The only absolute truth is change, and death is the only way to stop change. Life is a series of judgments on changing situations, and no ideal, no belief fits every solution. Yet humans need to believe in something beyond themselves. Perhaps all intelligences do. If we do not act on higher motivations, then we can justify any action, no matter how horrible, as necessary for our survival. We are endlessly caught between the need for high moral absolutes-which will fail enough that any absolute can be demonstrated as false-and our tendency for individual judgments to degenerate into self-gratifying and unethical narcissism. Trying to force absolutes on others results in death and destruction, yet failing to act beyond one's self also leads to death and destruction, generally a lot sooner.
L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Near beliefs are to blame for a new brand of Christianity that is epidemic in our homes and churches-a faith that has little flavor, little light and little influence. When near beliefs are our only source of motivation, tough stands are never taken, feathers are never ruffled, and absolutes are held very loosely.
If you're going to figure something out, study ethics. You can ask What's the answer? What's Right and Wrong? What I learned is that nobody knows the answer and there is no Right and Wrong. So I'm incapable of becoming a fundamentalist because there are no absolutes, there's always a what if.
The shadowy side of real life is ignored, and Western Christianity provides us with nothing which can be used to interpret it. Thus the young men of the West are unable to deal with the mixture of light and shadow of which life really consists; they have no way of linking the facts of existence to their preconceived notions of absolutes.
A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.
Following Korzybski , I put things in probabilities, not absolutes ... My only originality lies in applying this zetetic attitude outside the hardest of the hard sciences, physics , to softer sciences and then to non-sciences like politics , ideology , jury verdicts and, of course, conspiracy theory .
Robert Anton Wilson
Free-thinking' atheists is an oxymoron. They chide Christians for being narrow-minded. No one is more narrow and closed-minded than someone who claims absolutes based on what they 'know' as if there is nothing more to learn. I applaud agnostics who have the intellect, humility and openness to say, 'I don't know!' or 'I can't know!' At least they admit there may be more to know!
There's no such thing as winning or losing. There is won and there is lost, there is victory and defeat. There are absolutes. Everything in between is still left to fight for. Serpine will have won only when there is no one left to stand against him. Until then, there is only the struggle, because tides do what tides do""they turn.
If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritarian governments grow from within or come from outside, eventually we or our children will be the enemy of society and the state. No truly authoritarian government can tolerate those who have real absolute by which to judge its arbitrary absolutes and who speak out and act upon that absolute.
Francis A. Schaeffer
The problem is that it has become politically awkward to draw attention to absolutes of bad and good. In place of manners, we now have doctrines of political correctness, against which one offends at one's peril: by means of a considerable circular logic, such offences mark you as reactionary and therefore a bad person. Therefore if you say people are bad, you are bad.
The arrogant elimination of the Djaouts of our world must nerve us to pursue our own combative doctrine, namely: that peaceful cohabitation on this planet demands that while the upholders of any creed are free to adopt their own existential absolutes, the right of others to do the same is thereby rendered implicit and sacrosanct. Thus the creed of inquiry, of knowledge and exchange of ideas, must be upheld as an absolute, as ancient and eternal as any other.
The laughter in response to my question unmasked the double standard our deconstructionists espouse. And that is precisely the double standard of atheism! It is possible to dress up and romanticize our bizarre experiments in social restructuring while disavowing truth or absolutes. But one dares not play such deadly games with the foundations of good thinking.
The American elite is almost beyond redemption. . . . Moral relativism has set in so deeply that the gilded classes have become incapable of discerning right from wrong. Everything can be explained away, especially by journalists. Life is one great moral mush--sophistry washed down with Chardonnay. The ordinary citizens, thank goodness, still adhere to absolutes.... It is they who have saved the republic from creeping degradation while their 'betters' were derelict.
I would rather have strong enemies than a world of passive individualists. In a world of passive individualists nothing seems worth anything simply because nobody stands for anything. That world has no convictions, no victories, no unions, no heroism, no absolutes, no heartbeat. That world has rigor mortis.
God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord's commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging.
L. Tom Perry
On the philosophical level, both Buddhism and modern science share a deep suspicion of any notion of absolutes, whether conceptualize as a transcendent being, as an eternal, unchanging principle such as soul, or as a fundamental substratum of reality. ... In the Buddhist investigation of reality, at least in principle, empirical evidence should triumph over scriptural authority, no matter how deeply venerated a scripture may be.
Strangman shrugged theatrically. "It might, " he repeated with great emphasis. "Let's admit that. It makes it more interesting-particularly for Kerans. 'Did I or did I not try to kill myself?' One of the few existential absolutes, far more significant than 'To be or not to be?', which merely underlines the uncertainty of the suicide, rather than the eternal ambivalence of his victim." He smiled down patronisingly at Kerans as the latter sat quietly in his chair, sipping at the drink Beatrice had brought him. "Kerans, I envy you the task of finding out-if you can.
The moral absolutes rest upon God's character. The moral commands He has given to men are an expression of His character. Men as created in His image are to live by choice on the basis of what God is. The standards of morality are determined by what conforms to His character, while those things which do not conform are immoral.
But no one can blink at the fact that in this land, and in other lands across the world, there is an epidemic affecting the lives of millions of youth. It is a sickness that comes of a loss of values, of an abandonment of moral absolutes. The virus which has infected them comes of leaderless families, leaderless schools, leaderless communities. It comes of an attitude that says, "We will not teach moral values. We will leave the determination of such to the individual."
Gordon B. Hinckley
Americans have become conditioned to believe the world is a gray place without absolutes; this is because we're simultaneously cowardly and arrogant. We don't know the answers, so we assume they must not exist. But they do exist. They are unclear and/or unfathomable, but they're out there. And""perhaps surprisingly""the only way to find those answers is to study NBA playoff games that happened twenty years ago. For all practical purposes, the voice of Brent Musburger was the pen of Ayn Rand.
I think the industry tends to like to think in the narrow sort of mindset of a businessman, and businessman absolutes, and movies really exist in a much grayer region of dreams and stuff like that, and instinct is prized in movies, it's not prized with the businessmen in movies, but movies themselves often reward instinct rather than pie charts.
...any belief in supernatural creators, rulers, or influencers of natural or human process introduces an irreparable split into the universe, and prevents us from grasping its real unity. Any belief in Absolutes, whether the absolute validity of moral commandments, of authority of revelation, of inner certitudes, or of divine inspiration, erects a formidable barrier against progress and the responsibility of improvement, moral, rational, and religious.
My first fundamental premise of our faith is that God is real and so are eternal truths and values not provable by current scientific methods. These ideas are inevitably linked. Like other believers, we proclaim the existence of the ultimate lawgiver, God our Eternal Father, and the existence of moral absolutes. We reject the moral relativism that is becoming the unofficial creed of much of modern culture.
Dallin H. Oaks
Mastema prefers absolutes. He wants fences on the world and everything in its place, neat and tidy as a churchyard garden. God is not like that. God is boundless. For all his wisdom, Mastema cannot comprehend Yahweh's need for surprises. An omniscient Being would naturally yearn for things beyond His control, futures He could not see, wills He could influence but not command. Strange, yes. It is odd when the puppeteer desires his wooden slaves to cut their strings, yet that is exactly what He did when he granted humans free will.
A belief in moral absolutes should always make us more, not less, critical of both sides in any conflict. This doesn't mean that both sides are equally wrong; it means that since we all fall short of moral perfection, even the side whose cause is truly righteous may commit terrible acts of violence in defense of that cause -- and, worse, may feel quite justified in committing them. That is the difference between being righteous and being self-righteous. Moral standards are absolute; but human fidelity to them is always relative.
We live in a world where it has become politically correct to avoid absolutes. Many want all religions to be given the same honor, and all gods regarded as equally true and equally fictitious. But take these same people, who want fuzzy, all-inclusive thinking in spiritual matters, and put them on an airplane. You will find they insist on a very dogmatic, intolerant pilot who will stay on the straight and narrow glidepath so their life will not come to a violent end short of the runway. They want no fuzzy thinking here!
Jack T. Chick
On the philosophical level, both Buddhism and modern science share a deep suspicion of any notion of absolutes, whether conceptualize as a transcendent being, as an eternal, unchanging principle such as soul, or as a fundamental substratum of reality... In the Buddhist investigation of reality, at least in principle, empirical evidence should triumph over scriptural authority, no matter how deeply venerated a scripture may be. ~ 14th Dalai Lama in his talk to the Society for Neuroscience in 2005 in Washington.
Dalai Lama XIV
Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.
I began dividing life in absolutes... Things and people were either perfectly bad, or perfectly good, and when life didn't obey this black-and-white rule, when things or people were complex or contradictory, I pretended otherwise. I turned every defeat into a disaster, every success into an epic triumph, and separated all people into heroes or villains. Unable to bear ambiguity, I built a barricade of delusions against it.
J. R. Moehringer
Art arises in those strange complexities of action that are called human beings. It is a kind of human behavior. As such it is not magic, except as human beings are magical. Nor is it concerned in absolutes, eternities, "forms," beyond those that may reside in the context of the human being and be subject to his vicissitudes. Art is not an inner state of consciousness, whatever that may mean. Neither is it essentially a supreme form of communication. Art is human behavior, and its values are contained in human behavior.
Meaning can only be understood in relation to its environment. Therefore, the words only make full sense in context... There are no absolutes, there is no meaning without relationships, everything is not only interacting but interdependent. The kahunas use this idea to help give a person a powerfully secure sense of significance, while at the same time teaching him that to heal himself is to heal the world, and to heal the world is to heal himself. This is not a loss of individuality, but an understanding that individuality itself is a relationship with the environment.
Dear Gods of Heaven and Earth. The universe has began, without a beginning. Even if it's divided into Heaven, Earth, and Man, the essence is the same. Although Heaven, Earth, and Man are different in form, they have the same nature. Although Heaven is full of spirits, because there is no box to contain it, fom heaven came Man. When the three absolutes move in harmony, energy is created, covering all the material and the spirit for the Man. All the use of all creation may change, the basic mind is originally the bright light. Shine on Man with respect for it, Man is the best of the universe.
[W]e conceive the Devil as a necessary part of a respectable view of cosmology. Ours is a divided empire in which certain ideas and emotions and actions are of God, and their opposites are of Lucifer. It is as impossible for most men to conceive of a morality without sin as of an earth without 'sky'. Since 1692 a great but superficial change has wiped out God's beard and the Devil's horns, but the world is still gripped between two diametrically opposed absolutes. The concept of unity, in which positive and negative are attributes of the same force, in which good and evil are relative, ever-changing, and always joined to the same phenomenon - such a concept is still reserved to the physical sciences and to the few who have grasped the history of ideas.
Faustus, who embraced evil and shunned righteousness, became the foremost symbol of the misuse of free will, that sublime gift from God with its inherent opportunity to choose virtue and reject iniquity. 'What shall a man gain if he has the whole world and lose his soul, ' (Matt. 16: v. 26) - but for a notorious name, the ethereal shadow of a career, and a brief life of fleeting pleasure with no true peace? This was the blackest and most captivating tragedy of all, few could have remained indifferent to the growing intrigue of this individual who apparently shook hands with the devil and freely chose to descend to the molten, sulphuric chasm of Hell for all eternity for so little in exchange. It is a drama that continues to fascinate today as powerfully as when Faustus first disseminated his infamous card in the Heidelberg locale to the scandal of his generation. In fine, a life of good or evil, the hope of Heaven or the despair of Hell, Faustus stands as a reminder that the choice between these two absolutes also falls to us.
Their quarry had been cornered in his defenses and their bloodlust was such that they were likely to pay top Julep to watch him escape, so that he might be brutalized and killed before their very eyes, as this was much more gratifying to them than simply watching justice be enacted. They, too, understood that societal constructs for justice were moderate gratification, at best, as they were empty and subject to contradictions and compromises steeped in moral relativism and an unconditional dependence upon overblown semantics that made the law a mockery of itself. As for the ideologies that these hollow systems of jurisprudence sought to define and uphold: these could easily be subjugated through a meticulous analysis of the trivial components of one statute or another. The rule of law had failed them. What the people wanted, in its stead, was rather simple: moral absolutes. Good versus evil. And evil was not to be simply prevailed over. Evil was to be dominated and effectively eliminated, because as long as it was able to while away the time somewhere-in some sweaty prison cell, far away, staring out the barred window with a wry smile, as it plotted its next offensive on the Common Good, a sense of wholeness could not be achieved.
The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world. Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter's stomach, is an absolute. There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.
In the past, my brain could only compute perfection or failure-nothing in between. So words like competent, acceptable, satisfactory, and good enough fell into the failure category. Even above average meant failure if I received an 88 out of 100 percent on an exam, I felt that I failed. The fact is most things in life are not absolutes and have components of both good and bad. I used to think in absolute terms a lot: all, every, or never. I would all of the food (that is, binge), and then I would restrict every meal and to never eat again. This type of thinking extended outside of the food arena as well: I had to get all of the answers right on a test; I had to be in every extracurricular activity [... ] The 'if it's not perfect, I quit' approach to life is a treacherous way to live. [... ] I hadn't established a baseline of competence: What gets the job done? What is good enough? Finding good enough takes trial and error. For those of us who are perfectionists, the error part of trial and error can stop us dead in our tracks. We would rather keep chasing perfection than risk possibly making a mistake. I was able to change my behavior only when the pain of perfectionism became greater than the pain of making an error. [... ] Today good enough means that I'm okay just the way I am. I play my position in the world. I catch the ball when it is thrown my way. I don't always have to make the crowd go wild or get a standing ovation. It's good enough to just catch the ball or even to do my best to catch it. Good enough means that I finally enjoy playing the game.