Our mind has evolved to grasp the world as having absolute rules and definitive purposes. In our day-to-day life – things must have well-defined locations, events must occur at well-understood times, movements have clear directions.
The reasons for this tendency are easy to explain. For millions of years, our survival has been depending on a clear picture of the world around us. If one predator is in two locations at the same time, we don’t know how to run away. If a single flying stone is about to hit us in two different times, we are doomed.
So we struggle with understanding quantum mechanics or Einstein’s relativity, but things get really weird when it comes to managing rules and behaviors. This is where the absolute picture of things may really be a spoiler: Is doing something… “good” or “bad”? If it can be both, we are in deep shit.
Religious contents find the perfect solution: Everything is either “good” or “bad”. Not only that, but it stays “good” or “bad” regardless of time and place. In Judaism, for example, messing with fire on the Sabbath was bad, is bad and will stay bad forever. Even when modern fire may be associated with electricity. Even after mother earth itself is long gone. When the world changes, then due to the absolute nature of rules, we should adapt ancient behaviors to new technology rather than the other way around.
Thus moral is supposedly absolute and pornography is not a question of geography. And of course there are religious authorities that *know* what’s good and what’s bad. It’s them we should consult with, when not knowing. It’s them – not lawyers, not science, not the actual reality, not even ourselves – that have the final say.
And then we’ve refined the notion of absoluteness to its ultimacy. We’ve made up God.