Activity 5: Unitarian Universalist Moral Law
Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
Description of Activity
Invite participants to brainstorm a list of Unitarian Universalist moral/ethical statements. Explain that brainstorming means you will write all ideas suggested on newsprint, without discussing or evaluating them. After five minutes of brainstorming, stop and invite participants to examine the list. Guide a discussion using these questions:
- Are any of these statements what Kant might call moral laws, standards to which we should adhere at all times and in every situation?
- Do you think some of our Unitarian Universalist shared values as expressed in our Principles could be described as moral laws that are fixed and unchanging? If so, which ones? If not, why not?
- If there are Unitarian Universalist moral laws that are fixed and unchanging, where is the locus of moral authority for those laws-the self, the community, God, or somewhere else? Does naming the source of authority help us judge the universal applicability of moral laws?
- Does the idea that there are Unitarian Universalist moral laws conflict in any way with Emerson's notions, as examined in Workshop 1, regarding the source of moral authority?
- When happens when one moral law is in conflict with another?
Allow ten minutes for this discussion, and then pose this final question:
- Given all that we explored today, do you believe there are absolute moral truths that are fixed and apply to all people in similar situations? Are there absolute moral truths that are fixed and apply to all people no matter their situation? If there are such truths, who determines what they are?