Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Relativism and Rape

A redated post.


I had a teacher at Arizona State who told me that in one culture rape is considered perfectly OK, so long as you do it at the right time. In the morning, it's forbidden. In the afternoon, it is frowned upon. At night, it is perfectly OK, since a woman who is away from the protection of her husband is asking for it. (He never said which campus fraternity he was referring to).

If cultural relativism is true, the rules of that culture, with respect to rape, are justified. There is no "court of appeal" that is over and above that culture and out culture that would permit us to say that their views on rape are wrong and ours are right. For us to suggest that they are "really" wrong in permitting rape is to elevate the rules of our culture to a kind of cosmic status they cannot have. It is to be intolerant.

45 comments:

Ilíon said...

VR: "If cultural relativism is true, the rules of that culture, with respect to rape, are justified. There is no "court of appeal" that is over and above that culture and out culture that would permit us to say that their views on rape are wrong and ours are right. For us to suggest that they are "really" wrong in permitting rape is to elevate the rules of our culture to a kind of cosmic status they cannot have. It is to be intolerant."

Ah! But intellectual consistency (and/or intellectual integrity) is *also* up for grabs when one is asserting relativism.

Steven Carr said...

There are some head coaches who tell their quarterbacks to fumble the ball on every play.

How can other head coaches say that these plays are wrong, unless they can tell us the objectively best football plays?

But they can't, as coaches can and do disagree on what way to play football.

'For us to suggest that they are "really" wrong in telling the quarterback to fumble the ball on every play is to elevate the rules of our playbook to a kind of cosmic status they cannot have. It is to be intolerant."

And whose playbook should we choose when condeming head coaches who tell the quarterback to fumble on every play?

The Packers playbook?

The Chiefs Playbook?

The Notre Dame playbook?

The Sacramento High School playbook?

Until we sort out which playbook is the objectively correct playbook, no fan can criticise his head coach if he orders his quarterback to fumble the ball on every play.

mattghg said...

Steven, you don't listen. As I said to you before, your analogy is unsound because in football we all agree what the ultimate aim of the game is. That's not the case with personal conduct.

I don't expect you to listen this time, either, actually.

Steven Carr said...

My analogy is perfectly sound.

How can you criticise a head coach like that , unless you can tell me the objectively best football plays in every situation?

You do admit that football is a matter of opinion, don't you (as Brian Clough would say)

And the 'logic' is that if something is a matter of opinion (ie choosing good football plays), then you have forfeited the right to criticise other people, as it is only your opinion.

My analogy points out the big,big hole in that logic.

I have also asked this before. What do Christians actually think is the point of acting morally? Is it to glorify their God to the maximum that humans can?

Or is it to improve the well-being of humanity in general and individuals in particular, even if that means not glorifying God as much?

An answer would be nice.

Steven Carr said...

'At night, it is perfectly OK, since a woman who is away from the protection of her husband is asking for it. '

Deuteronomy 22
If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife.


If she doesn't scream for help, she was clearly asking for it.

Who is to say that the Old Testament laws on rape and adultery are wrong?

mattghg said...

You're still not listening. For your analogy to hold, it would have to be the case that:
1. Everyone agrees that morality is consequentialist.
2. Everyone agrees what the desirable consequences are.

This is simply not the case. However, it is the case for football:
1. Plays take place within the context of a match.
2. The desirable consequence is to win the match.

The very fact that you can ask me what the point of acting morally is shows all this. For the analogy with football to hold, it would have to be agreed what the point of acting morally is. Heck, there would have to be an objective fact of the matter.

Doctor Logic said...

Victor,

For us to suggest that they are "really" wrong in permitting rape is to elevate the rules of our culture to a kind of cosmic status they cannot have. It is to be intolerant.

Yes, it is to be intolerant. So what?

Consider a man who opposes the rape in question. His intolerance is based on a very significant adverse consequence of the practice.

Now consider a man who opposes gay marriage. He's intolerant, also. The difference is that there is no significant adverse consequence for him if his gay neighbors marry.

We don't normally say a man is intolerant if he opposes a practice that significantly harms him or his family. (There's a sliding scale, with smaller harms to family equating to large harms for fellow citizens. A loud party next door equates to child abuse in some remote third-world nation, say.) Rather, we use the word "intolerant" when he opposes the freedom of others to engage in a practice that will not cause significant harm. (Small amounts of harm don't count - not liking loud music is not generally a good excuse to forbid the neighbors from having 1 party per year.) Gay marriage harms no one, so opposition to it is intolerant with a capital I.

I'm generalizing here, but, in my experience, the consequences of a practice are not critically important to conservatives. I think that's why they have this hang-up over relativism. If one believes morality has to go far beyond consequences, then one's relationship to some objective standard becomes the center of moral practice. If there is no objective standard, there's nothing left for the deontologist to grasp at.

For example, conservatives are very concerned that wrongdoers be punished for their bad behavior. This overrides any possible inclination towards a policy that is more lenient, but which has better consequences.

Gordon Knight said...

Consequentialism is not opposed to objectivism, as long as one agrees that the consequences that have value have it objectively.

I don't think there are many people, Christian or otherwise, who would ignore the value of consequences in evaluating the rightness or wrongness of an action. My guess is a more common position would be something like Ross' view that (1) moral obligations are of many sorts and not reducible to consequences. (2) The production of good is one of pur obligations. (2) we have an evil greater obligation to prevent evil.

Shackleman said...

Gordon Knight: "(2) The production of good is one of pur[e] obligations. ([3]) we have an ev[en] greater obligation to prevent evil."

But given relativism, the terms "good" and "evil" are ultimately meaningless or at best impossible to concretely define. Which, of course is the whole point of Dr. Reppert's original post.

Shackleman said...

Steven Carr,

Your analogizing football to rape is flatly disgusting. There is no redeeming value in this analogy whatsoever.

Do you even hear yourself?

Doctor Logic said...

Shackleman,

I think Gordon was describing a possible objectivist/realist perspective.

And it's not that good an evil are impossible to define under relativism. They can be defined just like delicious and disgusting or beautiful and ugly. You just can't objectively sort specific practices into good and evil categories.

So, for example, if you think pickles are delicious, that makes perfect sense to me, and your statement is well-defined, even if I think that pickles are disgusting.

Shackleman said...

Doctor Logic,

I might have missed GK's point. However truth is either objectively true, or objectively false. Pickle tastes are subjective.

My computer is powered on---this is objectively true.

I like that my computer is powered on---this is subjectively true.

Two different categories here, and Dr. Reppert was obviously using his example to illustrate the natural intuition most healthy-minded people have regarding rape---that it's objectively immoral.

Shackleman said...

I misspoke of course. Truth is true, not false.

{haha}

I should have written "FACTS are either objectively true or false"

No no no, that's not right either {haha}. You know what I mean!! Damn, where's Ilion to help with my imprecise use of written language when I need him!!

Ilion, say what I'm trying to say for me please!! :-)

Ilíon said...

The word 'fact' is typically used in two ways:
1) to refer to the propositions we make about existing things (which category also includes mental "objects") -- and which we are asserting, in calling the individual proposition a 'fact,' is a truth;
2) to refer to the existents themselves which we perceive (or imagine we perceive).

This, of course, leads to ambiguity and confusion ... and, sometimes, to equivocation.

So, "I should have written "FACTS are either objectively true or false" is not necessarily incorrect; though it can be mightily confusing.

It seems to me that the first usage of 'fact' is the most common. I sometimes use "brute fact" for the second category (though, "brute fact" seems to imply a physical thing, and sometimes 'fact' in the second sense is used to refer to some concept about which one wants to make propositions).

ps. This post brought to you by 'evera'

Ilíon said...

GK: "... My guess is a more common position would be ... that ... (2) The production of good is one of [o]ur obligations. ([3]) we have an ev[en] greater obligation to prevent evil."

Shackleman: "But given relativism, the terms "good" and "evil" are ultimately meaningless or at best impossible to concretely define. Which, of course is the whole point of Dr. Reppert's original post."

Person Who Continues To Spurn The Offer Of The First Two Letters Of My Name: "I think Gordon was describing a possible objectivist/realist perspective. ..."

Shackleman: "I might have missed GK's point. ..."

Can Gentle Reader even not now see why I am so "mean" so frequently?

Steven Carr said...

SHACKELMAN
Your analogizing football to rape is flatly disgusting.

CARR
No it isn't.

I was analogising Christian logic to football, not rape to football.


Christian logic claims that if you don't have a Big Golden Book of Morality you can't criticise rape.

Presumably in the same way that if you can't say which teams playbook contains the objectively correct football plays, then you can't criticise a headcoach who thinks the objective of football should be to let the other team win by telling his quarterback to fumble the play on every opportunity.

It is the Bible which talks about rape in flatly disgusting terms by claiming that it is morally right to punish rapists by forcing them to marry the girls they raped.

Ilíon said...

Steven Carr: "It is the Bible which talks about rape in flatly disgusting terms by claiming that it is morally right to punish rapists by forcing them to marry the girls they raped."

Falsely asserts the man with no interest at all in knowing the truth.

What a curr!

Ilíon said...

[technically, the word is 'cur']

Jesse said...

Hello Steven.

You write:

::And the 'logic' is that if something is a matter of opinion (ie choosing good football plays), then you have forfeited the right to criticise other people, as it is only your opinion.
My analogy points out the big,big hole in that logic.

Your analogy assumes people disagree that a course of action can be entirely logically consistent with pursuing ones desired outcome; I don’t think anyone disagrees with this. We may say, for instance, if you desire a degree in physics here is what you ought to do, and go on to give a course of action by which to achieve that desired outcome. The course of action will then either lead to the outcome, or not; it will be either true in relation to it, or not. The same can be said of things like society, and rules for running it: if we want this sort of society then here is what we ought to do. The same can be said of the human race: if we want to preserve the race, here is what we ought to do. The same can be said for football: if we want to play football then here’s what we ought to do.

In each case we must note some things. 1) Every ought is prefaced with an if. 2) Every goal has both clear guiding principles, and less clear courses of action which are then matters for prudential judgment, that are logically consistent with that goal. In relation to Victor’s post, your analogy makes a false assumption about (2) by failing to consider (1).

Your false assumption is that those who argue as Victor has are failing to note the logical consistency of a course of action in relation to a goal. That’s simply not true. The point is that the subjectivist says every prescriptive statement (statement of ought) is prefaced with if, so that there are no categorical oughts, only hypothetical oughts. This being the case, no judgment therefore can be made upon a course of action without first agreeing on what we might call the if goal. Therefore, if you want to disagree with culture x that says rape at night is ok, then you would need some goal with which that culture would agree, and according to which such an action is inconsistent -- thus logically wrong. Clearly culture x didn’t share your assumptions about the (presumed) dignity of the human person, thus they didn’t share your goals. You cannot then say that their goals were really wrong, nor criticize their actions allowable within those assumptions, for that would be assuming an ought to which all are rationally bound. The best you can do is say those actions are wrong for me to do according to my goal. But you cannot turn around and say they are wrong for anyone else who does not share your goal without assuming a categorical ought -- a “cosmic status”.

Peace,

Jesse

Steven Carr said...

JESSE
This being the case, no judgment therefore can be made upon a course of action without first agreeing on what we might call the if goal.

CARR
Jesse is quite right.

But I have asked Christians many times what the point of moral behaviour is. Is it to glorify God?

And my analogy still stands.

We can perfectly well criticise a head coach who tells his quarterback to fumble the ball on every play, even if he retorts that our opinion that we should try to win the game is not one that he shares.


JESSE
Clearly culture x didn’t share your assumptions about the (presumed) dignity of the human person, thus they didn’t share your goals.

CARR
Clearly head coach X didn't share my assumption about the point of sport being to at least try to win the game, thuse he didn't share my goals, hence his choice of plays.

But I can still call for him to be sacked as my head team's coach.

Why not?

The idea that I cannot criticise rapists because they do not share my goals makes no more sense than the idea that I cannot criticise a head coach who does not share my ideas of what football should be about.

Jesse said...

But I have asked Christians many times what the point of moral behaviour is. Is it to glorify God?

It is to attain God.


JESSE
This being the case, no judgment therefore can be made upon a course of action without first agreeing on what we might call the if goal.

CARR
Jesse is quite right.


Ok then, the football coach has agreed, by virtue of a tacit contract to coach football, on the if goal. Therefore you can make a judgment on actions and statements that contradict his agreement.


JESSE
Clearly culture x didn’t share your assumptions about the (presumed) dignity of the human person, thus they didn’t share your goals.

CARR
Clearly head coach X didn't share my assumption about the point of sport being to at least try to win the game, thuse he didn't share my goals, hence his choice of plays.

But I can still call for him to be sacked as my head team's coach.


Of course you can, because he lied when he agreed that he shared assumptions; but you cannot really say he was wrong to lie, only that you have the force of law behind you and those who agree with you to remove him.

The idea that I cannot criticise rapists because they do not share my goals makes no more sense than the idea that I cannot criticise a head coach who does not share my ideas of what football should be about.

Hmmm, yet you agreed that "no judgment therefore can be made upon a course of action without first agreeing on what we might call the if goal."

You see, it's precisely because the coach agrees to coach FOOTBALL that you can criticize him. It's precisely because you deny a categorical ought which binds us to a goal that you cannot criticize a rapist -- and you agree with this, remember, "no judgment therefore can be made upon a course of action without first agreeing on what we might call the if goal."

Peace.

John W. Loftus said...

We can approach this from a different perspective. Let's say morals evolve in the same way as species do. Grant me that, okay?

Then I don't see a problem. The cave man who clubbed a woman and drug her into his cave did nothing wrong just as a chimpanzee who exhibits homosexual activity, or a dominant lion who demands sex with all of the females, or a cat who shows no mercy to a mouse.

We humans adopt codes of conduct in order to have the benefits that our higher species need, like friendship, family ties, and so on. That best explains why our moral codes are similar around the world on the major, basic issues, and why they are diverse on the moderate, lesser issues.

Besides, it's not relativists who argue for rape, anyway, it's religious people, like what we find in Muslim and Old Testament texts.

John W. Loftus said...

So, in a caveman culture rape is considered right. But in ours it is not. Our culture is different. Is it better? I would argue so. It's because we continue to evolve. Because we do our morals evolve in tandum.

Steven Carr said...

JESSE
You see, it's precisely because the coach agrees to coach FOOTBALL that you can criticize him

CARR
SO what right do you have to criticise football coaches who think the way to play football is to tell the quarterback to fumble the ball?

Unless you can tell us the OBJECTIVELY best play in every situation, you have no right to criticse bad plays...

Obviously, I am using nonsense logic, but it is the same logic used to 'disprove' relativism - if somebody does not agree with you, then you have no right to criticise....

CARR

.... "no judgment therefore can be made upon a course of action without first agreeing on what we might call the if goal."

CARR
But I have asked Christians many times what the point of moral behaviour is. Is it to glorify God?

Suppose this god says raping enemy women glorifies him?

What do we say? Do we just say that God is wrong, and we think different things glorify him?

Chuck O'Connor said...

All this illustration proves to me is that Christian Intellectual is an oxymoron. You don't rape because it infringes in a violent way on the autonomy of an individual, which is the first rule of ethics. You can also dismiss this practice without appealing to ethics or morality. I doubt any society that operates by that standard realizes a level of sustainable efficiency. There is absolutely no basis for trust and therefore no basis for intra-dependence. You don't need God, Jesus, or the bible to believe this.

What is your point exactly?

Victor Reppert said...

I didn't say anything religious was involved. What I said was that cultural relativism implies that if a society finds rape acceptable, then we cannot go outside that society's norms and say that it's really wrong even though the society condones it.

There are plenty of people who accept objective moral values and are not relativists who do not ground the duty not to rape in God. Plato, for example, grounded it in the Form of the Good. Aristotle grouded it in the inherent purpose of human beings. Now you can get an argument going that says that objective moral values involve metaphysical commitments that are most at home in a theistic universe and are incompatible with naturalism currently understood. But that's a whole separate argument. Right now I am looking at the logical implications of cultural relativism.

An Christian intellectual is not an oxymoron. But sometimes I think an atheist who doesn't read an apologetic agenda into what a theistic philosopher says when it the theist is just doing ethics is an oxymoron.

Lewis had a moral argument for God, but he also was at some pains to argue for the objectivity of moral values without saying anything about God. See the Abolition of Man.

Chuck O'Connor said...

A theistic philosopher positing a point on cultural relativism as a Christian Intellectual is not an oxymoron. It is just manipulative hypocrisy. You don't believe in objective morality if you are a theistic philosopher so why ponder the possibility if not to make a case for the premise organizing your theistic philosophy?

And CS Lewis is a dusty old man suffering post traumatic stress disorder from the Luftwaffe bombs and the death of his wife.

legodesi said...

"You don't believe in objective morality"

Vic is a theistic philosopher, and he does believe in objective morality. Expand your point.

Rasmus Møller said...

John W. Loftus
So, in a caveman culture rape is considered right. But in ours it is not. Our culture is different. Is it better? I would argue so. It's because we continue to evolve. Because we do our morals evolve in tandum.

Rasmus Møller
I'd like to present a CSL quote from "God in the Dock" against your position:

"Mechanism, like all materialist systems, breaks down at the problem of knowledge. If thought is the undesigned and irrelevant product of cerebral motions, what reason have we to trust it? As for emergent evolution, if anyone insists on using the word God to mean 'whatever the universe happens to be going to do next', of course we cannot prevent him. But nobody would in fact so use it unless he had a secret belief that what is coming next will be an improvement. Such a belief, besides being unwarranted, presents peculiar difficulties to an emergent evolutionist. If things can improve, this means that there must be some absolute standard of good above and outside the cosmic process to which that process can approximate. There is no sense in talking of 'becoming better' if better means simply 'what we are becoming' - it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as 'the place you have reached'. Mellontolatry, or the worship of the future, is a fuddled religion."

Ilíon said...

You know, it will be so much easier on yourself/yourselves when you finally acknowledge that the positions taken by certain of these fellows can rationally be explained only in terms of intellectual dishonesty.

Of course, if you ever do that, then you'll realize that it is impossible to engage in argumentation with them, for argument presupposes integrity.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Theistic philosophy from my perspective presupposes theism and therefore a subjective morality relative to the edicts of the God-head. Objectiviy seems hypocritical within that context.
Morality is dictated in a coercive way from presupposed beliefs handed down from on high. Please help me out and correct my understanding. Thanks.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Moeller,

I don't see how the CS Lewis quote is an answer to Loftus' question or a rebuttal of his statement.

Can you simplify. Thanks.

Rasmus Møller said...

Blogger Chuck O'Connor said...

Moeller,

I don't see how the CS Lewis quote is an answer to Loftus' question or a rebuttal of his statement.

Can you simplify. Thanks.

Rasmus reponds

I am not in CSL's league, English is not my first language, and it takes me an inordinate time to compose even short replies, so please forgive me if I respond slowly or clumsily.

I believe Loftus can be loyally paraphrased: "It (our culture) is better, because we and our morals evolve".

The CSL quote, IMHO, clearly exposes the absurd circularity of said paraphrase. To become better (or worse) means to move up (or down) a moral scale. But if our morals change/evolve, our standards changes with it. It just does not make sense to claim that a moral standard, a culture, a person or anything else has become better, unless you have a common & fixed scale, on which you can position one item higher than another.

By claiming to be a moral relativist, Loftus claims that he and his culture use an "evolved" moral standard, with which he judges his own evolved moral standard to be better than the caveman's moral standard.

It makes me think of Baron Münchhausen escaping from a swamp by pulling himself up by his own hair - only the moral relativist not only claims to be pulling himself upward (morally), but also claiming that the (moral) direction called up is relative.

Did you read something else into Loftus' statement?

Rasmus Møller said...

Ilion,

while I do understand your feelings - what is done for Christ, is never done in vain.

I am not in a position to judge anyone's honesty, sincerity etc. To my very limited ability, I am to respond like Christ told me to.

If only I did it more often.

John W. Loftus said...

Rasmus, our modern standards are better for us, certainly.

Rasmus Møller said...

Blogger John W. Loftus said...

Rasmus, our modern standards are better for us, certainly.

Rasmus responds

Is this REALLY more than an empty tautology?

For your statement to be meaningful, it at least needs to be falsifiable.

But _every_ standard would judge itself "the best", in that it most closely fulfills its _own_ demands.

Please explain, if you can, how it is possible to be a moral relativist and at the same time meaningfully rate your own moral standards against other equally relative standards.

John W. Loftus said...

Rasmus: Is this REALLY more than an empty tautology?

Try, really try, to understand me here, okay?

No, morality evolves. There is a progression to morality that goes hand in hand with our evolution generally. That’s my claim anyway. So by saying our morality is better it’s better for who we have evolved to be.

For your statement to be meaningful, it at least needs to be falsifiable.

Evolution is falsifiable, but that’s the subject of a whole other debate, isn’t it?

But _every_ standard would judge itself "the best", in that it most closely fulfills its _own_ demands.

True, so? How does that apply to our moral standards today? You're not trying here. A cultural does not say what is right or wrong. Individuals do. The collective consensus defines the culture, but individuals within any culture can change the cultural consensus. I take it you really have not thought much about cultural relativism and are merely spitting out simplistic apologetical phrases as if they mean something here. They don't. You must first understand that which you intend to argue against. The best critiques of something come from people who understand the opposing arguments better than those who make them.

Please explain, if you can, how it is possible to be a moral relativist and at the same time meaningfully rate your own moral standards against other equally relative standards.

Morals evolve with us. Therefore, given who we are today the moral standards of the past are wrong for us. Ours are better for us. You could say the same about the moral standards of the past too, that ours are wrong for them. But simply because you object to this doesn't mean much, since you're doing so based upon our moral standards. It’s just that we don’t understand anything much about who they were along this evolutionary moral pathway.

Cheers.

Rasmus Møller said...

John W. Loftus said...

Try, really try, to understand me here, okay?

Rasmus

I conclude that you do NOT think that the phrase "our modern standards are better for us" is an empty tautology.

John W. Loftus said...

No, morality evolves. There is a progression to morality that goes hand in hand with our evolution generally. That’s my claim anyway. So by saying our morality is better it’s better for who we have evolved to be.

Rasmus

I have a frustrating feeling that you are repeating the exact claim, of which I am trying to show you the incoherence. Your claim is refuted by the CSL quote above : "There is no sense in talking of 'becoming better' if better means simply 'what we are becoming' - it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as 'the place you have reached'"

John W. Loftus said...

Evolution is falsifiable, but that’s the subject of a whole other debate, isn’t it?

Rasmus

Indeed the falsifiability of evolution is another debate than this one.
I was referring to the falsifiability of the statement "our modern standards are better for us".

But _every_ standard would judge itself "the best", in that it most closely fulfills its _own_ demands.

John W. Loftus said...

True, so? How does that apply to our moral standards today? You're not trying here. A cultural does not say what is right or wrong. Individuals do. The collective consensus defines the culture, but individuals within any culture can change the cultural consensus. I take it you really have not thought much about cultural relativism and are merely spitting out simplistic apologetical phrases as if they mean something here. They don't. You must first understand that which you intend to argue against. The best critiques of something come from people who understand the opposing arguments better than those who make them.

Rasmus

"it" applies to our moral standards today such that the adjective "better" does not add any information, because "better" needs two objects to compare AND a common standard according to which the two objects can be compared. You explicitly state that all standards are local, so there is no common standard.


Please explain, if you can, how it is possible to be a moral relativist and at the same time meaningfully rate your own moral standards against other equally relative standards.

John W. Loftus said...

Morals evolve with us. Therefore, given who we are today the moral standards of the past are wrong for us. Ours are better for us. You could say the same about the moral standards of the past too, that ours are wrong for them. But simply because you object to this doesn't mean much, since you're doing so based upon our moral standards. It’s just that we don’t understand anything much about who they were along this evolutionary moral pathway.

Rasmus

As I have no new information, I'll bow out now. Thanks for taking the time and effort to respond.

J said...

secularists and non-believers should not only oppose Doc Reppert's analogy regarding cultural relativism and rape (for one, there is no such society--even under sharia, rape is considered a crime), but object to the implied assumption that only the Objective Justice-- putative O.J.-- of monotheism , Christianity in particular, provides a remedy to Cul. Rel. Obviously history shows the assumption that theism upholds or promotes objective Justice to be false: monotheists certainly commit rape, sex abuse, murder on a grand scale (e.g crusades, catholic nazis, Cromwell/puritans, jihadists, etc). Yes, the hands of secularists, and marxists are not free of blood either, but the suggestion that Theism provides a solution to the problem of cul.rel has no basis in fact, history, or human psychology.

Rasmus Møller said...

J: secularists and non-believers should not only oppose Doc Reppert's analogy regarding cultural relativism and rape (for one, there is no such society--even under sharia, rape is considered a crime),

Rasmus: Sadly wrong, see Slavery 2009

Cultural relativism relates also to past societies, where slavery and rape were widespread and accepted.

J: but object to the implied assumption that only the Objective Justice-- putative O.J.-- of monotheism , Christianity in particular, provides a remedy to Cul. Rel. Obviously history shows the assumption that theism upholds or promotes objective Justice to be false: monotheists certainly commit rape, sex abuse, murder on a grand scale (e.g crusades, catholic nazis, Cromwell/puritans, jihadists, etc). Yes, the hands of secularists, and marxists are not free of blood either, but the suggestion that Theism provides a solution to the problem of cul.rel has no basis in fact, history, or human psychology.

Rasmus: You are of course aware, that Christianity teaches that Justice is left to God alone, whereas all christian believers are sinners, who do evil things and do not live up to Gods' law in small and grand scale. Thus you cannot claim that evil deeds of christians are inconsistent with christian teachings.

The remedy/solution that Christianity proposes is to receive Gods' forgiveness, repent and have faith in God's solution despite evil. As a solution, it has a very well-documented basis in fact, history and human psychology. But you are free to reject it.

J said...

That wasn't the point. The point concerned the efficacy of the supposed objective morality of Christianity (which is a point of faith--not provable, either via axiom, or empirically). Obviously history shows that Christianity is not too efficacious in terms of preventing Eeevil, even on a grand scale (ie, catholic bishops blessing nazis, so forth). One might oppose cultural relativism in principle (though I doubt many people use CulRel. as an excuse to rape, murder, etc), but the implicit claim that Christianity results in "less evil" than CulRel or other belief systems is not really defensible. It sounds sort of colonial, really. Christianity arrived in the new world with a sword (catholics and protestants taking over the natives' lands, putting up missions, etc.)


For that matter, virtue, doing the right thing, "goodness"--begging the question for a second regarding the lack of arguments for objective morality--are not dependent on one having faith (as even the old protestants said). What is that called-- dispensationalism?? Be a Hermann Goering during the week, but show up on Domingo-day, cough up some shekels on the plate, and everything's cool. That describes most of the biblethumpers in my neighborhood (and for that matter, koran and torah thumpers). They're not overly concerned with the Sermon on the Mount--more like the Sermon on the Couch.

Rasmus Møller said...

J : That wasn't the point. The point concerned the efficacy of the supposed objective morality of Christianity(which is a point of faith--not provable, either via axiom, or empirically). Obviously history shows that Christianity is not too efficacious in terms of preventing Eeevil <...>

Rasmus : You misunderstand the purpose of the morality of Christianity. The primary purpose of the law/morality is NOT to make us better persons/prevent evil, but to convince us of our sin, so we turn to Jesus.

It is not logical to blame it for failing to accomplish something it was not intended for.

Steven said...

(He never said which campus fraternity he was referring to)

You nailed it with this one, Dr Reppert...

Victor Reppert said...

Steven: You're telling me campus frats haven't changed since my day? Imagine that!

Steven said...

Well, we are talking about ASU here...

When I overhear some of the conversations of fratboys and fratgirls, I can hardly believe some of the depravity they partake in.