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"Absolutism can never be acceptable in a modern society" Discuss.

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Introduction

"Absolutism can never be acceptable in a modern society" Discuss. Absolutism holds the view that there are certain kinds of actions that are always wrong, or are always obligatory. This does not depend upon the context in which the action is carried out. For example, it might be said that 'you shall not kill' is a moral absolute. Telling the truth is always right, and lying is always wrong. An absolutist society provides a fixed ethical code with which to measure actions. Therefore an ethical absolutist can condemn Nazi Germany, or cultures that endorse morally wrong actions which are deemed to be socially approved. Absolutism gives people clear guidelines of behaviour that reinforce a global view of the human community. Absolutism also has its weaknesses; its structural principles do not allow it to take into account the circumstances of a situation. For example, Absolutist views condemn stealing even if the circumstances reveal that the thief if a starving child who needs money to buy food. Another example is if an absolutist with strong beliefs about animal treatment, may find Islamic practice of animal sacrifice immoral, and fail to recognise the religious significance and the importance of the activity to that community. Therefore absolutism can seem intolerant to circumstantial moral wrongs and cultural diversity. Since the Holy Bible was written, a set of absolutist morals have been established and conformed to most traditional religions. ...read more.

Middle

He told the woman who was to be stoned to not sin again. Instead his message is to establish a steady balance of absolutism and relativism working alongside each other. We need laws to abide by, otherwise there would be social disintegration and anarchy, but we also need forgiveness and compassion in our society. In a modern society absolutes form a framework against which relative principles can be applied. It could be argued that both principles need to balance/ work alongside each other. When relativism becomes out of balance to absolutism by a greater proportion, there is an erosion of ideals and common principles. This can become divisive in a society. It could be argued that Britain's multi - cultural, multi - faith society is falling victim to this. If we do actually look at our own modern society today, we can see it is quite relativist because there is an acceptance of the diversity of people's views; however, it would seem that some absolutist ideas are being forced upon us. With the government binging in new laws surrounding the issue of political correctness, we are finding ourselves unable to criticise. For example, the Roman Catholic Church has always believed that homosexuality is wrong. Catholic adoption agencies could be closed, because they are deemed to be discriminating against homosexual couples who are looking to adopting a child. In order for Catholic adoption agencies to survive they could be forced to go against their religious absolute views. ...read more.

Conclusion

Plato's view also suggests that man has no free will, if this is so, questions could be raised to ask, what is the point in our creation if we are 'puppets'. Surely we have to make our own decisions to learn how to know goodness. Another absolutist which I looked at was Thomas Aquinas, who believed that God created a world with a purpose in mind. Therefore everything had a final cause, which was down to whether their final good was followed through or not. This view suggests that there is a set of moral absolutes, which everyone is aware of unconsciously or consciously, that we have to follow. Yet we have free will, according to the Christian absolute beliefs, which means we are able to make decisions. If Aquinas' theory were true, then surely there would be no beliefs that contradicted or went against absolutism or his absolute theory. To conclude, I think that it is apparent that modern society holds both absolute and relative ideas. Throughout history it is seen that the pendulum swings to a lesser or greater degree towards one or the other. Personally I think society recognises this and tries to find a balance between the two, in order to counteract the destructive element associated with either ideal taken to the extreme. Therefore, for this reason I believe that absolutism can never be acceptable in a modern society on its own. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sarah Keogh ...read more.

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