Oppressed people need to be rescued not only from the injustice, not only from the “stones” and the “volcano” but from the conditioning which those who throw the stones impose. This is not the moral absolutism of the “culturally insensitive,” it is the natural attitude and position of human moral empathy. The Absolute Relativist declares: “The problem with such things as stoning an adulterer and female “circumcision,” is not that they are evil, but that they feel evil to us…” The Relative Absolutist replies: We who are of the House of We insist that there are certain things which can never be right. State sponsored slavery was no less evil in ancient times, when even the most civilized (relatively speaking) societies practiced it, than now, regardless of what the Bible appears to support. If human beings are endowed by their Creator with the attribute of free will, if that is an intrinsic element of their nature, to deprive them of the right to exercise that attribute in a moral context places one in opposition to God, regardless of what the Bible, in which divine revelation and political opportunism in the guise of divine revelation are combined, may say. As far as we are concerned, the definition of absolute good and evil, though difficult at times to ascertain, remains the same, regardless of time or place and regardless of whether or not those who are the target of evil recognize their situation. It is human judgment, our ability to perceive or identify the absolute, and the conditions in which we find ourselves that waver. Whether it is human sacrifice, slavery or genocide, the mere fact of general acceptance cannot alter the intrinsic moral reality of a practice or behavior. In 1945 the German people, either directly or indirectly, condoned the extermination of the Jews, the Gypsies and the homosexuals. In fact, many of them considered it their moral duty to rid the world of its “degenerate” populations that they might establish an order wherein Germans, because they were better than everyone else, because they were the “superior race” would be able to rule. In Hitler’s Germany, state-sponsored mass murder was culturally acceptable and politically legitimate, yet as we all know, genocide was no less immoral then, than it is today in places like the Middle east where non-Muslims and Muslims of the “wrong” denomination are being singled out for execution. The world has already agreed through the office of the United Nations, that the perpetration of genocide is an act which requires the global community to intervene. It is only a matter of time (one would hope) before laws or practices which punish, degrade, abuse and oppress women in various ways, which punish, degrade, abuse and oppress homosexuals, which needlessly exploit and destroy the environment are added to the list of crimes deemed intolerable and meriting of global intervention. We who are of the House of We affirm that there must be a universal code, one that protects women, children, the elderly and the disabled, that protects minority groups of any kind, that protects the planet on every level no matter the flag that flies above, no matter the name used for God. That insures the fundamental dignity and well-being of even the “least” of us, of even the prisoner, of even the poor, of even the animal, the water and the air. The more spiritually advanced we are, the greater our sense of responsibility for the rest of creation, the more we should say, like the prophets of old “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the more room we should make in the House of We. The more spiritually advanced we are, the more we assert that there are universally applicable moral standards, standards which transcend all boundaries, which come, in so far as we are able to determine from a higher power. ONE HOUSE ONE MORALITY The Absolute Relativist declares: “The moral laws of a religion only apply to those who are part of that religion. So, for example, while Jews, Christians and Moslems are required to obey the Ten Commandments or face the consequences, Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans are free to ignore them.” The Relative Absolutist replies: Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans are not required to obey the 10 Commandments per se, but they are required, by their own conscience if not by the law of the land when the Commandments are reflected in it, to obey the underlying values which the 10 Commandments express. Every legitimate major religion including Hinduism, Buddhism and Paganism includes a moral code roughly equivalent or equivalent in spirit to the Law of Moses. While those who follow other religions are not required to prostrate themselves before the Torah, the Gospel or the Koran, they are required to respect the fundamental values which all great religions share and promote. No serious life-decision and no serious moral judgment is ever made with one hundred per cent certitude. Life is too complex, too ambiguous, too asymmetrical for that to be the case. And yet, even though we can’t always be sure, absolutely sure, that we are making the right moral choice, the risk, in some situations of not deciding, of not judging, of choosing to remain passive is far greater than the alternative.
Four of Six