Monday, January 14, 2008

xkcd: Fantasy Fiction

Alt: My Redwall/Jurassic Park crossover fanfic is almost complete!

I read a series of books called Confessor by Terry Goodkind recently, and I highly recommend them. I haven't actually finished them, yet. But, I think I'm only 1 behind, and it's the last one in the series.

Anyway, they are a very enjoyable fantasy story. Throughout the books, Richard, the hero and heir to the throne, struggles with good and evil, as any fantasy hero should. The difference this time is that he seems to be on a journey to discover what good and evil actually mean. At different times, the same act with differing contexts are good or evil. His definition of good and evil start out very self-centered, because his idea of the world is so small and naive. As the story progresses, Richard becomes very conflicted at times, because the idea of good and evil is not so clear cut as it once had been for him.

Something I've come to believe, now that I can look back on my childhood and early adulthood, as well as many others', is that any kind of absolute belief is extremism. Sometimes the consequences for one may not be as bad as another. However, any time that morals are an absolute for a person or culture, bad things happen.

Killing is bad, right? What if you're killing to save your family from an intruder? I've actually never met anyone who would say killing in that circumstance is 100% absolutely never a morally acceptable action. Except when I was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, where we were instructed to have faith in God, and know that if the intruder killed us, we would wake up in "Paradise Earth". And so I was raised to believe that, although the bible talks about killing in God's name all over the place, it was a moral absolute that killing was wrong.

I'm sure there are other people or cultures or religions that also believe in this moral absolute. But, my point is, it's rare and in society in general, or at least the society I live in, protecting your family in this manner is the right thing to do.

Living here in Utah, there are a lot of generally accepted moral absolutes from the majority population of LDS followers. I know a lot of Mormons who believe in those moral absolutes, but they also believe that they are not supposed to take away a person's ability to choose right and wrong. I've also seen a lot of atheists who believe that they have he absolute truth, and that it's their civic duty to enlighten those around them to the "idiocy" of believing in a higher power. I think all humans are guilty of this, to some extent.

So, there you have my ramblings about why the first line of the comic was so true for me.

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