Saturday, February 17, 2024

Adultery: It's Not Complicated (Some Moral Truths Don't Change)

(Worship at Redeemer - it's not as complicated as it looks.)

When it comes to "sin," things have pretty much been the same over the centuries. Stealing is still experienced as wrong. Lying, too. Hating, as well. Also, killing innocent people for fun. And so on.

And adultery, too. It's not really complicated. And, there's a lot of moral subjective relativism involved, which is something logicians abhor. (See, e.g., the logic text I used at MCCC - Vaughn's Critical Thinking.)

As far as I can tell, Facebook popularized the response, "It's complicated." I remember reading a woman's Facebook page. She described her extramarital affair as, "It's complicated." 

This silly meme fails to get at the truth, which is: It's not complicated. Not really. Adultery boils down to one truth: she chose not to keep her vows. 

But what about the reasons underlying the breaking of the wedding promise? Are the reasons for the deception complicated? Not really. Adultery is unoriginal and uncreative. It's boring. Reasons for adultery are easy to unravel. They boil down to the binary algorithm "either-or." At some point a choice is made. Adultery presents us with nothing new under the sun.

Truth is not complicated. It may be hard to understand at times, but not because it is complicated. Truth is binary. Truth is either-or. 

In my logic classes I demystify the nature of rationality and clear away the foggy delusion of "complicated." I explain that a statement is a sentence that is either true or false. A statement describes a state of affairs that either obtains, or it does not. Period. (If that astonishes you, then I wish you had taken one of my Logic classes at MCCC. Or, pick up any university Logic text and begin to read.)

"It's complicated" presents the adulterer as some kind of mysterious genius who has woven a web of relationships that only they understand. They are a complicated person, epistemically inaccessible to common folks. As if they have figured this horror out, when all they really did was old-fashioned cheating and hiding. 

Cheat and hide. Again and again, as they faced ever-growing waves of *Kierkegaardian either-ors and, simply and as old as humanity, chose evil. That's not very complicated, right?

Some things just don't change. Some moral values have not "evolved." And, if moral truths did keep changing, then the moral truths of today will be unpopular moral falsehoods tomorrow, so why adhere to any of them? (Some philosophical atheists would agree here.)

(The same, of course, goes for men.)


*Shall we choose the feeling/aesthetic life, or the ethical life? See Kierkegaard, Either-Or. A choice may be difficult, but not because it is "complicated."