Monday, July 1, 2013

Morality? What Morality?

Atheists usually argue that morality is subjective because, well, theists argue that morality is objective. Some atheists also argue this because they accept the reality that people define their morality in different ways. This is undebatably the way it is, but doesn’t have to be. If everyone defined morality identically, it could be objective sans deity. Apologists claim that God is needed for a moral standard. The way I see it, a moral standard is needed and this standard not only needn't be God, but it can’t be God.

I define right conduct as simply that which benefits others more than it harms. Wrong conduct is obviously that which harms others more than it benefits. This is a moral standard. From here we can take any action and determine it’s morality objectively. Going on a shooting spree causes direct harm to everyone hit and therefore is morally wrong. Stopping the shooter benefits all those who would have been hit and is therefore morally right. Even if one must kill the shooter to save the rest, it is a morally right action because a greater benefit comes from the one instance of harm. Few would say that this isn't a more nuanced and correct application of morality then strictly following the commandment "thou shalt not kill."

Christian’s define morality in terms of God then use that definition of morality as evidence for God--hold on, y'know I don’t want to generalize.
If there is a Christian within the sight of my text who both believes our morality is evidence for God yet doesn’t use a specific definition of morality in terms of God, please comment or e-mail me. Any definitions referring to the nature of God or an obligation to God are obviously invalid.
Okay, if and when I hear back from someone I’ll update, until then I’ll continue.

Christian’s define morality in terms of God then use that definition of morality as evidence for God. This is textbook circular reasoning which is completely invalid. The Christian doesn’t believe morality exists as I define it and I don’t believe morality exists as they define it. When whether or not this or that version of morality exists is put into question, it makes debate over its objectivity mute. All we can do is bring into focus their fallacious thinking--which is almost always met with defensivness. It’s best to be gentle when pointing out to someone their mental record is skipping.*

*Wow, timely reference. Maybe I should have gone with “their mental streaming video is buffering.” That’s awful wordy. I feel old.


  1. I know where you are going with this, but I am wondering if maybe you want to tweak your definition a little.

    "I define right conduct as simply that which benefits others more than it harms."

    If we both have the same amount of money, but then I steal $5 from you, it harms as much as it benefits. Further down that spectrum, all forms of Robin-Hood-esque thievery becomes the right thing to do, and we would then have a moral compulsion to do it.

    1. How an action benefits or harms the actor shouldn't factor into morality. I see I wasn't clear about that. So a gain of money to the actor (the theif) isn't part of the benefit/harm analysis.

      But you make an even better point with the Robin Hood example. He does harm and benefit equally in terms of dollar amounts. You could argue that it is net benefit because the poor need the money more than the rich. It would be a problem for my definition if it ever actually happened...outside of the government at least. :-) Maybe Robin Hood is moral, or maybe I need to alter my definition.

    2. I know, right? There is a certain morality in Robin Hood, or at least there can be a morality in those actions if the "victim" is overly stingy. But that just leaves it in a gray spot. :-/

  2. The problem is, you're still not talking about anything objective. You picked the standard. It was your choice, therefore the standard is subjective. Further, it's up to people's personal subjective ideas what constitutes "benefit" and what constitutes "harm", another subjective element.

    There simply is no way to come to a truly objective measure of morality, it will always have some measure of human decision and subjectivity involved.

    1. True, it comes from a subjective place, but it can be applied objectively...I think.

    2. Only if defined very narrowly, which yours didn't (I'm assuming due to lack of time and space). It also assumes people are going to agree with your standard which is almost certainly not true universally.

      And of course, since it isn't objectively come by, it isn't an objective moral system, even if you manage to squeak some form of objectivity into it somewhere. People need to stop pretending that morality is at all objective, it just isn't.

  3. I still think it does not make a difference if morality is subjective or objective towards the atheism debate. After all if its objective then you first need to prove God/god. If its subjective then you do not need a god. So morality does not help us in the god question anyway.

    1. The Euthyphro Dilemma destroys the theist's argument that morality is founded in god. Is something morally good because god commands it, or does god command it because it's morally good? There's no way out of those two options.

    2. The Euthyphro Dilemma ruins the moral argument for God, but there are other things wrong with the argument too and since apologists somehow are unimpressed with Euthyphro I try to explore all sides of the argument.

    3. Actually it does not destroy/ruin anything, as the Euthyphro Dilemma is a false dilemma, from,

      The Euthyphro Dilemma

      The Euthyphro dilemma as offered by skeptics of the moral argument goes like this:

      Is something good because God wills it to be good?
      Or does God will something because it is good already?
      These are the two ‘horns’ of the dilemma.

      If something is good because God wills it, then goodness is arbitrary. God could have willed that selfishness and hatred were good. If he had done so, then we would be morally obligated to hate and be selfish. In previous discussions on morality, we’ve decided that morality is objective, not arbitrary, so this doesn’t make sense. It questions our belief in how moral values and duties can be objective.

      For the second part, if God wills something because it is Good, then goodness must exist apart from God. This contradicts our first premise in the moral argument, that God’s existence is necessary for the existence of moral values.

      Splitting Euthyphro’s Horns

      If a dilemma with limited choices is presented, you should always consider that these choices may not be your only options. Euthyphro’s case is a prime example. There is a third alternative…and who knows?, there could be others that no one has come up with yet, but Christianity teaches this third alternative for the basis of morality:

      God wills something because He is good.

      What does this mean? It means that the nature of God is the standard of goodness. God’s nature is just the way God is. He doesn’t ‘will’ Himself to be good, and kind, and just, and holy…He just is these things. His commandments to us are an expression of that nature, so our moral duties stem from the commands of a God who IS good…and loving…and just…not a God who arbitrarily decides that he will command something on a whim, but gives commandments that stem from His unchanging character.

      If God’s character defines what is good. His commands must reflect His moral nature.

      Could God Have Made Torture Morally Good By Commanding It?

      When asked if doing something like torturing toddlers would be obligatory if God commanded it…you are being asked an incoherent question, like asking “Would a married bachelor be faithful to his wife?” It’s a logically incoherent question because there is no such thing as a married bachelor, so it doesn’t make sense to ask about how a married bachelor (a logical impossibility) would behave.

      God cannot issue commands contrary to His nature. The question: “Would torturing toddlers be morally obligatory if God commanded it?” is asking for a description of a situation that is an impossibility. God, at least the God taught by Christianity, can not command the torture of toddlers, or anything else contrary to His nature or His character, to be a moral duty or obligation.

      So his nature determines what is good and bad, and his will determines what is right and wrong…and His will flows from the way He is…His nature.

      Think of it this way…could you issue commands that are contrary to your nature? Could you command your child to abuse other younger children, just for the heck of it? (Substitute any other child you know if you don’t have children of your own.) Could you will that to happen and command your child to do it, or would your ‘nature’ or character stop you? We’re not talking about being under duress with all kinds of extenuating circumstances that may cause world destruction and the torture of everyone else you know with this example. God is not under duress…and He does not, and can not act in contradiction to His nature.

      The Euthyphro dilemma is a false one because there is at least one other choice that splits the horns of the dilemma. This option, taught as part of the Christian doctrine of who God is, is perfectly consistent with the concept that God must exist for objective morality to exist in our world.

    4. The dilemma applies to the assumed moral nature of your supposed God as well. If God's nature is good and it could be no other way...who made God's nature as such? If someone made God's nature good, then we should probably worship that God...if only we could know why that God made good what it is. Potential infinite regress of moral responsibility here. If no one made God's nature good, then it's possible for beings to have good natures without a higher being. Therefore the same can apply to us.

      Please don't copy and paste other people's faulty logic. At least come up with your own.

    5. "who made God's nature as such?"

      Ding Ding Ding! There lies the fallacy, First Uncaused Cause Requires no Cause, YHWH is The First Uncaused Cause, He has no cause, Who Made God's Nature? No one, He is The First Uncaused Cause, Infinite Regression is impossible.

      The Dilemma is refuted, Morality is basically Laws from YHWH BASED on who He is, simple, He is who He is, why? Scientific Fact, First Uncaused Cause.

      " If someone made God's nature good"

      Nobody made The First Uncaused Cause, quit the unintellectual fallacy. No one caused God, He is The First Uncaused Cause. Infinite Regression is dismissed.

      " then we should probably worship that God"

      Why does God require a Cause? Who argues this? Stop with Dawkins Fallacy and accept when you lose an argument.

      "Potential infinite regress of moral responsibility here"

      And Infinite Regression is Impossible, so it again leads to God(YHWH)

      " If no one made God's nature good, then it's possible for beings to have good natures without a higher being. Therefore the same can apply to us."

      No it is not, The Different is that God is always existence, He is Existence, WE humans were caused, started to exist and these moral properties are distinct from us, you again commit a fallacy. if YHWH started to exist like we did, then you'd have an argument, He is basically existence, we aren't, we started to exist.

      Post refuted, if you are intellectually honest you'd remove the post and admit my argument was right, as I would had you won.

      "Please don't copy and paste other people's faulty logic. At least come up with your own."

      Yet you copied Dawkins fallacy of "who caused God?"

      The post is refuted.

      I'd like to debate you on, when you agree to debate email me at

    6. I don't get the basis, What's the basis behind, "What caused God?"

      It's not like humans or the universe whom we know started to exist. #1 it isn't required for God to be caused and #2 God being The First Uncaused Cause means He cannot have a Cause, He is.

  4. "Going on a shooting spree causes direct harm to everyone hit and therefore is morally wrong."

    This is circular, it begs the question, Why is Harm morally wrong? then we'd answer, "Because we don't like it"

    and it begs the question, why should we care if others get harmed because we don't like it ourselves?

    then we'd answer, "because we have Compassion thus care for others"

    Then it begs another question, What caused compassion?

    We know we didn't cause compassion, so where is compassion from and what caused it? Bingo, no mindless cause could've caused Compassion? Why? not an assertion, but a fact logically, philosophically, physically and Scientifically that a Cause must have Equal or Greater properties than the effect it produces, it is impossible for something to cause another thing which it lacks the properties for.

    For example our cause Must have the ability to create matter, otherwise it isn't our cause.

    Thus whoever caused compassion must have the property of, Compassion, Compassion requires a mind as it is personal, no mindless/unthinking entity can have compassion,

    thus Compassion is caused by a mind, Morality is Objective and from a Mind(YHWH: The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit)

    1. Think of it this way, you surely know the Golden Rule. Even though it is in the bible, it explains why we shouldn't harm others as social animals independent of God. We don't want the harm coming upon ourselves, which, by setting the standard of harm, will eventually happen.

    2. "We don't want the harm coming upon ourselves,"

      Why don't we want to bring harm upon ourselves?

  5. More problems with this website, on your about God page, you say,

    "He probably doesn't exist. On the off chance a creator of some kind does exist, he isn't the idealized version of the Almighty that our religions portray. It is contradictory to be omni-anything.

    This isn't a bad thing. You can now be responsible for your own actions. If you do something great, give glory to yourself. You don't have original sin, so you need only feel guilty for harm you cause others, which hopefully ain't much."

    Lets analyze,

    "He probably doesn't exist."

    With no proof of the probability of not existing.

    "On the off chance a creator of some kind does exist, he isn't the idealized version of the Almighty that our religions portray.

    Yes He is, as He is The Moral Basis, as evil is a Lack of Good, and He is The Good, which means He is the Almighty demonstrated in The Scripture(Old and New Testament, Father, and The Son and The Holy Spirit)

    "You can now be responsible for your own actions. If you do something great, give glory to yourself."

    How can you give glory to yourself, when everything Good done is from the Source of Good... God? it isn't something egotistical when YHWH asks for Glory, it's just realistic, how can you give glory to yourself when you cannot do anything good apart from... The Good(God/YHWH: The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit)

    "You don't have original sin,"

    Agreed, no one does, this is a false doctrine, called calvinism, unfound in the Scripture(Old and New Testamnet), it is secular.

    "so you need only feel guilty for harm you cause others, which hopefully ain't much."

    Which is what The Bible says(In Matthew 22:36-40) all you did here was take from what The Bible says, that harm is wrong and that we should Love our Neighbor as Ourselves, and Love Good and Love... Love, and God(YHWH: The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit) is Love.(1 John 4:8)

    1. What religion are you, Rafael?

    2. Scripture Only, from YHWH(The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit)