Chris Dorner and Moral Relativism

For those that don’t know, Christopher Dorner is the ex-LAPD cop gone rogue. I live in SoCal and have been following this psychotic cop-killer. I read his manifesto before it even came out in the news and found some very interesting passages. If some of what he says is true, he lost ALL credibility when he slaughtered two innocent people in love and began taking the law into his own hands by murdering police officers.

Anyway, one of the most interesting things I read was this:

"I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North."

He has created his own set of morals and standards. He is the ruler of his universe and has deemed his vigilantism as moral and ethical. This is a great example of why Moral Relativism, ultimately, crumbles and causes man to become even more morally confused.

If this isn’t the epitome of Moral Relativism, I don’t know what is.

You do realize someone not Christian or not religious can counter your proposition by pointing out any number of Catholics and Christians that have committed murder and great evils including partaking in genocides.

Chris Dorner was an officer in the Navy, college educated, and seems to me to have been a reasonably intelligent man. And while I realize he had stress factors in his life they don’t appear to me to have been insurmountable. From my socio-economic point of view–which includes the stress and stigma of drug addiction–his social and professional (and financial too I guess being fired from a job) problems were not so daunting and mysterious they could not be turned around with a little effort.

Bear in mind I say that with a horrible employment record marred with incredibly long gaps and too many places of employment due to years of drug addiction, and being mathematically challenged (literally I’m worse at math than most people, probably worse at it than most kids just entering high school) yet still stubbornly pursuing a science degree.

I think one problem we humans have is that we are very susceptible to only focusing on our crosses and not spending much time and thought on our blessings.

I do think the LAPD probably has a number of internal problems. And it would not surprise if indeed those police cadets did sing Hitler songs around the Jewish cadet whose father was a holocaust survivor. That sounds like something cops would do with a military mentality. I remember laying in my rack at night on ship listen to another Marine crying as basically all the Marines in the birthing taunted him about his mother that just died of cancer, and then chanted, “Kill yourself, kill yourself.”

But Dorner could have beaten the LAPD another way. He could have pursued greater personal and professional success, even if that led him to a different career field altogether. He was a big guy it seems. Maybe if could have tried breaking into bodyguard, executive protection work, for Hollywood stars. I don’t know. Maybe he could have went to school to become a chef if that interested him. Gotten his Cordon Bleu or something.

I also have gotten the impression Dorner had too much grandiose views about himself. I get the impression he wanted to be a good person, but somewhere along the journey and desire he developed emotional and mental problems. That’s the impression I get.

I absolutely agree that he may have had some genuine complaints that were valid. Sadly, all his credibility has since vanished after slaughtering innocent people because of ‘his own personal code of ethics…’.

Nowhere did I state that so-called ‘Christians’ haven’t done horrible things. That is a given. That, in no way, negates the fact that moral relativism instills that man is his own god. The point I was making is that without moral absolutes, man is the creator of his own moral universe. This story is a textbook example.

You pretty much sum it up. All that remains is for us to pray that the whole situation will be in God’s hands, that he will protect other innocent people from attack, and that it will be resolved according to His will.

I think that when a man goes crazy, his moral values just go with the flow, whatever they are. There are some people who went on slaughtering people because they were convinced that was the good thing to do, that GOD wanted them to do it. He didn’t went on killing people because he was a relativist, he did because he is insane.

The ‘religious’ man who murders in the name of the Judeo-Christian God is,regardless of what her or anyone else claims, not religious, period. God does not say to murder in his name. In fact, that is one of, if not THE worst sin man could commit. Moral Relativism says that it’s up to the individual to decide what he or she deems moral.

Hitler was not a believer in religion. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and so on were atheists. These men were all Moral Relativists and murdered 100 MILLION men, women and children in less than a century. This is vastly greater than all of the religious had done since the beginning of man. To them, slaughtering millions of innocent people was moral and ethical in their own moral world and should be stopped just as the so-called ‘religious’ man who is murdering in the name of God should be stopped.

Dandingo, I think Fomal would be more correct on this one.

What you propose about Crusaders murdering Jews in a village on their way to the Holy Land, or nuns in Rwanada helping to murder people in an ethnic genocide, is a “No true Scotsman” logical fallacy.

That said, I would agree with you Adolf Hitler was not Catholic nor a practicing Catholic insofar as he abandoned the faith and wanted the Pope and Cardinals in the Vatican all killed.



The use of the term was advanced by British philosopher Antony Flew:

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again". Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing". The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing".[2]

I know exactly what the Scotsman Fallacy is but do not necessarily subscribe to it completely. Do you believe that those during the Crusades that murdered Jews to be genuine Christians?


It seems to logically follow from the sacrament of confession that sins grave or venial do not strip one of their Christian baptism and identity.

In other words, it’s a very similar belief, if not the same to ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’, correct?

Not at all. It is “Once Catholic, always Catholic.” Being Catholic does not guarantee one is in possession of sanctifying grace, which is required for entry into heaven.

But the previous member stated that he or she that committed these atrocities is still considered Christian.

I’m just saying one can commit mortal sins while not denouncing the faith or converting to another religion (or atheism), and do so while still promoting the banner of the faith.

I’m a supporter of the Crusades. Just like I think the Allies were right to fight the Axis powers. But in both cases you had some Crusaders and some soldiers of the Allies committing what are essentially war crimes.

To the the extent that Baptism imparts an indelible mark on the soul, signifying their adoption by God as a son or daughter, this is true. As such, they have until death, the opportunity to repent and regain their inheritance of heaven.

I can see where this becomes somewhat of a slippery slope but tet me get hypothetical for a minute.

If there was a man doing the exact same things that’s going on here, and stated that he was doing it in the name of God, would you, or anyone else, denounce him as a Christian?

On what basis would I denounce him? What would this denouncing look like? On what authority could denounce him? Since you question leads to more questions it seem as though you made the slope slipperier.

I might challenge him to prove that his actions are realy in line with Christ’s teaching.

But, it not clear why it would matter?

Stating publicly, in whichever setting you choose, that XYZ is not a true Christian. I am on multiple forums and am an outspoken Catholic on all of them, regardless of if it’s popular or not. Had this man stated that he was doing all of this in the name of God and that he was a Christian, I would denounce him, as a Christian, immediately with no equivocation. Unfortunately, because of the ‘No true Scotsman’ theory, Moral Relativists, Agnostics, Atheists and so-on would state otherwise.

If, like a previous posted stated, a person is baptized he or she is considered a Christian until their death, confirming the ‘No true Scotsman’ theory.

If this is the case, would Hitler have been considered a Christian until his suicide, considering he was supposedly baptized Catholic?

This is a good article by Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I. about same-sex marriage legislation that touches on good points.

I don’t see name calling as an effective method of evangelizing. What is a “true Christian” anyway? It seems like a meaningless term, supported by the reactions you have gotten to using it.

I don’t understand your last statement.

Our objective ought to be to win converts, not arguments.

I’m not sure how to answer that as I’m not a formally trained philosopher and my grasp on theology is slim.

But where I was going with this is consciously leaving the faith for another religion or no religion at all. This has been in my understanding what would make a former Catholic no longer Catholic–at least in a way we can understand it using language and classifications.

One distinguishing mark between Catholicism and Protestantism as I’ve always understood it revolved around the concept of sin and Visible Church and Invisible Church.

With the Catholic “instincts of the faith,” a phrase I’ve gotten from Fr. Andrew Greeley, viewing the Church as both, and the Protestants viewing the Church as the latter.

I would personally regard the man in your scenario as Christian. I’ve always identified and classified the Ku Klux Klan as Christians. Even the ones from decades ago that commit some heinous crimes.

Bear in mind the Catholic Church from hierarchy to clergy to lay people participated in some barbaric, cruel, killings in the name of God. Namely, the once common form of death penalty by burning people at the stake. This was prescribed in the Old Testament too, so, there is reason to believe the ancient Hebrew Jews practiced this for of public execution as well.

While the Inquisition is blown out of proportions in many ways, and while I personally believe the Inquisition throughout Latin America prevented the rise of the equivalent of the KKK, I still can’t reconcile myself to burning people at the stake. But then I’m a product of the 20th and 21st Century too.

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