I think one problem with absolute truth is this: in the end, who dictates it? Common sense and years of learning dictates that 2+2=4. But what if the government tells you that 2+2=5, and furthermore, alters all previous documents stating otherwise. Whose truth is right?
Another problem: accepting an absolute truth as your own belief (I mean, if you believe it's absolute, then you obviously believe it is true, and therefore, probably believe in whatever diety [presuming we're talking afterlife] it concerns) means that there isn't room in the world for more versions of the truth. All of a sudden, it's majority rule, we're right, everyone else is wrong mentality again and people who engage in activities that aren't essentially harmful (and therefore, legal) may be banned from doing so, or simply plastered with big scarlet letters (gay rights keep nagging at the back of my mind...)
fractal- sorry to digress, you said you didn't want a merit argument... but your original question is a catch-22 to begin with. How can you institute the belief that there is no absolute truth as an absolute thruth for all to live by?
Stephan- moral decadence? loss of purpose? These are relative terms. To you, moral decadence might be promsicuity, drugs, or whatever, I'm not going to try to put words in your mouth... but to me, I see great moral leaps and bounds from the days of witch hunts and lynchings and "rule of thumb" mentality. You see lack of purpose- and I see women striving to become every bit as successful as men, equals- this is a relatively new phenemoenon. You see regression, I see progress... it's all a matter of point-of-view. The problem is, presumably you and I are both working towards progress. If my idea of progress is your idea of regression, and vice-versa, then really, we're going nowhere- it's a big tug-of-war, and all that matters is who has more people on their side. And what I see is the absolute-truthers pushing absolute-truth ideals on people in order to scare them onto their side of the rope, so maybe they can get ahead in the world. I'm not pointing fingers at you (mainly because I usually like what you have to say, you're intelligent and very innoffensive in expressing your views, moreso than I, so sorry to offend, if I have so far) but at the Jerry Falwells and most religious people I grew up around. Hey, I'm not in denial, I'm doing the same thing with the rope, but at least I'm not threatening people with damnation- I try to use logic, and hope that's enough to win 'em over.
Also, you said that without absolute truth, society slides into materialism... that's CAPITALISM for ya, and America makes it an absolute truth like nobody's business. You want to talk about ME-worship? America puts the every-man-for-himself set of ideals on one big patriotic pedestal... granted, we are not stright up capitalism, we do feed our poor... but barely. I think the problem is that you already have pre-determined ideas about what the absolute truth is, and it's clouding your argument. What if Capitalism is the absolute truth? What if Ayn Rand turns out to be GOD?? Seriously, the idea of absolute truth encompasses everything, and by that logic, if you were told that everyhting you believed was wrong by an unquestionably correct source, well, then you'd have to unlearn it all and relearn it with somebody else's rules. Doesn't sound very nice? It's what you're promoting.
Anyway... phew... this rant is over. My apologies in advance for any typos or phrasing that may be interpreted as overly heated... I'm extremelly tired... but enjoying the provocation.
"deeper is life than lose: higher than have
-but beauty is more each than living's all"