What moral system appeals to you most?

What is your personal moral system? You may have a religious system of morality, whose principles seem absolute and unchangeable because they derive from divine commands. You may hold a secular moral view, whose laws could be regarded as inherent in the nature of human beings/nature/universe. Or you may adjust your morality depending on the situation or the group you belong to. Please vote in this poll to see what moral systems appeal to SDMB members most at the moment.

Could somebody help me here, please?

I’ve just noticed choice number four in the poll repeats choice number two. Choice number four should read:

Moral relativism: nobody is objectively right or wrong - morality should be relative to individuals/groups etc.

Would a moderator kindly operate this change for me, please?

There is an absolute right, or perhaps various and multiple things that are good and right and so on.

What there isn’t, and this is a very important distinction when it comes to moral systems, is any human-accessible mechanism for knowing what that (or those) right and good things ARE. Or to put it another way, uncertainty is not something we can eliminate.

Furthermore, the goodness or rightness is relational. Not “relative” or “situational”, exactly, but composed of interactions between the component actors, which is a big part of why we can’t have certainty: we ourselves are always embedded in the thing we’re trying to observe.

This took quite a bit of thought.

I selected “Moral absolutism: certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other circumstances” because I try and base my decisions on the Bible and that’s pretty clear cut about what’s right and what’s wrong. However I often struggle in knowing what to think when I know the Bible says one thing but society accepts another. Abortion is a good example of that, the Bible is clear but it is socially acceptable to have an abortion (please note - I don’t live in the US where I believe this is much more of a controversial issue and I certainly do not want to hijack the thread - this is just an example).

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.~~Abraham Lincoln

What’s good enough for Abe, is good enough for me.
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.–YODA
Makes sense.

I would have to go with this for myself as well, however in my own mind I don’t feel the general population is objective enough to behave this way. I accept this thought is in my own head and not neccessarily a truth.

Is this a definition/clarification of the first choice, or a possible reason for it?

There you go.

Other. Because not all “acts” are equal and one should not become a slave to ‘-isms’.

I lean towards the Anti-Golden Rule myself: Don’t do to others what I wouldn’t want done to me.

Before I answer, I’d appreciate a bit of clarification, because I feel like I’m missing something: how are #1 and #2 different answers?

If something is absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other circumstances, then it seems to me that of course it’s objectively right or wrong independent of custom or opinion. (And vice versa: if it’s objectively right or wrong independent of opinion, then what the heck is left but absolute facts?)

Well, I’ve been around but I ain’t never seen
A guy who looks like a muppet but he’s wrinkled and green…

The utterances of green muppets in popular movies are no basis for a system of philosophy.

Seriously, the notion that fear is a path to the Dark Side is really pretty stupid. There are things that one really ought to be afraid of, and fearing them is a sane and healthy reaction. And while there are situations where fear leads to anger and hate (e.g. if you’re a schoolkid who’s afraid of the bully that keeps beating you up after school), they’re not the norm. Hell, anger doesn’t necessarily lead to hate. Jesus was angry at the Pharisees and the moneychangers in the Temple, but he didn’t hate them.

Consequentialism is closest to my position.

In practice this creates a sort of pseudo-“objective morality” because humans are the only sapient species on earth, and we’re all much the same in certain basic ways. Therefore, various actions & attitudes will always or almost always have the same consequences.

[QUOTE=Bosda Di’Chi of Tricor;17041843When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.~~Abraham Lincoln

What’s good enough for Abe, is good enough for me.

Not judging, simply stating my opinion:
The issue I have with this philosophy is that few people, even within the same culture, can agree on what constitutes “good” or “bad”. When you move across cultures the results get even worse. What is good for me and mine can be very bad for you and yours - see the European settlement of North and South America for some easy examples. The settlers did not feel that they were doing anything morally wrong by setting up housekeeping on the land they “discovered”, but the natives likely had a vastly different view. IMHO, If there is no objective good and bad then it really amounts to “if it feels good, do it”.

Great qestion, UY Scuti! The basis of my moral system puts me in the minority on this board (surprise!), but I love to read why people believe and act as they do.

I take issue with consequentialism. If I drop a nuclear bomb over the city and it is a dud no one will be harmed. Does this mean what I did was not immoral. I think morality has more to do with intent and motives than it does consequences.

In other words, are you saying that your first choice is possible only if the principles “derive from divine commands”?

But you tried to harm them. In other words, you intended for the consequences of your act to be a destroyed city.

Looking at the OP, I’d say the answer isGOD. If you believe that the rules you decide to follow stem from deities, then you pick the first one. If you disbelieve in gods, then the you pick the second choice…although to the non-believer this means that both choices are exactly the same.

I chose Consequentialism. Ideally the moral action should be that action which maximizes the expected global happiness coefficient. Of course the rub is defining the global happiness coefficient , and then determining how individual actions would affect it, so in the end you just have to use your best guess at the time.

I also don’t claim to have the moral fiber to actually act totally moral all the time, and my actions tend to maximize a more local happiness coefficient rather than a global one (I am much more likely to work for the happiness of myself, my friends and my family than for stranger in Africa), but I try to keep the ideal in mind.

None of the above. I believe in “reciprocal self-interest,” in the context of living in a reciprocal community. It’s in my best interest to live in a world of happy, healthy, educated, productive people . . . and I support efforts to achieve this. For me, the best society is one in which everyone takes care of their own business, but realizes that helping others can also be in the self-interest of both parties. My personal choices and actions further that goal.

Take theft, for example. Theft is usually wrong, but, depending on the circumstances, could be the right thing to do. If you need to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family, you shouldn’t be punished for doing so; in fact, you should be commended for valuing your family more than a store’s right to be paid for it. (Not that they don’t have that right, but it’s a lower value than feeding a family.) But more importantly, you should be taught how to feed your family without resorting to theft.

I can’t think of anything that would ALWAYS be good or bad, regardless of the context. But this is NOT the same as moral relativism.