“In a discussion on threesomes someone brought up the concept that they are immoral. I didn’t get involved in that, but I did find myself thinking about definitions of morality.
It seems to me that there are three forms: there is religious/cultural morality, humanist morality, and pragmatic morality.
Religious and cultural morality are almost always the same thing, and revolve around various things that the religion and culture see as wrong according to religious proscriptions. Many of these cross over into humanist morality, especially most of the Ten Commandments and so forth, because they seem to be almost universal prohibitions. Isay almost because there have been cultures and religions from time to time which do things which by today’s standards would be considered totally immoral, like human sacrifice. Even today, in many parts of the world but particularly in some of the tribal areas of Africa, female genital mutilation is practised, and this is condemned by the vast majority of people including many from those tribal areas. On the other hand, many Westerners fall back on the spurious excuse of cultural relativism and pretend that we, of different cultures, have no moral right to be critical of another culture’s practices and beliefs. Sorry fellas, BS.
But many other examples of religious morality are purely a matter of the personal likes and dislikes of the (usually) men who framed religious laws, and most of them revolve around sexual practices. Thus homosexuality is considered abhorrent and immoral, as is any form of heterosexual practice which doesn’t agree with their very narrow definitions of correctness. And since religions have such an enormous impact on social and cultural systems, and also because the vast majority of the people in those cultures and societies find conformity either very psychologically attractive or else pragmatically useful (e.g. don’t rock the boat if you want to keep selling
Humanist morality, on the other hand, could perhaps be best summed up in the concept that anyone who knowingly harms, damages, or exploits other people in any way is committing an immoral act. In this view, each to his own is the only sexual morality required; informed and willing consent and the capacity to understand what is happening are the only things necessary. Pressuring a partner into a threesome, or some other so-called perversion, under threat of leaving or “straying” or whatever, or getting someone drunk or drugged (diminished responsibility) to have your way with them are both, in humanist morality, quite immoral.
Pragmatic morality only needs a brief exposition: it is the concept of doing the right thing when it is convenient and pragmatic. As a Humanist, I consider that it is, by definition, immoral. Any moral act by these people is purely accidental, in my view.
I need to say one other thing about religious morality. Most religions have some concept of the sanctity of marriage, that is, that marriage is blessed by the God figure. Thus we find that in religions which forbid divorce or deny the ability for women to initiate divorce means that there are wives who, despite constant beatings, spousal rape, endemic infidelity, economic exploitation, or any of a whole swag of other exploitative, damaging, and harmful actions, are told they must stay with their husbands rather than destroy the so-called (and in the case of this type of husband, hypocritical) sanctity of their marriage.”
Read more: http://authspot.com/thoughts/visions-of-morality/#ixzz2COftC6M7