So, it came to my attention the other day that some atheists are trying to get around the issue of morality being relative without a Divine Source for morality (the idea being that as there is no god, therefore things like morality come from man, thus each man decides what is right). Yes, this is apparently a problem, having relative morality.
It means that people can justify just about anything they want. Which is bad. Apparently.
So, some are seeking to put for the the idea of Universal Morality, i.e. that somethings are Universally Wrong, and some are Universally Right. Of course, this is not without its pitfalls, as I am sure that those attempting this are finding.
Honestly, I think the Atheists should have stuck to their science, because while they may have the home field advantage in “disproving” the Divine, they are in about the worst battle field they can get when it comes to Morality. You can’t put Morality to a scientific test. Like the Divine and Spiritual, Morality is an ephemeral concept with no “scientific” grounding. Of course, some atheists run with the amorality of science, but that doesn’t work so well for holding societies together. Doing what thou wilt being the whole of the law tends to turn into one of those Might Makes Right situation where anything is acceptable as long as you can get away with it.
My evil little heart doesn’t see the problem with this on a personal level, but it is kinda bad for society. Or so people say. I’m not sure it really makes things different from what they already are, but that is something for another post.
Back to the topic at hand though. See, people can argue all they like that certain things are Universally Right and Universally Wrong. Of course, if it was that easy, we wouldn’t have had the field of ethics in philosophy since it started way back in the dawns of history and then some. And it was hard enough to answer these questions when we were working with Gods and Goddesses. The Monotheists came closest to achieving it, with their One God and his Universal Morality, but then again they are so sub divided again and again, unable to agree on anything, that they too failed spectacularly. And that was with their God as the Source of all morality.
It gets a lot harder when you don’t have a “source.” And morality isn’t like gravity, or time, or light. You can’t scientifically experience morality. You can define it in your mind, you can say a thing is or isn’t, but not everyone is going to agree with you. We can all agree what gravity does, and we all go through time the same way, and most of us experience light pretty much the same way. Morality though, that is different.
Morality says for one group of people that it is okay to kill their daughters for shaming them by being raped. It says to another that it is okay to kill the rapist who shamed their daughter. It says to a third that there is no shame on the family, but it was the woman’s fault. It says to a fourth that it was the man’s fault. It says to a fifth that there is no fault, because it was a biological imperative to propagate the species.
Now, take those five Moral answers. Try to find the Universal Right and Wrong in there. Guess what, you’re gonna get people taking all of them, and coming up with even more answers. And you can’t prove that anyone is more right or wrong! For every instance, there is an argument and a counter argument, and a counter counter argument!
The fact is that there is no universal morality out there. Be it coming from Gods or Mortals, there is never an agreement on what is moral. People can argue that killing is Universally Wrong, but what happens when the only way to save a life is to end another? Or something like torture, but what if torturing one saves tens, hundreds, thousands, millions? Is one morally more correct for not torturing one person and letting untold numbers die, or have they commuted a far more terrible moral crime by letting others die by not torturing one? What if going to war is Wrong, but not going to war means not having the supplies need to feed and protect your family, thus meaning they die? If killing is morally wrong, on a universal scale, then there is no way not to be wrong. And if there is no way not to be wrong….what are left with, the idea that all sin? Well if all sin, then you need something to forgive them. But there is no God, so there is nothing with the power to forgive!
Of course, I suppose there is what some secularists and Atheists are going for, which is that the State takes the place of God. Perhaps the State will forgive you for your “sins.” But then we’re dealing with “men” making the morality, and frankly considering the bang up job governments do of running things, I’d really rather not have them deciding my morality anymore than they already do.
And then you’re right back to where you started. Every action, no matter how horrific, can be morally justified. Morality can come from Gods, or from Men, and it will always be as different and varied as such being always are. But there is no Universal Morality, and even if there was, we’d have no way of finding it or proving it better than any of the others out there.
There is only one Universal Truth: Power. All else is commentary. Go and study.