In the context of religion versus atheism. Dear Reader Jason has expressed a need for moral absolutes that is quite common among conservatives. Wrote he,
“The bane of atheistic thought based on naturalism is that it cannot account for objective moral absolutes. All that is left is societal ideals and individual preference.”
“There are two tribes, A and B. Tribe A is composed of hunters and warriors; however, within the community itself they are loving and caring to one another. Tribe is B is composed of farmers and gatherers; they are peaceful and loving to one another. Tribe A decides that Tribe B has some things it wants, so it attacks. Tribe B is decimated; men killed, women raped, children either killed or brought in as slaves.
Is Tribe A wrong? If they have no remorse, or no feelings of guilt toward the brutality, perhaps it’s because they didn’t know them and were more concerned about their own needs. What do you do with these types of situations?”
My view is that morals are collectively negotiated and enforced constructs. It works fine since mentally healthy people are basically decent by nature and have a strong innate capacity for empathy and solidarity.
Jason rightly points out above that with my approach to morals, it is impossible to judge tribe A’s behaviour as essentially evil by any independent universal standard. But I don’t see the need for such a universal moral standard. I don’t claim the right to judge tribes A and B from any other perspective than that negotiated in my own tribe.
As for his question, “What do you do with these types of situations?”, it’s a separate issue. My reply is “If I have enough resources, I send peace-keeping troops and educators to teach tribe A my own tribe’s opinion that we are all brothers”.