Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Relativism & Recycling

I've always had a very live-&-let-live attitude. I have my areas of high standard - I don't think they coincide with most traditional ideas on morality, but I've got them. Recycling for example: I am ashamed of how little we as a society recycle. I try to recycle anything and everything they'll take at our curb. Even still I include myself in this judgment.

Really most of the things I judge harshly are my own behaviors, as opposed to those of others. Maybe you could say I've always felt we live in glass houses. So because of this, obviously I would never judge anyone for falling short of moral targets I've never bothered aiming at myself. Examples of this might be premarital sex done it, don't give a damn who else does it, who cares - even though my parents tried to raise me that way or keeping the sabbath holy Sundays are the ONLY day to brave Costco here in SLC!, etc etc. Never thought less of anyone who indulges in the same things I do, or who indulges in their own set of personally questionable practices.

But the other day I was at Costco (on Sunday) thinking about how here in the valley (I hear it's a slower more Utahish Sunday if you visit a Costco further north or south in Provo) there's not a whole lot of difference between Sundays & other days. I remember my sister telling me they always go to Costco on Sunday, then park their car in the garage & sneak all the groceries in the back door so their neighbors won't see them shopping on Sunday my parents church lessons held on my sister in a way they obviously didn't hold on me. I think I know a lot of church-goers that do this. So I started to wonder... If someone CLAIMS the moral high ground (not saying my sister does this, she's very cool about our differing ideas/ideals), feels superior, saved, whatever - should I be able to hold them to a higher standard than I hold myself? If someone professes to believe that God has given them commandments not suggestions - commandments. and they believe in him and this whole heaven & after-life thing, but then they do all the things I might do - shopping on Sundays, shagging a non-husband (before I was married obviously) etc, shouldn't I think less of that? Shouldn't I be right to see that they're holding themselves to an ideal that they then choose not to live up to?

I'm not saying I do think this way even now that I've made the observation. I still think I live in a glass house. But it puts me in a questioning philosophical sort of mood nonetheless. I'd really like to hear what other people think of all this. Are you disappointed by people who don't live up to the standards they profess? What if we were great friends out to lunch and I told you that 40% of land-fill waste is recyclable paper This is one of my favorite pet-stats and I do tell it to my friends often - then you came to my house and saw that I didn't have a recycle can. Shouldn't you think less of me? I do have a recycle can btw.


  1. My uncle used to give us money and then send us to the store, on Sunday, to buy him shit. Yeah, pretty sure he wasn't pull a fast one on God with that one.

  2. I think we should hold them to the standard they hold for themselves. I think it's good to hold friends to their own standards no matter what they are. I myself probably don't live up to standards that I've claimed are mine to my friends in the past. That being said, peoples standards change. I find the religious standards are not negotiable like that though, and those that are trying to live up to that standard shouldn't do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs. (however I heard on the radio yesterday that LDS church employees that have to go out of town always use Sunday as a travel day, so now where is the double standard?)
    So now that it's out there, if you know me and think that I'm not living up to standards you know I've claimed, let me hear it. It's good to be reminded of what you believe in. It's easy to loose site of that standard sometimes.

  3. Jesus said Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. It's the intention, not the literalism I think. People take this religious stuff waaaay to seriously (this from the ministerial student!). Do we think God REALLY CARES if we take Sunday or Thursday as or sabbath? Or that we skip a day of church to go to Costco? I think what's in our hearts and, more importantly, how we treat each other is what's more important.

    And we evolve as people. And our standards evolve. And our understanding of God evolves...or at least it should. It's ok to let go of a standard if it does apply to you anymore, and I shouldn't judge you for it.

  4. Oh, man. I have a drafted post started on this subject. It's about Jack Mormons who marry in the temple. That's all I'm gonna say about that. You're gonna have to read it (otherwise I'll spill it all here and never get around to finishing that post), but you probably see where I'm going with this.

    I will say this: Grrrr!!!!

  5. I suppose I'm not surprised when they don't live to the standards they profess, but what really gets me is they still look down upon those who don't live to their professed standards - I don't understand their point of view or where they think they can "preach but not practice what they preach" and yet still be critical of others.