Morals: Objective or Relative?


Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius believed that the purpose of life is not pleasure, but equanimity, which means the ability to live with reason and self-control in any situation.

Will you agree if i say, “There is nothing good or bad. It is our thinking that makes it so.”. However, the preceding statement is nothing but truth. In this post I will try to prove it  by different examples. You can argue, we may not have the sense of all exhaustive moral values but indeed we do know what is worst and what is best in terms of morality. My answer will be “not always”. As long as we will not fix a reference point, it is difficult to define anything good or bad. As soon as you fix a reference point for morality, it becomes relative! A relative morality is based on our thinking.

What more shameful, awful and evil you can think off than gang rape and torture and finally brutal murder of an eight year old girl, named Aasifa! Even after such a heinous crime, there were people trying to safe rapist. How it could be possible if Morals are absolute or objective? How any human can support such criminal if morals are absolute? Absolute morality is an illusion . Morals are relative. Normally, we consider humanity as our common reference point for morality; therefore, being human makes us feel that morals are objective. However, sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. People who do not draw morality from human reference point and believe in religious morality as superior are killing human being for eating beef (Cow meat). If you are not a politically motivated Hindu so called Cow-Protector, will you do that? Will your family allow you to involve in such act? Will any human being support such inhuman act?

Consider one more example, we all agree killing a human being is wrong and immoral, but during war soldier’s kill each other and their Nation awards them with medals of bravery. Thus, good and evil are relative terms. While for religious people’s it is religion which dictates definition of good and bad, for non-religious peoples it should be humanity. Some Hindu’s can drink cow’s urine because it is sacred for him! Can you do the same? We live in a changing world, and we have evolved consciousness. We are not the same intellectuals as existed thousands of years ago. Now, you can’t confine women to homes and tell them your only role is to produce babies and please your husband .Human slavery is abolished. Only now we understand that child labour is bad. Children should be educated before sending for work. Above examples shows that morality is changing with time. Anything that change with time can not be absolute.

If morality is objective or absolute, our moral values should remain same even today as they were in past. If slavery was  moral, thousand years ago, how it becomes bad now? This shows that morals are relative. One more example of morals being relative is different religion and their different rules about social life. In religions, God dictates morality. Wish of God and his commandment becomes highest moral ground. Different religion has different god and hence different moral standards. This definitely proves that morals are relative.

One thought on “Morals: Objective or Relative?

  1. Pingback: Silent Cry! | Sustained Society

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