Sunday, April 5, 2009

Am I really a good person?

C. Do objective morals, values and obligations exist?

A. Absolutely not! Right on wrong are decided by societal standards, combined with strategies for survival.

C. So discrimination against homosexuals or against atheists might be ok depending upon the society in which they live?

A. No, that’s not right. Discrimination is always wrong.

C. What about the rightness of love. Is that decided by society’s standards and a survival strategy?

A. No love is always right.

C. Well, what about killing 6 million people? The society that killed them thought that it was absolutely the right thing to do.

A. They were wrong about that.

C. How can they be wrong if they as a society decided that it was right? And they thought it was right for their very survival?

A. Murdering anyone is always wrong.

C. The Germans saw it as a solution that society required in order to progress.

A. It’s doesn’t matter. Murder is wrong regardless of whether someone thinks it right.

C. But that’s just your belief. It's not an objective fact.

A. Mmm maybe.

C. And the rest of the world should live by your beliefs?

A. Regardless of whatever kind of mumbo jumbo you use to twist what I’m saying, murder is always wrong.

C. Same with discrimination?

A. That’s right.

C. So they’re objectively wrong?

A. Y-yes. Yes, they’re objectively wrong.

C. On what basis do you claim that those things are objectively wrong and love is objectively right?

A. Because everyone knows that it’s so.

C. Many people do not agree with you. Why do you think that your values are more correct that those of someone else?

A. So what are you trying to say?

C. I think that if God does not exist, and you and other atheists say that He doesn’t, then objective morals, values and duties do not exist.

A. Right. So what’s your problem?

C. But we know that objective morals, values and obligations DO exist. You just said as much yourself. For example, we know that rape is not just a behaviour that’s socially unacceptable, rape is really and truly wrong, objectively wrong. Because we know that things like rape are wrong regardless of what people think, we can know that there is an objective basis for saying that it’s wrong.

A. So what’s your point.

C. My point is that things like discrimination or murder or rape are not up for discussion. We know and we know at a fundamental level that right and wrong exist independent of what you and I think. Therefore God exists.

A. Why can’t we just say that if most people agree that this or that is right or wrong, then this or that really is right or wrong?

C. You CAN say that. We do it all the time. It’s called selective morality or relative morality. It’s not called objective morality which you yourself just admitted exists. In fact, you know objective morality exists and you know it absolutely when someone else does something to hurt you.

A. Are you saying that and atheist can’t be a good person without God? That’s bigotry.

C. No. I’m not saying that. Listen:
We don’t need God to be morally good people
We don’t need God to formulate a system of morals, values and obligations.
We don’t need God to recognise that there are objective morals, values and obligations.
We don’t even have to BELIEVE in God to recognise that there are objective morals, values and obligations that exist apart from what the society that we’re living in believes.

However we DO need God for there to BE objective morals, values and obligations.
Without God our concept of right and wrong changes with the ebb and flow of society’s beliefs.

A. Give me an example.

C. You and I know that the slavery that existed in the United States is wrong regardless of what people think. But U.S. society back then thought that type of slavery was ok. Nevertheless it was objectively wrong.

A. But I don’t see why God has to be included to make something objectively wrong.

C. Because God is the least arbitrary place to stop. There is nothing beyond God. Any place along the line from us to God is nothing more than desire or preference; likes or dislikes.

A. Why can’t we do that?

C. I told you. We CAN do that. But that doesn’t take away from the reality that some things are objectively wrong. And because we know beyond doubt that some things are objectively wrong we can know that the place where the buck stops must be God.. Without Him anything and everything is up to the people or group with the most power. In an atheist world-view Might is Right.

A. So, even if I believe that I’m a moral relativist, which I do believe, you believe that I could still be found guilty of breaking objective moral obligations.

C. That would be correct.

A. You’re crazy.

C. I don’t think so, but sometime between today and the next few decades you and I will know for sure.

Good luck with that.

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