#43 – Does the absurdity of a universe with no objective morality make a moral lawgiver necessary?

IMG_2472Imagine a world in which there were no objective morality. In such a world, humans would necessarily be evil, right? No. This conclusion does not follow. Is there anything about the absence of morality that would require humans to act like predators rather than like puppies or pandas? No. A lack of morality would not require humans to hurt one another. However in a world devoid of morality, we can imagine humans possibly evolving to act more like predatory wolves. Does this ugly possibility make the existence of a moral-lawgiver a logical necessary? No. A world without objective morality could simply be a cruel world without morality, our yearning for moral laws notwithstanding. Many Christian leaders suggest that, because a world without morality would be extremely emotionally unsatisfying and abhorrent, that there must be some logical requirement for a moral lawgiver. But does this conclusion follow? Could our emotions ever make aspects of our reality necessary?

Not all Christian leaders suggest that, were there no objective morality to constrain our behavior, there would be nothing to keep us from hurting others. But many do. Do you think they are right? Do not compassion and empathy also guide our behaviors? Do not those who cultivate compassion and empathy often act more altruistically than those claiming to be following some objective morality? Objective morality is demonstrably not necessary for humans to act out of kindness and concern for others.

And which form of altruistic behavior is most noble? Treating others well out of obligation and fear of consequences? Or treating others well out of compassion and empathy?

Far from resulting in absurdity, a world without morality containing compassion and empathy could result in a very warm and wonderful world in which humans, guided only by these positive emotions, treat one another as they do their own loved ones.

One excellent way to assess the need for a moral code is to explore cultures in which there is no coherent unified moral code, and assess how humans there treat one another. The crime statistics of countries with little belief and agreement on objective moral codes such as Japan and Scandinavian counties in contrast to crime statistics of counties with stronger notions of objective morality are worth examining.

An even better way to assess whether we need more than empathy to behave well is to befriend individuals who do not hold to an objective moral code. Assess, not only their behavior, but their hearts. Are they kind to you out of duty or fear? Or are they kind to you out of a genuine affection for you?

(See also #41.)

Additional Notes:

A fairly unproductive way of calculating consequences of behavior not based on objective morality is tallying up individuals in power, Christian or otherwise, who have treated people poorly. Those in power often desire and acquire that position through an egoistical or emotionally traumatized psyche. When assessing the general psychology of those with and without a commitment to an objective moral code, the statistically assessed behaviors of all the members of a given society are far more significant than the actions of a single benevolent or maleficent leader. This means that neither the number of lives saved by altruistic unbelievers such as Bill Gates, nor the number of lives ruined or killed by horrible unbelievers such as Stalin are poor measure of the consequences of unbelief.

So if there is no objective morality, humans can do whatever they want with no obligation to treat others well. But the rational individual does not stop at this conclusion. The rational individual will acknowledge that they have goals, and that there are some paths to those goals that are far more likely to succeed than others. It is suggested that those who cultivate compassion and empathy far more easily accomplish their own happiness But you will want to assess this for yourself.

P1: If there were no objective moral realm, there could still exist compassion and empathy.
P2: If there could exist compassion and empathy, the world could be indistinguishable from a world in which there were an objective moral realm.

Conclusion: If there were no objective moral realm, there could still be a world indistinguishable from a world with an objective moral realm.
{P1 – P3}IMG_2472


#42 | #43 | #44