Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Situational Morality for Everybody.

Just a quickie today, I need to vacuum my apartment.

All morality is the result of a personal judgment.  As an atheist, I know that, but its harder for people raised in religious tradition to accept.

“No, no, no!” they cry, “The source of morality is God!”

And how do you know which God?

“By his Holy book!”

And how do you know which Holy book?

“Because he lead me to it!”

And how do you know he lead you to it?

“Because He told me!”

And how did you decide this still small voice in your head was his voice and not yours?

“I made a personal judgment.  Oh.”

See, ALL morality comes from a personal judgment.  Either you personally judge each situation, or you make an appeal to some authority.  If you make an appeal to authority, you must first execute your personal judgment on whether that authority, be it God, some Holy book, a tradition, represents a good authority.

So, all morality is ultimately situational and dependent upon the person deciding it. Doesn’t bother me, but man does that bum out the religious folk.

July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. yep! it’s called CHOICE! 🙂
    this cracked me up!!!!!!!!!!!!! in a bad way! a bit face slappingly true! anyway… off to read becky…

    Comment by heathermama | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. Brilliant! 😀

    Comment by Lottie | August 1, 2008 | Reply

  3. Your cartoon does a great job of summarizing the problem with relative morality, but your end comments commit the same impossible reasoning.
    If we allow that morality is situational, then standards are purely arbitrary and changing (top of the world one day and public enemy the next).
    Your premise is somewhat faulty and presents a “false dichotomy” concerning the possible options. I wuld contend that aboslute morality can indeed exist irespective of you or I or any other human being. In this sense, morality exists even if we don’t agree. This absolute rule is what we feel deep down “ought” to be (why we feel a sense of fairness, justice or even rightness). But if we must decide, choose or make a personal judgment, these can only happen where we have an alternative and where we must measure our choice: and in this choosing absolute morality can exist.
    You may not like the consequences of admitting an absolute rule for morality, but in its absence others could be termed quite moral in electing to end your immoral life 😉

    Comment by MrWeber | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thank you for commenting, sir, but you seem to have missed the point. My point is not to state what should be, obviously everyone should be held to the same moral standard.

    My point is to discuss what IS. Watch the news and you will see moral relativism is life. People are at the top of the world one day and a public enemy the next. Using your example of “…in its absence others could be termed quite moral in electing to end your immoral life.” Um, yeah. Happens all the time. Happened to 3,000 people in the twin towers. Citizens of western democracies largely see 9/11 as evil. Citizens of totalitarian regimes see it as heroic. 20,000 children have been killed as part of collateral damage in Iraq. An unavoidable tragedy to the Alliance. Intentional murder to pseudo-Islamic agitators. Who’s right? The winners.

    Absolute morality exists independently of humanity? That’s contradiction in terms. That’s like saying the speed limit of 35 mph would exist even in the absence of a road or cars. How could it?

    And I challenge your accusation of false dichotomy. You state that for choice to exist, there must a ultimate, proper action for us to choice or not. So if I choose a Chevy over a Ford does that imply the existence of perfect car, the standard by which all other are judged? I can’t see how.

    “You may not like the consequences of admitting an absolute rule for morality.” Why is that? What makes you think I don’t like the idea of god? My proclamation that I am atheist says nothing of what evidence I wish to see, only what I evidence I see. Perhaps I have strong desire to believe in God.

    I appreciate your comment, and I hope I haven’t been to strident, but I disagree with you very strongly on this, and I think I have the facts to show why.

    Comment by truthwalker | July 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. Also, what I love about the cartoon is Calvin’s hypocrisy, in setting out a moral code where he can apply moral relativism to allow him to do whatever he wants. (Relative rules does not me no rules.)

    Comment by truthwalker | July 9, 2009 | Reply

  6. Your argument knocks down a bit of a straw man. I do believe that God is the source of morality. I do not believe that Scripture is the ultimate source of morality, although if it is from God, as I believe it is, then I certainly believe that it has something to say about morals. But the ultimate source of morals is God Himself.
    My reply when you ask, “How do you know which God?” is this: There is only one God who is creator and designer of the universe, all life, you and I. He is the source of morality. Call Him what you will (the man upstairs?), but there is only one God. He is the source of our objective moral standards.
    The reason that you (without Scripture) and I (with or without scripture) agree objectively on an objective set of moral standards (such as the value of life, or human rights) is because it is ingrained within us. We are designed with a set of morals. Those morals have been applied in various ways in various cultures. They have been abused by many. But the reason we can identify and agree when they are abused is because we know that they are in drastic contrast with the absolute standard. What right do we have to say that one should not rape another? We do not interfere in the animal kingdom in this way, are we more than animals then?

    Comment by Emmet | August 16, 2010 | Reply

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