Tag Archives: moral relativism

A Glossary of Terms

There are certain philosophies or ways of thinking that have negative connotations attached to them. As I use many of these words in my blogging vernacular regularly, I want to explain how I define them.

Moral Relativism

This idea has received quite a bit of negative press from religious institutions.  I believe much of this comes from fear and misunderstanding.  Moral relativism, at its foundation, opposes the idea that one society, culture, or religious group has the monopoly on moral values.  To me, I see this as an explanation for why so much good is witnessed in the world–people are born with a conscious and it is up to parents and/or other caregivers to nurture this.  If a child is born in less-than-ideal circumstances, it is up to us–the community–to teach them “right” vs “wrong” within the context of love.  I really do have an optimistic view on humanity.

Atheist/Agnostic/Deist

It would be easy to categorize all of our beliefs within one group; however, most of us realize this is impossible.  I have a very complicated personality that refuses to fit in one box.  Hence my religious/spiritual beliefs are varied and open to change.  At the moment, I do not believe in a God (atheism).  However, the idea of God doesn’t bother me; if I die and find out He does exist I would be pleasantly surprised (agnosticism).  If He does exist, I do not feel He plays a direct role in our lives (deist), nor do I think He actually answers prayers–the world is far too complicated for this idea to make sense to me (i.e. if He really answers prayers, why would He bless a family with 10 children only to take the mother or father away a few years later? OR why close the wombs of women who would be fabulous mothers? OR if gender is essential, why would He make people gay/lesbian?).

Additionally, I cannot fit the divine feminine within the current Judeo-Christian dogma.  I know many people feel God encompasses both male and female qualities but my mind just cannot wrap around this concept–or the idea of trinity.  It would seem Divinity would be much more simpler if we were intended to worship Him/Her/Them.

Intellectualism

Many so-called intellectuals use this self-proclaimed title to put down those who do believe in some sort of religion.  I find this practice to be irrelevant and hurtful–just as hurtful as those who think (or insinuate) I haven’t prayed hard enough or read the scriptures with the right spirit to explain why my testimony is gone.

Religion, in my opinion, is not a following of “blind sheep.”  It is a community center, if you will, that brings people of similar spiritual paths together.  Some churches work for one group, while another church will work for an entirely opposite group.  But to say religion is full of ignorant people is to spew hateful remarks that are unnecessary and completely wrong.

When I label myself an intellectual, it is to be taken like any character attribute or flaw.  I think like an intellectual–my mind is constantly sifting through new information, seeking to correct or expand the current ideas I have–and it is part of my personality.  I wouldn’t change this aspect of myself just like I wouldn’t ask a believer to dispel of their faith.  However, when religious people brand my intelligence as “worldly” or some other derogatory term, I think it comes from knee-jerk defensiveness.  Believe me, when I talk about issues with scriptures, God, or religion, it is my way of thinking aloud; of bridging what I have learned in the past with what I am learning now–knowledge begets knowledge and I am allowing myself to go through a natural evolution of my personal philosophies.

There you have it.  A glossary of the terms I regularly use.  I am sure I will add to this as time goes by.

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In other news, this weeks Parents Supporting Parents theme is chores.  Do your kids do chores? If so, how and why?  Any funny stories about kids “cleaning” and “helping” that you want to share?  Link up!  It will be fun.  I promise.

(I even have a new button.  If you need the code, e-mail me. I’m having problems with getting the handy html code beneath it.)

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Filed under Religion

Closing Shop and Other Housekeeping Items

After I went public with my disaffection/break/discontent (whatever you want to call it) from the Mormon church–the church of my upbringing–I have had conflicting feelings.  On the one hand, I want to talk about my experiences because it shaped me as a child and continues shaping me as I grow older.  (My entire mindset is Mormon–I see things from a Mormon worldview; I view religion-related things from a Mormon perspective; and many of my friends are/were Mormon.)  On the other hand, I do not want to isolate those who continue to believe in the tenets of Mormonism and, in my mind, religion in all its forms.  It isn’t that I am trying to convince people to join me in my agnosticism/atheism, it’s that I am working through my past beliefs in order to integrate them into the person I am now and the person I am becoming.

I don’t feel I am being anti-Mormon, but understand the Mormon mindset which makes certain topics uncomfortable.   But, to be frank, it isn’t just Mormonism that I have issues with.  It is God, Jesus Christ, the scriptures, and the history of all Judeo-Christian religions.  I am open to exploring different religions and am also open to opinions that are different from my own. Heck, if you have an experience that is or was similar to mine, and you stayed faithful to whatever religion you currently are, tell me about it!

However, you are formally warned that I will be sharing my religious experiences and why I feel the way I do now.  It will be thoughtful and may also be hard to read.  So if you are uncomfortable with that and wish to say something that is not conducive to respectful conversation, do so at your own risk.  That is to say, I will not respond to hurtful comments.  In fact, I will delete your words forever.  At the same time, I have a forgiving heart.  Just be respectful to me and my views (and, by all means, disagree with me!) and I will be respectful to you.

All this is a lengthy explanation for my new Facebook rules.  I will be trimming down my current friends to those who are close friends and/or relatives.  I will not be talking about my religious angst, my political opinions, or anything that might be controversial on that account.  Instead, I have opened a new account that is dedicated to all the above plus a few other things that I will discuss a little later in this post.  You are welcome to friend me.  I am not picky and will accept everyone, who is not crazy and/or a friend whore, who asks.  I might seek you out because I am interested in what you have to say.  Again, you can find that new account here.   If you are not into that sort of thing, you are also welcome to “like” my blog.  It won’t be nearly as fun as my new account, but will apprise you of new blog posts.

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My second piece of business is more momma-related.  Y’all know that I struggle with intense mental illness, right?  (If you don’t, where have you been?) (Kidding.)  As I am figuring out how to handle it (yes, my medication does not make it all better, I must do other things to keep me level), I realize that most of my current stress comes from being a mom.  To two toddlers.  To help me see the bright side of some crazy days, I will be posting quotes and/or experiences from the day to my new Facebook account‘s wall.  So if you are annoyed by that kind of thing, be warned.  It is something I realize helps me see things in a less hazy way.  I love my kids.  Oh I love them.  But mental illness often clouds my perspective and I need a metaphorical Windex-like product to wipe my windows clean.  And this is the idea that came to me.  So I’m going to try it.

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Numero three.  I am revamping my weekly supporting parents write-up.  Look for more details soon.

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And finally, I am taking a short break to recuperate and tackle this enormous to-do list I have.  I will most likely continue reading your blogs but need some time to gather my own thoughts before returning to writing. This whole exploration of my new feminist/religious/philosophical self is exhausting.  Literally, I pass out every day quickly because my mind is teeming with information, comments, ideas, etc.  Also, my to-do list is full of things with actual deadlines.  Deadlines that are coming up real fast.  Yikes.  So I must dedicate more time to completing these tasks (which include some exciting new adventures, I’ll keep you posted) before the end of the month.  I will continue with the Supporting Parents posts because I really do believe in my original idea and because it helps me look over my parenting with an objective magnifying glass.

If you are still reading this long post, kudos to you.

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Filed under Random Thoughts

Where Are Your Morals?

The biggest question I have had posed since leaving (or taking a break from) the Mormon church is where my values will come from.  I find this query to be the most offensive.  To infer that values only derive from the Mormon religion is to a) accept a very negative view of humanity (à la Thomas Hobbes) and agree that all men are inherently evil; and b) suggest that only Mormons have a strong-hold on acceptable values.  

I do not accept either proposition.  While I think religion has a role in society–it has done much good over the centuries–I also believe we fail to recognize the corrupting influence of religion.  Recall the many wars (i.e. crusades, 100-year war) fought over religious differences and the horrible acts (i.e. witch burning, slavery) done in the name of religion.  To exclude Mormonism from this history is to ignore controversial subjects like blacks and the priesthood, the mountain meadows massacre, and gender inequality.

Ironically enough, at least in how I viewed morals before, I have become more compassionate and less judgmental as I shed the confining coat of religion.  I have become a moral relativist (despite Elder Oak’s harsh criticism of this philosophy) as I research and consider others in situations significantly different from mine.  Consider the woman in China.  Given the harsh laws aiding the one child law (applied to about 35% of the population), can a person logically condemn her choice of abortion?  It is what she’s been taught her entire life.  She does not have the same regard for human life as a person living in the United States.  Her government does not allow that.  But does that mean she is someone who has no values?  Most likely she is not religious (as religion is also strongly punished) yet I have a hard time believing she doesn’t want her child to learn basic global values: honesty, selflessness, and working hard to make a living.

Not going to church doesn’t mean I will engage in acts of debauchery.  It also doesn’t immediately dispel my reverence toward chastity, modesty, and the word of wisdom–though I practice/view them in a markedly different manner that is not misogynistic nor misinformed.

As I consider how I will raise Emily and Andrew, my first goal is to teach them to prize love.  They will learn the value–through shared experiences and via my example–of serving the less fortunate and giving any excess they have, monetarily, to people who really need it.  Our emphasis will not revolve around money.  Instead, I will teach them to give of themselves–their talents and their resources–rather than hoard or seek after riches.

So where are my morals?  Inside.  I would like to believe that I am fundamentally a good person and that I passed this gene to my children.  (Lame science joke.  I am such a nerd.)  I would also like to believe that all of you are inherently good.  You (and I) might forget and/or push aside thoughts of humanity during times of crisis, but when reminded will do anything we can realistically do to help the unfortunate.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I do respect religion and people’s views toward spirituality, but my history of hurt as led me on a quest to define my spirituality.  I still take the kids to church (just not a Mormon ward at the moment) and appreciate Jesus Christ’s message in the New Testament.  Don’t disregard my questions and I won’t disregard your beliefs.  Deal?

**On an unrelated note, don’t forget to write about your own parenting beliefs/experiences/philosophy tomorrow (whether in the comments, on Facebook, or in your own post) regarding sleep.  The more people participate, the better the experience is.  Perhaps we can turn the tide against harsh criticism and remind others that parenting is hard work.  Let’s give people leeway for their parenting decisions.

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Filed under Religion