Tag Archives: Hierarchy

Do moral dilemmas undermine objective moral absolutes?

One reason why some people reject the existence of objective morality is because moral absolutes can conflict.

Canadian philosopher Michael Horner to explains the problem.

He writes:

You may have been confronted with the story of the Nazi soldier coming to the door of the family who are hiding some Jewish people in their home and asking them point blankly, “Are there any Jews here?” The person telling the story then asks you, “What would you say?” or more precisely, “What should you say?”

[…]I think for many people the term moral absolutes connotes ideas like inflexibility and rigidity, and that there can never be exemptions. I have also found that many people believe that holding to moral absolutes means that circumstances are not relevant in a moral evaluation and that moral absolutism cannot handle moral dilemmas. But in fact it is possible to believe in moral absolutes, or as I prefer to call them objective moral values, without adhering to these connotations I have mentioned.

For many people to believe in moral absolutes is to believe in rules that no other rules can ever trump. It follows from this that moral absolutes are all equal and there can never be any exemptions. But what if moral absolutes exist in a hierarchy?

We know from experience that very often more than one moral rule applies to a situation. This often leads to moral dilemmas. So in the ‘hiding the Jews example’ the moral rule of telling the truth seems to apply to the situation, but it would seem that the moral rule to protect innocent human life from torture and murder applies also.

If absolutes are all equal there is no way out of the dilemma. You can’t choose one absolute over another because in doing so you would be violating at least one absolute which, in their view, is supposed to be inviolable.

So, in this case, it seems as if the moral absolutist is stuck in a dilemma. If you lie to save the innocent life, then that would be wrong. But if you tell the truth and hand the innocent person over to murderers, then that would be wrong. Does this really disprove objective moral absolutes?

This problem annoys me, because I know this is the kind of objection to objective morality that annoying philosophy lecturers like to push onto freshmen in order to convince them that morality is nonsense.  But does the moral dilemma objection really work?

More Horner:

[…][I]f moral absolutes exist in a hierarchy and the circumstances or the situation were relevant in determining which absolute takes precedent, then there may be a solution to the moral dilemma. That is exactly what I think is the case in the example. I for one have no difficulty knowing that the morally right thing to do in that situation is to protect the life of innocent people from torture and murder rather than tell the truth to a person who has torture and murder in their plans. My moral intuitions are very clear about this.

If someone objects and says, “No, you must always tell the truth. After all it is an absolute, and absolutes by definition can never be violated,” I would point out that they are just using a different hierarchy, putting truth telling above protecting the life of innocent people from torture and murder. There is no way to avoid making a judgment like that since more than one absolute does apply to the situation. I would just ask them to think it through again, and once they see that they have to make a judgment based on some sort of hierarchy in that situation, then I think most people’s moral intuitions will affirm that protecting the lives of innocent people from torture and murder, in that situation, trumps truth telling. There is no way to avoid choosing one over the other.

But isn’t this moral relativism? After all, we are deciding what to do based on the situation! It’s relativism, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t, because there is always one right thing to do in every situation. In every situation, you always follow the weightiest moral rule. The right thing to do does not depend on your subjective state of mind. It is an objective moral duty, and it is the same for everyone, across all times and in all places. That’s what objective morality means -what is right and wrong is not determined by personal preferences or cultural conventions, which vary by time and place.

And of course, God is the ground of this hierarchy of objective moral absolutes. They existed through him before human beings even appeared, as part of his design for us, his creatures. How we ought to behave is grounded ontologically in God’s design for us.

How to be an alpha male and signal manliness without being a promiscuous predator

Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her
Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her

These days, there seems to be a perception that in order to be an alpha male, you have to become a pick-up artist and sleep with a whole bunch of fatherless women, then ghost them (don’t talk to them any more). But as a Christian man, that’s all off-limits to me. Still, my best friend Dina tells me that I am an alpha male, despite being a virgin. How can that be?

In this post, I’m going to lay out three ways for a Christian man to be an alpha male without being a promiscuous predator who preys on vulnerable fatherless girls.

1. Never let a woman override your vision to serve Christ

It can be challenging to project the attitude of aloofness that women associate with strength while still being a good, moral man. One way to do that is to self-sacrificially invest your time, money and effort into some enterprise that benefits Christ. For example, in my case, I’ve invested time in learning apologetics, having a blog as a platform, and giving charity to invest in organizations to do apologetics events. I was pressured from Christian women to “tone it down” for their friends and family. I was also pressured to redirect my attention from apologetics to their need to have a good time (travel, zip-lining, skydiving, surfing were mentioned as good ways to spend my money on them). Alpha males don’t give up their mission in order to get the girl.

It is tempting for a man to let a woman re-focus his time, money and effort on giving her what she wants. If she is his wife, then some of that will be legitimate, just as some government spending is legitimate because it is Constitutional. A man should love his wife, protect her and provide for her. But he should not be distracted for other frivolous priorities that have nothing to do with a Christian marriage plan. Christian women often absorb secular left priorities from the culture, and they expect Christian men to give them what the culture says they ought to want or need, e.g. – putting the kids in daycare and public schools so she can have a career like her non-Christian friends. Alpha males put their own vision above what the secular left culture says they should be doing.

2. Never let a woman disrespect your leadership / mentoring role

It’s important for you to have areas of your life where you actually know what you are talking about, and have demonstrated success at mentoring others. In my case, those areas are education, career and finances. I have invested time in learning what to study. And I achieved a BS and MS in computer science. I have invested time in learning how to interview, what skills to train, and what jobs to take, and how to keep a job. And I achieved a 20-year+ gap-less resume with good companies, using good skills. I have chosen not to borrow money at interest (ever), not to spend money on travel / fun / thrills, and to invest early and often. And I have achieved a six-figure income and will have a 7-figure net worth by my mid-forties. A man needs to have areas like that where he studies and achieves, so that he knows how to advise others, and has a record of successful mentoring.

I sometimes mentor women. Some of them listen to me and some do not. I’ve gotten women to drop their non-STEM majors to study engineering or computer science. I’ve gotten women to stop wasting money on fun and thrills, in order to pay off their debts and start investing and giving to charity. I’ve gotten women to dump hot bad boys who would not commit, and choose commitment-minded men. I’ve gotten women to quit bad jobs in order to take better jobs. In the areas where I have demonstrated competence, I expect women to respect my leadership, even if it makes them feel bad in the short term. Men signal alpha male status when they obtain good results in their mentoring activities.

Also, I’m just going to throw this out there: “spiritual leadership” does not mean telling a woman that God really is speaking to her through her feelings, when she wants to make impulsive, impractical decisions that are likely to result in failure.

3. Never let a woman stop you from expressing your moral convictions

In the 2012 election, most single / unmarried  / divorced women voted pro-abortion and pro-gay-marriage.

Excerpt:

NBC News national exit polling shows that 67 percent of unmarried women said they voted for Obama. That’s in line with the 2008 election, when 70 percent of single women helped usher the president into office. This proves it wasn’t a single-election phenomenon: unmarried women have solidified into a powerful voting force, experts say.

[…]By the way — this isn’t just young women, Maatz pointed out. Many of the single women voters were over 50 — divorced, widowed or never married.

These women voted for a candidate who voted multiple times for infanticide as a state senator in Illinois. Why is this? Well, young unmarried women are more influenced by feelings like compassion. They tend to see themselves as “exempt” from moral standards, because they are constantly told that they are “special”. They tend to see the predictable consequences of poor choices as “unexpected”, causing them to think that people aren’t responsible for their own poor choices. As a result, they tend to be more progressive in their voting, and less Christian in their moral convictions.

A man can signal his alpha male status to women by being bold and persuasive on moral issues (and issues of policy that touch on moral issues). This may not work on all women, but it will work on the ones he should be interested in for wife and mother roles. Men should never just express their feelings about moral issues, or just tell about their experiences. Men ought to go further, and make logical arguments supported by scientific evidence. Instead of sharing “their opinion” (subjective), they ought to press those who disagree to change their minds. It is the studying of arguments and evidence that allows the Christian man to signal alpha male status when these moral issues are debated.

Conclusion

My friend Dina likes to say that the essence of manliness is when a man refuses to let a woman redirect him away from his vision and his moral convictions by using sex, sexual attraction, the promise of sex, or by withholding sex (from her husband). I think men can learn something from her definition. Women are useful as helpers, but we shouldn’t automatically assume that they are wise and virtuous, and give them the authority to rule over us in areas where we ought to lead. Dina also says never to trust women’s words, when deciding whether they will respect your leadership in your vision and moral convictions. Before you marry a woman, you must observe her taking the initiative to perform independent actions that help you with your vision – actions that go against her own feelings and desires. The most important part about being an alpha male is not losing your alpha male status by marrying someone who won’t respect it.

How to be an alpha male and signal manliness without being a promiscuous predator

Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her
Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her

These days, there seems to be a perception that in order to be an alpha male, you have to become a pick-up artist and sleep with a whole bunch of fatherless women, then ghost them (don’t talk to them any more). But as a Christian man, that’s all off-limits to me. Still, my best friend Dina tells me that I am an alpha male, despite being a virgin. How can that be?

In this post, I’m going to lay out three ways for a Christian man to be an alpha male without being a promiscuous predator who preys on vulnerable fatherless girls.

1. Never let a woman override your vision to serve Christ

It can be challenging to project the attitude of aloofness that women associate with strength while still being a good, moral man. One way to do that is to self-sacrificially invest your time, money and effort into some enterprise that benefits Christ. For example, in my case, I’ve invested time in learning apologetics, having a blog as a platform, and giving charity to invest in organizations to do apologetics events. I was pressured from Christian women to “tone it down” for their friends and family. I was also pressured to redirect my attention from apologetics to their need to have a good time (travel, zip-lining, skydiving, surfing were mentioned as good ways to spend my money on them). Alpha males don’t give up their mission in order to get the girl.

It is tempting for a man to let a woman re-focus his time, money and effort on giving her what she wants. If she is his wife, then some of that will be legitimate, just as some government spending is legitimate because it is Constitutional. A man should love his wife, protect her and provide for her. But he should not be distracted for other frivolous priorities that have nothing to do with a Christian marriage plan. Christian women often absorb secular left priorities from the culture, and they expect Christian men to give them what the culture says they ought to want or need, e.g. – putting the kids in daycare and public schools so she can have a career like her non-Christian friends. Alpha males put their own vision above what the secular left culture says they should be doing.

2. Never let a woman disrespect your leadership / mentoring role

It’s important for you to have areas of your life where you actually know what you are talking about, and have demonstrated success at mentoring others. In my case, those areas are education, career and finances. I have invested time in learning what to study. And I achieved a BS and MS in computer science. I have invested time in learning how to interview, what skills to train, and what jobs to take, and how to keep a job. And I achieved a 20-year+ gap-less resume with good companies, using good skills. I have chosen not to borrow money at interest (ever), not to spend money on travel / fun / thrills, and to invest early and often. And I have achieved a six-figure income and will have a 7-figure net worth by my mid-forties. A man needs to have areas like that where he studies and achieves, so that he knows how to advise others, and has a record of successful mentoring.

I sometimes mentor women. Some of them listen to me and some do not. I’ve gotten women to drop their non-STEM majors to study engineering or computer science. I’ve gotten women to stop wasting money on fun and thrills, in order to pay off their debts and start investing and giving to charity. I’ve gotten women to dump hot bad boys who would not commit, and choose commitment-minded men. I’ve gotten women to quit bad jobs in order to take better jobs. In the areas where I have demonstrated competence, I expect women to respect my leadership, even if it makes them feel bad in the short term. Men signal alpha male status when they obtain good results in their mentoring activities.

Also, I’m just going to throw this out there: “spiritual leadership” does not mean telling a woman that God really is speaking to her through her feelings, when she wants to make impulsive, impractical decisions that are likely to result in failure.

3. Never let a woman stop you from expressing your moral convictions

In the 2012 election, most single / unmarried  / divorced women voted pro-abortion and pro-gay-marriage.

Excerpt:

NBC News national exit polling shows that 67 percent of unmarried women said they voted for Obama. That’s in line with the 2008 election, when 70 percent of single women helped usher the president into office. This proves it wasn’t a single-election phenomenon: unmarried women have solidified into a powerful voting force, experts say.

[…]By the way — this isn’t just young women, Maatz pointed out. Many of the single women voters were over 50 — divorced, widowed or never married.

These women voted for a candidate who voted multiple times for infanticide as a state senator in Illinois. Why is this? Well, young unmarried women are more influenced by feelings like compassion. They tend to see themselves as “exempt” from moral standards, because they are constantly told that they are “special”. They tend to see the predictable consequences of poor choices as “unexpected”, causing them to think that people aren’t responsible for their own poor choices. As a result, they tend to be more progressive in their voting, and less Christian in their moral convictions.

A man can signal his alpha male status to women by being bold and persuasive on moral issues (and issues of policy that touch on moral issues). This may not work on all women, but it will work on the ones he should be interested in for wife and mother roles. Men should never just express their feelings about moral issues, or just tell about their experiences. Men ought to go further, and make logical arguments supported by scientific evidence. Instead of sharing “their opinion” (subjective), they ought to press those who disagree to change their minds. It is the studying of arguments and evidence that allows the Christian man to signal alpha male status when these moral issues are debated.

Conclusion

My friend Dina likes to say that the essence of manliness is when a man refuses to let a woman redirect him away from his vision and his moral convictions by using sex, sexual attraction, the promise of sex, or by withholding sex (from her husband). I think men can learn something from her definition. Women are useful as helpers, but we shouldn’t automatically assume that they are wise and virtuous, and give them the authority to rule over us in areas where we ought to lead. Dina also says never to trust women’s words, when deciding whether they will respect your leadership in your vision and moral convictions. Before you marry a woman, you must observe her taking the initiative to perform independent actions that help you with your vision – actions that go against her own feelings and desires. The most important part about being an alpha male is not losing your alpha male status by marrying someone who won’t respect it.