In rereading what I’ve written, it seems that I need to give a disclaimer at the beginning. I think it’s wrong to kill people or steal or commit any other heinous criminal acts. I am simply asking questions that no one seems to consider, probably because they are difficult questions and most people don’t see much value in them. The problem is, I think they are very valuable questions to ask because they will ultimately help us understand what we believe, but more importantly why we believe those things.

“Is there a such thing as absolute right and absolute wrong?”

This seems to be the most important question we should be considering.

This simple question seems to not be considered near as often as it should. It seems we are all simply not thinking on the level as to consider such a question or we are simply afraid of the implications of the answers so we avoid asking it. Alternatively, we could all be so self absorbed with our own pursuits that the question never even occurs to us (I think this is really the bucket most people fall into, which is OK with me).  It is also likely that we don’t find many people willing or prepared to discuss such a question so we just sit on it and smolder internally. That’s what I’ve been doing, until now.

From my own internal debate I’ve concluded there can be only 2 answers to this question. Yes or No. What results from those answers?

No – If there is no such thing as an absolute right or wrong that leads to “Might makes right.” If you are able to do something who’s to stop you? On what authority? This would lead you to assume that both ISIS and Kim Jong Un are acting completely within their own framework of morality and that is fine. Of course, since under this assumption each person is entitled to their own morality, you could certainly choose to oppose them and if you can convince enough other people they are wrong then that makes you de facto right but it’s still an arbitrary right as it’s only right since you are the mightier group.

Yes – If there is a such thing as absolute right and wrong that would lead me to believe that there is some ultimate authority in the universe. This most people would call God. To avoid any assumptions that come with the word “God” I’ll use “ultimate authority” for this post. Determining if there is right and wrong doesn’t necessarily tell you (or me) what is right and wrong, just that there is some right and wrong. Of course determining what is right and wrong is the next logical step after determining that it exists.

How does one go about determining that there is or is not absolute right and wrong? I have no idea. Most people will default to the Bible telling them what is right or wrong. That is fine, but we can see that that has yielded thousands of groups with dissenting opinions. Same with other religions, Islam, Mormons, Hindus etc.

This is generally where atheists feel they shine. They point out that each person seems to make up their own personal morality anyway but then attributes it to their chosen religion. I agree that it seems that is what most religious people do. At the atheists, pointing out a flaw to someone else’s conclusions is generally much easier than drawing your own conclusions.

Most philosophers, atheists and religious eventually come to some conclusion that we should “Do unto others what we want done to us.” While that sounds fine in theory my question is why? You can find this claim in the bible. You will also find similar claims from Immanuel Kant as well as atheist Stephen Molyneux (Universally Preferable Behavior, which I don’t recommend you waste your time reading, even though I have).  

Back to my question, why do they think that for something to be right, even without an ultimate authority, you should apply it to everyone? The question I always come back to is murder, as that’s usually something everyone is averse to. My scenario goes like this “If you could kill someone (who is not threatening you) for personal gain and you were able to hide any evidence of your involvement, why shouldn’t you do that?”  Now all the above people appeal to “You wouldn’t want someone to kill you would you?” I don’t really see the point of asking that question. If there is no absolute morality that question has no basis on your decision to kill someone. You could insert any number of other actions considered crimes in here, theft being an obvious case. If you could steal something with no repercussions, why not? Again, “You wouldn’t want someone to steal from you would you?” Makes no sense to ask.

I personally cannot think of a good argument against those flawed actions if there was no absolute morality. It’s a bit terrifying to think about but that is one idea that inclines me towards there being an ultimate authority (in/outside the universe).

What do you think?

Do you believe in right and wrong independent of religion? (Note that while most people will jump to the assumption that I’m trying to make a case for a Christian God I have purposely not made that claim. I am just thinking out loud (on the internet.)

On what basis do you base authority if not on some ultimate authority?

Do you agree with “might makes right”?

I want it to be clear that I am completely ok with people admitting they agree with “might makes right”. If you don’t believe in an ultimate authority outside of the world, I think that’s your only option. Is there another?

Don’t Kill Your Child! Please!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

I recently was made aware of this website by The Friendly Atheist.

The basis of the story is there is a pregnant woman. She is 26. She has scheduled an abortion for July 10th and will have the abortion, unless pro-lifers send her $1 million, which she promises to put in a trust fund to give to her child, who she’ll not abort if the $1 million is raised. The child will be given up for adoption and the money will be transferred to the child at the age of 21.

The Pro-Lifers” who have apparently decided they speak for all pro-lifers, have said they will not pay anything towards this fund, and I agree with them, in principle. Their argument being “It’s a hostage situation and we don’t negotiate with terrorism.” Terrorism in this case being using terror to coerce someone into doing something, not the general thought of Middle eastern terrorists that is prevalent in people’s heads these days. That is a fair stance.
Here are a few ways this situation could play out.

  1. The money is not raised and she has an abortion. – This would be the worst outcome as a child would be murdered.
  2. The million, by some miracle (which I do believe in miracles), is raised. The child is put up for adoption, which the female who will birth the child, has vowed to do. The money is given to the child at the age of 21, which makes very little sense, why not 18 which is the age people are considered adults, at least in America. Now this child (adult by now) will have to ask why there is a million dollars given to them. This could go 2 ways.
    1. The child could become very depressed at the thought that his/her biological mother wanted to kill them which would make the child question his/her self worth. Eventually leading to a unfulfilled life and potentially self harm or harm of others out of frustration.
    2. Alternatively the child could become so empowered by the fact that so many people (except his/her own biological mother) loved him/her enough to donate money to save his/her life that that child (now adult)  will become a super advocate against abortion.
  3. Another alternative, is that the mother could raise the child herself after thinking some more and realizing the grave mistake she is making by committing murder. I would encourage her to contact this woman or any other who regrets their own abortion. You can find plenty by just googling “I regret my abortion”. The only unfortunate part about this is that likely sometime it will come out that the mother was considering aborting the child and made a very large fuss about it. Likely the child will be pretty put off by the thought that his/her mother had considered killing him/her. I would be also. Hopefully the mother would do this very gingerly and really explain how she was led astray by public opinion into believing that the child was not really a person.

That’s the attitude that I’m personally taking towards this woman. She’s 26. I will be in August. I’ve done some dumb things in my life. She has also. But she still has the opportunity to make the right choice. Don’t murder your child.This is me pleading with you. If I was a millionaire I’d give the million easily, but I’d also try to talk to you. I’d ask you how you got to this point. I’d try to share the beauty of your child with you. But I can’t do those things, because you are an anonymous person on the internet. That’s also why I can’t just go about giving money to every person who threatens to kill someone. Will you give it back if you murders her child? I wouldn’t even want it! At that point it’d be blood money. What I can tell you is that I do support children I know are in need now as much as I can. I support children through The Job Foundation and through Children International as well as all people who need water via Charity Water. The point of mentioning these is not to show to the world what a great guy I am. It is to show you that real people do support others in need, as we can. But the value in that support is that it is loving support, given freely. Those people don’t demand I give them money. I give it to them because I love them, even though I don’t personally know them. It’s given freely, not taken or demanded. What does it prove if something is taken? Nothing.

When would you be happy? After I cashed out all my retirement accounts and sold all my vehicles? No. None of that would make you happy, because you don’t care about me, or your child, or anyone else. You are, at this moment, a selfish person. Our current society teaches us that it’s good to be selfish. This is the sad state of affairs we are in.

I do agree with you. Christians could always give more and that’s certainly something we each need to work on, but please forgive us. We are not perfect either, we are just sinners, just like you, and we really are trying.

While I disagree with your desire to murder your child, I will pray for you. I pray that you don’t murder your child. When you become more selfless, you will find that you are enjoying life more. You don’t love every moment, but living in love is more fulfilling than living for yourself.

I have also not donated to your site and I likely won’t but it has helped me recognize that I can always give more and so I have pledged to donate monthly to a local pregnancy help center, Alternatives. I only hope that you can find a similar place near you.

And please, don’t kill your child! Please talk to someone. Call me (715-820-0377) or email me ( or talk to someone more local (probably more helpful) but please just don’t kill the child. We really do care about you. But we can only help you if you ask for it, not demand it. Love can’t be demanded.


Thank you to Amy Entwistle at Flickr Creative Commons for the cover photo.