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Morality

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Vince, May 14, 2019.

  1. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    Many theists believe that objective morality can only come from a god. Meaning a morality that humans do not decide or invent. God is the source of objective morality and humans can learn morality from god because they have no ability to know what is moral on their own. Is this true?

    I am going to assume here that god does in fact exist. If he does then how does god know what is moral? Is god’s morality good because he says it is or is it good because it is good by itself? If god is just advocating for an objective good morality then morality exists independent of god and humans can through time discover this morality. God would be unnecessary expect maybe to speed up the timeline of us discovering good morality. If acts have inherent goodness then god is not the author of morality and god is unnecessary for morality.

    If morality is good only because god commands it then morality is arbitrary and humans would be unable to reason to this morality because it is not based on reason. In this case god is necessary for morality but morality would be totally subjective and dependent upon god’s thoughts at the time. If something is good because god commanded it then anything could be considered good. Stating that god is good would be meaningless and “loving your enemies” and “beating slaves” become equally good.

    So how can god be the author of objective morality? He cannot because he would be a spectator to it so Christians believe in subjective morality based on the ideas of god. Theists that believe morality comes from god then must accept that their morality is arbitrary or that god is ok with us not knowing what good morals are. They are also basing their morality on faith and not reason. This can lead to tragedy when Muslims in other countries base their morals on an ancient book and hurl gay men from buildings and bomb children or Christians killing abortion doctors in the U.S.

    There is also the problem of trying to interpret what god thinks good morals are. Christians cannot agree on this even though they all claim to follow the morals of the Bible. Like issues with abortion, women in clergy and gay people.

    When we take god out of the morality business and try to reason to good morals we find an objective morality that we can live by. If we made a list of morally good and bad actions that most humans agree upon we will come to the conclusion that bad morals are things that cause unnecessary suffering like bathing a child in battery acid. Morally good things lead to a person’s well-being such as feeding a hungry person, most people would agree this is a good thing. (There is a lot more that goes into well-being as the basis for morality) So if we have other people’s well-being as a standard for morals then we can objectively decide if an action is moral or not based on this criteria. We can objectively say beating someone else with a hammer is objectively wrong and clothing a naked person is objectively good.

    There are many moral actions that are not as easily decided based on this criteria. These also may over time change as we gain new information on what is morally good such as asbestos, once it was morally ok to use this and expose people to asbestos dust now we know that it would be morally bad to do so based on well-being as the standard. These are still objective morals based on the standard of well-being. If you reject this notion it is like rejecting math because we cannot solve some math problems yet.

    So god cannot be the source of objective morality but only subjective morality and atheists can base their morality on reason and science without the need for a god. How can a theist be moral when they throw out reason and rely on a subjective morality form a book that is 2000+ years old? Many of the morals have been replaced with better ones such as how we treat gay people and slaves for example.

    The last thing is the concept of situational ethics meaning that the same action can be morally good or morally bad depending on the context. For example, lying is generally a morally bad act but in a situation where someone can get hurt if you tell the truth then lying can be a morally good act but it is based on the objective standard of well-being. Morality is a big subject and not as clear cut as we hope. I hope this was not too long but it is currently my ideas on morality. Actually not my original ideas but ideas I have learned from different sources that I agree with.
     
  2. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    There is no such thing as subjective morality. It is like saying...there is absolutely no absolutes! It is an oxymoron.

    Actually morality differs from place to place....such is it's subjectivity. Morality is a human way of thinking and is influenced by the society of that time and place.

    There is no such thing as Christian morality. What God says is good...is good. What God says is evil...is evil. Everything else is man playing god.
     
  3. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    If you rely on god determining what is good and bad morally then it is subjective as I described in my post.

    Definition of subjective is :based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

    If god determines good and bad then it is based on his subjectivity, on his feelings, his tastes or his opinions.

    I agree that morals vary however that does not make them subjective. Morals can be different but objective if they are all based on the same standard such as well-being. I don't find anywhere that well-being is not the ultimate standard of morality when you get down to it.

    You are describing subjective morality.
     
  4. lforrest

    lforrest Well-Known Member Staff Member Admin

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    Calling God's opinion subjective implies that everyone else's opinion matters.
     
  5. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    First you need to provide sufficient evidence that god exists. If you do then we need to determine if god is good or not. Just because a god exists does not mean that he has to be good. The only reason you believe he is good is because god told you he is good because you have no objective morality to compare it to. Was killing gay people morally good (Lev 20:13)? I would say no based on my objective morality based on well-being so if god exists it does not preclude us from determining if his subjective morality is good or not.
     
  6. aspen

    aspen “"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few

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    Morality is considered subjective if people are allowed to live by their own set of beliefs regarding good and evil. An example is found in the military - personnel are not allowed to make their own moral decisions unless they are asked to break military code.

    Paradoxically, absolute truth can exist on a large scale or a small scale based on the mindset of the group. Kim Jung Un is the supreme leader and god to the people he has enslaved and you better believe it or you will be in a gulag faster than you can type it. The “moral truth” is only subjective for Kim, for everyone else it is indeed, absolute.

    I understand what you are trying to claim Vince, that God made the rules so they are based on his subjective beliefs, however, unlike Kim, God follows the morality he has put in place. If he did not, he would be unknowable. He does not change His mind or the rules of the universe He created - the universe is an orderly place.

    Yes, the Old Testament describes God’s supposed hatred, tyranny, and murderous actions, along with His rabid nationalism. God has been framed by His creation since the Garden incident. Humanity, at that point in history, was primitive and concerned with God’s Sovereignty. They emphasized it over all other aspects of God. It was important for them to give God the credit for all successful invasions and evils (interpreted as punishment) they encountered. It also appears that they often equipped him with many of their own projections. Also, the Torah and Tanakh were written down during the Babylonian captivity - after most of the history recorded was centuries old. Nationalism gave the people reading the book, a real sense of unity, needed to preserve their culture.

    Modern people often over-interpret and over-identify with the Bible - they clutch and grasp and demand other Christians to do the same or else! It makes sense because like the Jewish people who lost Judah and were driven into captivity, Christians are being asked to share power with other groups and it feels like a loss. It also fits their narrative of feeling persecuted - just like the early monks who were lead into the desert (interpreted as a place of death) on a quest to find a replacement for martyrdom, many Christians today are seeking to do the same. Therefore, any loss of power is overblown into outright tyranny leading to enslavement or martyrdom.

    Based on my understanding of God’s truth, it cannot be subjective - it is absolute and therefore applies to all of creation. However my ability to interpret this truth in every situation, every moment of the day is often quite fuzzy. Absolute Truth can only be understood and followed perfectly by God. I do my best to slow down and listen to God and love in the face of evil, but I am a beginner.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  7. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    Vince,

    You duck these 4 relevant philosophical or metaethical issues.
    (1) You can't get an ought out of what is. In other words, if you are not a theist, you have no meaningful answer to the questipn, What makes right actions right?

    (2) An atheist must explain our sense of right and wrong in terms of natural selection of a herd instinct that promotes survival. But this herd instinct must be conceived in terms of arbitrary norms that promote social cohesion. The atheist has no meaningful answer to the question, "Why is it wrong for me to harm others if doing so makes me happy and serves my best interests? It is irrelevant to reply that I will suffer social sanctions if I violate basic moral principles. But that is a pragmatic concern, not a moral concern and is justly countered by the comment, "Why shouldn't I harm others if I can get away with it and if doing so makes me happy and advances my personal goals?"

    (3) Put differently, without the enforcible accountability that God might provide, our sense of right and wrong can easily be dismissed as arbitrary social constructs rooted in evolved behavioral instincts and sensibilities that can be safely disregarded when they seem inconvenient or opposed to one's self-serving personal agenda.

    (4) So this logic allows us to answer the standard philosophical question, "Is it right because God so decrees or does God so decree because it is right? The second question is meaningless because it assumes that God is accountable to external values of right and wrong and this is meaningless because, as the Creator who is All That Is, God by definition cannot be subject to exterhal principles.
    But consider the alternative: it is right because God so decrees. God can thus ground morality because moral beings can be held accountable to God either in this life or the next. Atheism cannot provide the meaningful grounding for morality that a moral God can. If I disapprove of what I view as God's moral values, then I can't identify another basis for morality; I can only reject God's values or the existence of God.

    The Christian God is a God of pure unconditional love. That means that the principles of right and wrong must be corollaries of applied love as God conceives that love. This foundation is the only meaningful way to derive an ought out of what is. So I need to think of myself as a "good" person, then theism is the only meaningful way to make that claim and is for many a good reason to abandon atheism.
     
  8. aspen

    aspen “"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few

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    This sounds like Mere Christianity.........
    I never thought CS Lewis’ apologetics were very compelling.

    I am a Christian and I can see the legitimacy for moral codes coming out of family groups......primates have norms and so do dogs. Different societies and cultures share so norms that are necessary to form communities - even cannibals agreed to only eat the neighbors......
     
  9. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    Actions are not subjective they are objective as related the goal. The goal is subjective. Atheists have objective morals based on the goal or basis for that morality I can argue that all basis of morality is based on well being when it is broken down. Theists actions are objective compared to what god says. Morals of god are subjective. God decides what is right or wrong.

    Same with your god and your morals. If god required something of you that was against your morals would you do it?

    No he does not. God asks people to forgive each other without a sacrifice, he can only forgive with a human sacrifice. Why is lying in the bible ok at times and condemned at other times?

    So you are claiming he bible is not gods word. So why is it useful and you are in the minority at least where I live.

    How can a god that decides what is right or wrong be objective? It is subjective because he decides what is right and wrong. Your actions are objective as compared to the subjective standard he sets.
     
  10. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    Why characterize these as ducking? do you want a conversation or do you just want to score points?

    I do, what in my post did you disagree with?

    This is nonsense, what in my post did you disagree with?

    Don't tell me what I think just tell me where you disagreed with me in my post.

    Nope. What in my post did you disagree with?

    Nope, what in my post did you disagree with?

    This is a claim that is not substantiated. What in my post did you disagree with?
    Nope, What in my post did you disagree with?

    My post addresses these issues. Do you want to discuss that or do you want to lecture us on what you think only?
     
  11. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    Vince,
    I have been a Teaching Fellow in Logic. I must conclude that you duck my points because you don't understand them. So please respond point by point, beginning with how you imagine you can derive an ought from what is.
     
  12. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    You are clutching at straws. Philosophy and conjecture. And you have lost your way.

    You won't listen, so perhaps I will just disarm you for sport or to show you for what you really are: In your above manifesto, take away "timeline" and it is all reduced to nothing. You are a sail without wind.

    You see, with God there is no timeline. Not even with science. Checkmate.
     
  13. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    Where in my first post do you disagree with me? I explained this in my post.
     
  14. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," speaks for many atheist scientists, when he admits:

    "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."

    Dr. Kenneth Miller, author of biology text books most commonly used in high school and college, confronted Dawkins on the inconsistency of this statement with Dawkins passionate life of purpose. Dawkins had no meaningful answer. Social convention, cultural consensus, and evolved human herd instincts ultimate express only the result of natual selection and genetic mutation working to the advantange of human procreation and survival, but they provide no defensible grounds for moral accountability and Right and Wrong. Put bluntly, Right and Wrong don't exist in any meaningful, nonarbitrary way in an atheist belief system. So to get an ought out of what is, Right and Wrong need to be meaningfully grounded in the nature of the universe. Since God is the ground of all Being, the only way to establish objective morally is to claim it as an aspect of Supreme Creative Intelligence, otherwise known as God. This insight is not propaganda fueled by Christian writers like C. S. Lewis; it is the basis of the branch of philosophical ethics knowns as Metaethics. Alternative moral systems like Act and Rule Utilitarianism and Acts nd Rule Deontology collapse under challenge because they are arbitrary constructs. Without God, there is no compelling reason to care about contributing to a world that works for everyone as opposed to doing whatever one pleases. The counterargument that society while generally impose negative sanctions on individuals with no moral scruples is irrelevant because (1) it is a pragmatic, not a moral argument and (2) because it cannot account for the ability to get away with immoral and criminal conduct. In simpler terms, Vince has no grounds for claiming that he is a good and decent person in anything but an arbitrary and emotive sense.
     
  15. amadeus

    amadeus Well-Known Member

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    You cannot find the ultimate standard of morality because you have not really found God. We as believers may still only see it as "through a glass darkly" but see it we do. The darkened glass vision may make us differ in precisely what we believe and in how we react to what we believe, but it does NOT change the absolute reality of God. There a "then" for a "face to face" vision but most [or even all of us] may come short of that at the moment, but again the "then" is not beyond us if we are being properly led.
     
  16. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    First, why won't you address my OP? Many of the things you say in your responses I address in my OP but you so far refuse to acknowledge them. Why?

    I agree. The universe was not made for you. 99.999% of the space in the universe will kill you if you were there.

    So what, that is Dawkins and I bet he did have something to say about it.

    Neither does it in your belief system. I discussed this in my OP, want to comment on it?

    Not really, read my OP.

    You need to demonstrate that a god exists. There does not have to be objective right and wrong as you think about it.

    I disagree, read my OP.

    Read my OP and comment. I do have grounds to determine right and wrong for the same reasons you do. We both can have objective morality based on a subjective basis or goal. Read my OP and comment.
     
  17. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    If the god of the bible is the standard of morality it is subjective. It is also immoral. He advocates slavery, genocide, rape victims marrying their attackers, beating slaves, sex slavery etc. My morality based on my OP is a better morality than that. There is no ultimate objective morality even if god exists because god gets to determine morality however he wants, that is subjective.

    I have a subjective goal of well-being and I can reason whether an action is objectively good or bad based on that subjective goal. You have a subjective standard as well that you can objectively reason whether an actin is good or bad. We are in the same boat we just have a different subjective basis.
     
  18. amadeus

    amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Subjective according to your perceptions and deductions or conclusions and also immoral according to your code of standards.[/quote]

    You don't know the God that I know. You don't have not been taught by the Teacher who has taught me... and it is NOT a man. You do not understand nor do you want to understand God's overall plan for men. Until you do your words are meaningless outside of the boundaries which you have set for yourselves and want to set for others.

    It is subjective for you and as my carnal mind alone perceives it, it would also be subjective. However for the reality in the vision which God has given me it is not. It is absolute... even if my vision remains of a grainy texture.

    No, my friend you have NOT a clue as to what I really have. If you did, you would either have it also or would desire to have it.
     
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  19. Vince

    Vince Active Member

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    No, If god decides what is right and wrong that is subjective. You are objectively following a subjective moral code just Like I do.


    Is the god of the bible different than the one you know? I am only quoting his words, rules and commands.



    Gods morality is subjective, you following it is objective because you can compare your actions to his standard, but his standard is still subjective.



    Then why does god command immoral acts? None of this addresses why you dismiss those verses that call for immoral acts.
     
  20. aspen

    aspen “"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few

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    Better not tell the diet industry. They count on their customers to behave subjectively to the objective rules of their diet plan.

    God follows His own rules. If He “woke up” each day, acting completely unpredictably, He and our universe would be unknowable.

    I would questioned it because if the requirement was foreign to what I know about God’s character, I would assume I was incorrect in my understanding. I am not a Calvinist for this very reason - the doctrine does not match what I know about God’s character. Frankly, if I suddenly found myself standing before a god that was a hyperCalvinist, I would excuse myself and starting looking for the door because I would assume I wandered into Hell accidentally.

    So you view Christ as a human sacrifice? Not as a man who gave up everything for love?

    I do not believe that God had to murder His Son so he could forgive the very trespasses he allowed to exist within us. I treat my dog better than that.

    Yes lying is sinful because it is a lesser/broken form of truth. Unfortunately, people have been framing God since Abram’s house God started talking back to him. Indeed, people of all cultures and faith practices have a propensity for assigning their own character traits to God. Yet, through all this, God has loved us and continues to reveal himself.

    The Bible is inspired by God, not dictated by Him. Often mistaken for God by fundamentalists, the scriptures are mostly comprised of a long record of humanity failings; to understand God, His plan for us and of treating their neighbors like objects and often, obstacles to be removed.

    I believe the stories of Jesus and His partial teachings and his ministry; reintroducing us to the reason for our existence, which is loving God and neighbor perfectly. I believe the Bible is helpful for me in many ways - it teaches, inspires, provides perspective, and encourages me to continue loving others in in a sometimes cruel world.

    Well, it does help to be omnipotent....and to be the definition and very Form of love. I think God’s law must be consistent with God’s character of Love, at all times, in order to be followed. If it deviates from God’s character it is outside of His will and must be a misunderstanding.
     
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