban are doing is not right, but when applied to moral relativity, it can be argued that there is no moral wrong. The Taliban are simply doing what they interpret as right, whether others believe it or not, and according to Normative Relativism, that it is morally right and even understandable for one to defend one's moral code when being judged by a so-called universal standard.
I conclude that, while I do not support the Taliban's tactics in any way, it can be excused when referring to moral relativist claims as follows:

(1.)The Taliban believe it is their duty to protect their homeland by any means necessary. (12:51)
(2.)The children used by the Taliban do not have any knowledge that what they are doing is wrong, and so are told that it is okay. (15:32)
(3.)The children are not specifically told what will happen when they detonate the bombs. (16:02)
(4.)Young children, when learning, are told that in order to go to paradise, that they must commit suicide. (17:02)
(5.)Children being trained for suicide bombers did not read much of the Quran to fully understand what was religiously required of them, based on those outside of the Taliban's affiliation. (17:26)
(6.)Children are told that those they are targeting have insulted their holy book, the Quran. (18:20)
(7.)Knowledge of who they would be targeting was withheld from the children. (19:03)
(8.)Children did not know the full meaning of the Quran. (19:12)
(9.)Figures of authority have instructed children to commit suicide to go to paradise. (19:50)
(10.)Descriptive Moral Relativism states that it would be incorrect to assume that one all powerful moral framework to judge can be applied to any culture. (Rachels.4.3.3)
(11.)Taliban teach the Quran how they interpret it. (17:02)
(12.)Meta-Ethical Relativism states that subjective terms cannot be applied to the judgment of a standard by a supposed universal standard.
(13.)The people who tell the children about the Quran are bad. (19:57)
(14.)Normative Relativism states that it is understandable and moral to defend their own moral code, whether it be subjective or not, even in the face of a universal judgment.
(15.)The Taliban's usage of child suicide bombers in this video can be excused by moral relativist claims.

In conclusion, I argue that the Taliban's usage of children as a means of delivering suicide bombs, while not encourage by me, can be excused when referring to moral relativist claims; Descriptive, Meta-Ethical, and Normative.
Debate Round No. 1


As stated in my previous argument, the Taliban"s usage of suicide bombers cannot be excused by moral relativist claims. In the film I witnessed before writing the argument, the host talked with a few members of the Taliban. The kids are being lied to. They are being told false things. They are going against the Quran, as you mentioned. Moral Relativism states that different societies have different views. It also states that we cannot judge their choices and values. The thing with Moral Relativism and the actions by the Taliban is that the majority of societies believe this is wrong. It"s also written in all moral authority books, such as the Bible and the Quran. You state in line eleven of your standard form that the Taliban teach the Quran how they interpret it. The Quran has one meaning only: what is written in the Quran. You cannot change what is written. You cannot interpret it differently than another person interprets it. The children do not know the meaning, true meaning, of the Quran because they are being lied to from the beginning. The training suicide bombers who did read the Quran for themselves, often want out of the organization. What happens when they refuse to push the button? They get arrested. They get arrested for being a human with their own brain and thoughts. That is not moral. The Taliban do want to protect their land by any means necessary. That does not excuse what they did or have done. They have been at odds with the United States of America ever since the 1990s. They flew through our buildings, causes tons and tons of deaths. Their own people committed suicide. I bet those people did not have much of a choice.
To bring in another argument, these groups are almost non-existent. The Taliban is so bad. Their leaders have been hunted by many of the top countries. They are the most wanted men in the world. My view on the situation might be one thing, but when many other countries agree that they are bad, they must have done something wrong, even if they think they are doing something right. They do not care about the future of the Taliban, because the future is being killed during these suicide acts. The kids have no choice. They are put into these groups based on their father"s choice. If they do not follow through on the act, they are arrested. The universal judgment is that they disagree with the actions of the Taliban. This is about the kids and what they do. They have no choice, but when they try to fight back, their right to live is taken away.
In conclusion, the Taliban"s usage of suicide bombers cannot be excused by moral relativist claims. The claims that different societies have different views, but in this case, the universal view or claim is that this is immoral and wrong. The suicide bombers are being lied to. They are being told false things that are interpreted from the Quran. They believe what they are being told is right because they don"t know any different. The Quran has one meaning, and that meaning is not what is being told to these kids.


Ryan Molenaar
While we have learned that Moral Relativism is basically just an excuse that we can say to get out of certain situations and excuse behavior, when applied here and given the parameters of the debate, moral relativism can indeed be applied efficiently. While most everybody in the world, myself included, do not believe what the Taliban do is correct, and when applied to most moral outlines it could not be excused, and I reiterate, when applied to Relativism it can.

You mention that the Quran and the Bible certainly do not condone the behavior that the Taliban exhibit, but you do not provide any reasons as to why these two facets of supposed moral authorities are actually a true moral authority. In fact, most people would agree that any religious text cannot be accepted as a moral compass that we all can follow. You also mention that the Quran has only one meaning, but once again do not provide any reason for why this is the case. For example, the Quran is interpreted differently. One of these interpretations is that of the Esoteric. Also, the Quran is translated into many different languages and each has different meanings because some of what would be considered original meanings could be lost in translation.

The children that get arrested are arrested solely for considered terrorists based on the laws set about in the land in which they are arrested. They are not arrested because they failed to detonate the bombs as you have stated. Based on what is stated in the video clip, once they are arrested, they are rehabilitated to be taught that what they planned to do was immoral. Even the children agree that they now understand what they did was wrong and what they were taught was immoral. Now, it can be argued that those who arrest the children could be considered immoral by the Taliban since they are trying to judge and say that what the children learned is wrong, and based on Moral Relativist standards, this could be interpreted as immoral.

You bring up the point that the Taliban have been at odds with the United States and other countries for many years, but this has no relevance to what is being argued. What you say is true but the ultimate result is that it only produces irrelevant information. The idea that those who committed suicide did not have a choice is false and has no information as to why this is the case, and no information to prove that they did not have a choice. Either way, even if you provided that information, would have no relevance to the argument presented. We cannot judge them based on Normative relativist standards and therefore this argument is irrelevant to the argument. Also, this all seems to be your opinion in that you think that what happened on September 11, 2001 was bad, and based on Meta-Ethical standards, is a subjective outlook on the situation which is a key facet of what cannot be done in Moral Relativism.

In your second paragraph, the second sentence is an entirely subjective idea, making it irrelevant as this is your opinion on the matter. There seems to be a lot of false information here as the children used obviously did have a choice once the bomb was strapped to them. This is evident in that there are many children who chose not to press the button and have been arrested. Also, the children's father had no impact on the choice that the children made as it is said in this video that they were taken from schools when they were in Palestine. Even so, this has no impact on the idea that the Taliban's use of children cannot be excused by any moral relativist claim, as nowhere is it stated that relativism has anything to do with having a choice is considered immoral.

To conclude, the argument that you have made here in response to my view is filled with irrelevant information as well as many subjective views. Moral Relativism is defined as culture versus culture essentially. Based on these terms of Moral Relativity, the Taliban's usage of children cannot be excused. It may not be what everyone wants to see, and I for sure do not condone it, but my view and as well as yours, and all other views is subjective.
Debate Round No. 2


As stated in previous arguments, the usage of suicide bombers as part of the Taliban"s attacks cannot be excused by moral relativism. The children did not have a choice once the bomb was strapped to them. I might be missing something here, but what are they"re two choices? Die or get arrested. Let"s back track first. In the video I witnessed before the first round, the interviewees, members of this infamous group, said that they were told they would go to Paradise once they pushed the button. They will not even go to Heaven. Suicide is frowned upon to believers of the Quran. The thing is, the Quran is interpreted differently, as you mentioned earlier. How can something be interpreted differently? This is not two teenagers texting. This is a book written for men and women of Muslim descent to base their life around. There is one meaning. You cannot interpret it differently.
The idea that the children knew what they were doing is false. The leaders show the children videos of other suicides being committed. They are taught that they should do the right thing for their country. They do not know anything different. It is only right for the people that lead this group. It is a false impression that what they do is heroic. Heroes defy what is wrong, what is universally wrong, as this is. Heroes change the script. The reason that these groups are dwindling is because of the thought that this is wrong, no matter what people believe.
In conclusion, they think they are doing the right things. The universal belief is that they are wrong; that they are bad. The Quran, in which the interpret differently, tells them they are wrong. That is the highest authority. The Quran is the basis of Muslim life. It"s the same comparison to the Bible. It might seem irrelevant, but it is an example of how we act compared to how they act. It is not irrelevant. The video states that these kids are lied to. They are told false things. They are told they will be going to Paradise. They are told that they will be heroes. Heroes are not dead. These kids have no choice. They are pulled from school and placed in these groups. From then to the moment when the bomb in detonated, they have no choice to which action they can choose next. Morality is having disagreements, but when majority of the world agrees, it means that action is immoral. In my sociology class, we learned that marriage is universally followed. Marriage is the same throughout all societies. Incest is universally bad. Murder is also universally bad. They call this suicide, but when the suicide bomber has no choice but to follow through with the act, that is involuntary murder. You are ending one"s life before it should be ended. That is immoral. When they get arrested, they are taught that what they did was wrong, when it was right, and they are taught that they should be doing these despite their own beliefs. The usage of suicide bombers as part of the Taliban"s attacks cannot be excused by moral relativism. It is universally believed as a bad action.


Ryan Molenaar

The real question here that needs to be addressed is "What harm can come from the situation that is being argued?" The children being used as suicide bombers obviously are the ones most harmed here, and if any other moral standard were being used in this argument then there wouldn't even be a discussion about what is wrong. However, due to the parameters of Moral Relativity, we must examine who is the most hurt here. It is argued that those who are most hurt are those who rush to judgment with the ignorance of what they personally believe is the only moral standard. Many people continuously believe that the moral standard that they follow is the only moral standard and therefore is the correct one. With this ignorance, the people who judge others are themselves the ones hurt the most since they are too blind to realize that to be truly moral, you must take into account the standards of others.

There are many inconsistencies and incorrect perceptions, on your part, of what took place in the video. Firstly, paradise is defined as heaven in the Quran. Also, with regards to your statement that there is only one interpretation of the Quran, this is sheer ignorance. Everyone interprets the Bible differently and it is based on the individual person and the same could be said of the Quran. There are many different facets of Christianity just as there are many different branches of Islam. Each branch reads the same thing yet they all have different beliefs and this is because what is said is interpreted differently. For you to say that there is only one way to interpret what is said in the bible would be ignorant of others and therefore would make you immoral.

Everything you say about the children being told lies is correct based on what we think is the correct way to teach the Quran. For all we know, the way others, chiefly those who are targeted by the bombings, is incorrect. For us to judge something that we have no real knowledge of, being that I have never read the Quran, would be immoral. To say that the way that one group teaches the Quran is wrong would also be immoral due to the fact that we are only seeing one side of the argument based on the video we have watched.

Continuing what I have previously stated nothing that the Taliban do is correct in my book, but going on what I have seen as what consists of moral relativity, not only can what they are doing can be excused, but it would be immoral for us to believe that we can judge them. Your argument is full of subjective statements about heroes and the Taliban which is irrelevant to the matter being argued which is that the Taliban's use of children as a means of suicide bombers can be excused when applied to moral relativity. Not only do I still believe this, but there have been no reasons provided in your argument to even sway my mind to the contrary due to the fact that your argument is full of irrelevant information about heroes that is also subjective and also incorrect information from the video clip.
Debate Round No. 3


As stated in the last three rounds, you cannot excuse the usage of child suicide bombers in the actions of the Taliban by moral relativism. Let"s recap what has been said. Immorality is being shown by the Taliban. Though different societies do different things, it is universally accepted that these actions are not condoned by the majority of countries. It is a fact that these types of groups are dwindling. You can point to different reasons, but most of those reasons are negative. I will even argue that all of it is negative. These children are being used as a weapon. They are being sacrificed because of actions by the leaders, who have no sympathy to these children. They are being pulled out from school to be put into these groups. They have no choice from the moment being put into the group until the day they push that button. They do have the opportunity to decline any button-pushing. That will lead them into a jail cell, which is in worse conditions than the USA"s, which are pretty bad. They are, then, told lies. Just like they have been from the beginning. There is no paradise approaching at the end of time. They are not heroes. They are killers. Not only to themselves, but the persons they murder.
To answer your question about who is hurt more, the only winners in this situation are the leaders of the Taliban. They do not care about the future. They certainly do not care about these kids they are murdering. The children and the deaths their suicide bombing causes are the ones who are really hurt. The Quran, which is interpreted differently to these children, has only one meaning. Just because different societies have different beliefs does not mean what I read in the Quran should be different from what you read, or what these children read. It is the same book. These children do not even understand the Quran let alone know what is being read. This situation is full of false impressions that is being placed on these children by the leaders.
In conclusion, the usage of child suicide bombers in the actions of the Taliban cannot be excused by moral relativism. Moral relativism is the fact that different societies do different things and have different values. We, as outsiders, cannot judge them. We can judge, though, anyone who does not follow world order. The Taliban practice actions which are frowned upon and rarely seen in the present world. If it is not obvious, they are immoral things going on here. Murder is taking place but it has a different word. They call it suicide. It is not suicide when the suicide bomber has no choice. These children are being placed into these groups at early ages and are blinded by the things around them because of the false impression given by the leaders of the Talban. They are told lies and different interpretations of the Quran. There are only one interpretation, though beliefs can be different. To close my debate, what is being done here is immoral. The children have no choice but to obey these horrible men and kill innocent people. In the Taliban"s case, the men they are killing are either innocent bystanders or Americans who are trying to end this group. The usage of these children cannot be excused by moral relativism.


Ryan Molenaar

I feel as though we are talking in circles as not much new information has been introduced from your initial argument to your last. Yes based on what you believe, and what most others believe, what the Taliban are doing is immoral. However, in the end there is no "world order" that you speak of that can judge every single society on one moral scale. If we did that then we would be immoral people. We must put ourselves in each society's "shoes," since that is the basis of morality; understanding others and even if we do not condone what the others are doing, we at least must understand why they do it.

Just as I stated, to be moral we must put ourselves on the other side and view it from there. The Taliban are indeed killing people, which is immoral since to be moral you have to value others' lives as well as your own. However, it could be interpreted as in response to other people trying to impose upon their lands and beliefs. In all honesty, who is more at fault here, the Taliban or those who are invading and imposing on them what they believe to be false beliefs? By many countries trying to say what the Taliban believe about the Quran is wrong, they are being immoral in that we must accept what others believe according to moral relativity. Also, the Taliban have a right to defend their beliefs. When you think about it further, most countries want to kill as many of the Taliban members as possible, so aren't these countries immoral as well for disregarding human life?

Moral Relativism is essentially an excuse used by immoral people to prove what they believe and how they act is right. In any other moral situation, the Taliban would be considered immoral, yet with Moral Relativity, they cannot. Most of the time, and in the video, many people use subjective terms to describe what the Taliban are doing. This is not very effective and neither is the argument made you that the Taliban's beliefs are "bad." Moral Relativity describes the idea that societies that consider themselves superior to other societies cannot judge others because to do so would be immoral and in violation of what is encompassed in Moral Relativity.

In conclusion, the argument I have made to excuse the Taliban's actions of using children as suicide bombers could be misconstrued as defending what they do. It is not. I have no love for the Taliban and would never condone what they do in any sense. Yet, when applied to this, at times, excuse to do "bad" things, idea of Moral Relativity, what they do can indeed be excused as just defending what they believe. They believe the Quran says something that can excuse what they do. Even in the video, those who oppose the Taliban say that it is okay to fight and kill. Perhaps this idea of suicide bombing the Taliban's way of "fighting." The Taliban also cannot be judged by other societies based on Moral Relativity since it is stated that we cannot judge other societies with the idea that we are better than them. To do that would be immoral since we are not taking into account the other side's interpretation of what they are doing.
Debate Round No. 4
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