Is this because I suck? Maybe, but I doubt it. Morality is a multilayered issue. It’s more than commandments. It’s even more than the Golden Rule, which is probably the most utilitarian moral cliff-note available. I think the best way to verbalize my view of morality is a set of “best practices” to live by. Let's break it down one last time.
Right vs. Wrong
Let’s rebrand “right” and “wrong” as “better” and “worse.” I say “better” and not “best” because the “best” thing for an individual may be at the expense of others. Morality only makes sense as a term when it's applied to the group. We are moral because we are social. We are social because others enrich our lives.
Objective vs. Subjective Morality
Morality varies across cultures. Even within the U.S., polls show there are many issues that have the population split as to their moral worth. This is evidence for subjective morality. The only "evidence" any one has ever presented for objective morality is asking a question similar to "is murder wrong?" To which I give my answer, "yes." The answer is my belief that murder is wrong. It's subjective. Your belief, which is also likely to be that murder is wrong, is subjective. The argument of common consent basically states that most people believe in God therefore God exists. This argument of common consent seems to be their basis for objective morality as well. Most people believe murder is wrong, therefore it is wrong. Unlike the argument of common consent as applied to God, I am part of the consent in regards to murder, but that only means that we should treat murder as wrong. To say it is wrong, or in fact exists at all outside of humanity's ability to conceive and act upon it, is unfounded. In addition, belief in objective morality is dangerous. The same people who don't just believe murder is wrong, but know it is wrong, also know that homosexuality and other victimless "sins" are wrong. With this supposed infallible knowledge they can enforce what are really just opinions without considering the possibility that they are wrong. Abortion clinic bombers not only know that abortion is wrong, but they know they are doing the Lord's work. To paraphrase MiB's Agent Kay, "Imagine what they'll know tomorrow."
The Argument from Moral Truth
While I don't see any evidence for objective morality, this argument is flawed to the point of uselessness even granting a universal moral truth. The argument states:
- There exist objective moral truths. (murder is not just distasteful, but it's actually wrong.)
- These objective moral truths are not grounded in the way the world is but, rather, in the way the world ought to be. (Consider: should white supremacists succeed, taking over the world and eliminating all who don’t meet their criteria for being existence-worthy, their ideology still would be morally wrong. It would be true, in this hideous counterfactual, that the world ought not to be the way that they have made it.)
- The world itself—the way it is, the laws of science that explain why it is that way—cannot account for the way the world ought to be.
- The only way to account for morality is that God established morality (from 2 and 3).
- Therefore God exists.
The Bible as a source of morality.
Biblical morals to follow and interpret them to be relevant to our society. The question here is, if you need the Bible to give you your morals, how do you know which morals in the Bible are the most moral? It's, of course, because we already had morality before we checked the "good book." It makes sense, if the majority of people didn't think murder was a bad thing prior to Moses, I doubt humanity would have survived long enough to get those tablets. If you believe that sort of thing.