Morality

I once had a teacher in high school who said that if God didn’t exist we should all be hedonists.  We should all live in the moment and do what feels right to us.

If you want to go have continual orgiastic sex all day long – have at it.

If you want to go smoke pot all day – have at it.

Those that don’t believe in God will say “Great.”

If you want to go kill your neighbor because he borrowed your rake and forget to give it back – have at it.

If you want to rob a bank because you want a new car – have at it.

Now, some of you are probably saying “WAIT A MINUTE – that’s not the same thing…. the first two are totally voluntary and don’t hurt anyone, but the other two hurt people and that is wrong.”

So?  You don’t believe in God.  What does it matter?

I have some hard news for people.  Without God there can be no “GOOD” and no “EVIL.” These are moral constructs and they require a basis in something which is beyond reproach. 

If you deny God than you place that basis in men, whose opinions change from individual to individual.  What is “good” for me might be faithful obedience to what some may think is a fictional god while what is “good” to someone else is an act of violence, or a crime.   This line of thinking is called moral individualism which is when what is moral is defined by each individual and may vary from person to person.

Well what about using the common good as a basis for morality?  Surely that would be more reliable.  That worked fairly well throughout history right?  Shared values must produce reliable measures of “good” within a culture.

Think about the various populist movements of the past.

Red Terror Victims – Kharkov, Ukraine.

Lenin and Trotsky ushered in socialism, which spread throughout much of the world thereafter, in Russia and the body count from that multi-decade experiment will never truly be known.  It has been estimated at 149,649,610 dead through civil war, famine, ethnic cleansings, political imprisonment, death squads, etc.

Holocaust Victims, Buchenwald Concentration Camp – Weimar, Germany

Hitler ushered in national socialism in Germany, which was accompanied by fascism in Italy.  Both were fairly popular during their rise to power since their adherents were democratically elected into office.

These two examples are just a small fraction of the moments where the majority’s opinion rules.  This is moral populism where whatever the majority says is “right” and is “good” is defined in that fashion.

Large, noisy groups, however interesting, cannot be the final arbiters of right and wrong. When consensus becomes our sole guiding light it may all-too-often seem morally legitimate for a majority to oppress a minority, and that, surely, is immoral.

A Blog For All Seasons

Moral individualism leads to anarchy.  Moral populism leads to mob rule.

One of the central themes of my writing to date is God.  By assuming the mantle of the arbiter of good and evil, we defy God.  We assume that we know what is good because of what?  Mushy feelings?  That warm tingle running up (or down) our leg?

How fickle.  How prideful that man would think himself equal to God and able to decide what is truly good.

If God is not the center of your life than you are vacillating around this world operating on a foundation-less morality or none at all.

How can you know what you are doing is truly good or right?  Are you willing to bet for all eternity that I am wrong?

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

Psalm 19:7-9

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  1. The Mob « freedomsbrushfire

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