If there is no Objective Morality,How to hold responsibility?

36 posts / 0 new
Last post
DRKFUTURE's picture
If there is no Objective Morality,How to hold responsibility?

I know that Most Atheist hold the view that there is no objective morality, If there is no Objective Morality, then how do u hold somebody responsible for misdeed? How do you determine good or bad?

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Cognostic's picture
@DRKFUTURE: What makes you

@DRKFUTURE: What makes you think a moral actin can not be objective?
You and I are standing on the street at a red light. A blind man comes along tapping his cane and begins walking into the street and oncoming traffic. What is the moral thing to do? (How is this not completely objective?)

Why would an atheist assert that morality is not objective? With the exception of moral dilemmas, that which is moral is generally agreed upon within a given context. Put more simply, "Within a given context, omitting dilemmas, morality is always objective."

DRKFUTURE's picture
then where do we get that

then where do we get that objectivity of morality? The definition of morality keeps changing. Do we need God to lay down Objective Morality? if objective morality is dependent on a given context, then its no more objective anymore.

Sheldon's picture
Hoe do you know an

Hoe do you know an objectively moral deity exists? How do you objectively know what it wants? How do you know what it wants IS objectively moral?

Before presenting the false dichotomy fallacy of secular subjective morality or objective religious morality, you'll need to demonstrate the latter exists.

Given the barbarically cruel sadistic and evil nature of the deities in both bible and Koran, I'd say you have an uphill task.

Cognostic's picture
What do you mean where do we

What do you mean where do we get it? Look around you. Pick any culture any society and sub group in society and you find morality. Human beings are group animals. Any group of animals that lives in proximity to one another develop moral behavior (Dogs, Bats, Monkeys, Apes, Lions, Whales, any animal that lives in a group.) The more complex the animal the more complex the moral behaviors.

Early clans had to establish rules. Who did what jobs? Who ate first? What to do with the dead? Who can have sex with whom? What to do with children? What to do with the elderly? And on and on and on..... From clans, morality becomes more complex in tribes, then townships, countries, states, and so on. You learn morality from the world around you.

RE: " if objective morality is dependent on a given context, then its no more objective anymore."

YOU ARE WRONG. I can give you a thousand different contexts and you and I are going to agree on the appropriate moral action almost every single time. If not. ONE OF US IS CERTAINLY NOT MORAL.

You think there is something called "Objective Morality" independent of a given situation or context. Please list a few examples of this morality that is free of context.

(You are not actually talking about "Objective Morality." You have it confused with some idea of "Absolute Morality." There is no "Absolute morality." If you think there is,,,, same as above..... please list your examples that are free of context,.

DRKFUTURE's picture
ya ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, I was

ya ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, I was looking for this term 'ABSOLUTE MORALITY', now it makes sense. Thank u very much.
But I knew that objective morality is independent of TIME, Subject of the statement and the Observer- am I wrong in here?
Can u plz make the difference between objective morality and subjective morality in layman term
(I feel u dont agree to 'subjective morality')
Give me an example of ABSOLUTE MORALITY.

Cognostic's picture
DRKFUTURE;

DRKFUTURE;

Absolute Morality: I can not give you an example. I have never seen an example. All I know of Absolute Morality is that it is an assertion that theists make. It appears to be a moral dictate from their supreme deity and I might equate it to Plato's Forms. "Forms are abstract, perfect, unchanging concepts or ideals that transcend time and space; they exist in the Realm of Forms." In essence they are simply ideas that the theists have, a bit like the God idea, that are assumed without any reasonable facts or evidence what so ever.

Objective Morality: I will use Matt D's example of a Chess game. As long as we are agreeing to play the game of chess, and assuming we want to win the game, there are best moves we can make. There are reasonably objective moves that lead us to our goal of winning the game.

In any given context (Similar to the idea of the Chess game.) There are objectively moral and amoral ways of behaving. Assuming you are intending to play the game, you will opt for reasonable moral behavior within any given context. The game we play for morality is "Well Being." If you are not interested in your own well being or the well being of others, you are not playing the game. It is possible to sit down at the chess board with the intention of losing, not playing or even cheating. All of these, of course, interfere with the well being of the game and of the other players. We get along in society because we all function with consideration for the well being of ourselves and others. That is why we don't scream and yell in libraries. That is why we try to stay in our own lanes on the streets. It is why we wait for the light to turn green before walking into traffic. It is why we do not hit our wives. It is also why we don't run about randomly beating people, robbing people or killing.

Those who do not play the game are removed. In clans they were killed, shunned, or banished. We do the same things today. People who do not follow the morality of the tribe are ostracized, marginalized, or locked away.

Subjective Morality: Any statement called moral that would not have "well being" at its core.

DRKFUTURE's picture
"All I know of Absolute

"All I know of Absolute Morality is that it is an assertion that theists make."- Nope, Dr William Lane Craig calls it Objective morality as u do, he even made the difference between them. He says God is objectively moral, not absolutely moral. How do u refute that now?

"Subjective Morality: Any statement called moral that would not have "well being" at its core." can u explain a bit more.I still cant figure out where subjective morality fit in?

In the chess example of Matt Dilahanty, where is the 'well-being' part in there?

By "amoral" do u mean 'absence of morality/no sense of morality" ?

Nyarlathotep's picture
DRKFUTURE - Nope, Dr William

DRKFUTURE - Nope, Dr William Lane Craig calls it...

Craig is a famous (or perhaps infamous) Christian apologist. You aren't going to convince anyone here by appealing to that "authority".

DRKFUTURE's picture
No no I m not saying I m

No no I m not saying I m appealing to his authority, "Cognostic" above said that its the view of Atheist, so I just told about Craig's view.

xenoview's picture
@DRKFUTURE

@DRKFUTURE
Morals are subjective, no objective. Treating others how you want to be treated, is the best way of determining what is good or bad. Morals are subjective, even if they come from a god. Humans make laws to punish those that do wrong to others.

Nyarlathotep's picture
DRKFUTURE - If there is no

DRKFUTURE - If there is no Objective Morality, then how do u hold somebody responsible for misdeed?

I guess the same way you'd do it if there was objective morality. Such a weird question, seems to carry a lot of odd assumptions with it.

ferguson1951's picture
Atheists should be coherent.

Atheists should be coherent. There is no good or bad, there is no God, there is no life after death, so one can do what one likes. What is the meaning for an atheist to do good when there is no reward? Do what you like. Live like in the Far West. Rape and kill disregarding the law. Be coherent. Make your own scale of "values".

They can't, because, in spite of the fact that they do their utmost to silence it, they have a conscience according to God's creation. They have God's Law, even if almost nothing, written in their hearts and souls.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Fergie

@ Fergie

As you neither understand morals, integrity, ethics or decency there is little point in explaining much to you.

Here is one sentence that you will disregard because it is true...If only a book stops you raping and murdering, if only a verse of an irrelevant book stops you beating your slave too hard, then you are not moral. You have no morals. You are amoral.

David Killens's picture
Old man, that one is a write

Old man, that one is a write-off, bereft of learning, common sense, and morality.

He supports slavery, cruelty, and mass murder.

Cognostic's picture
@ferguson1951: "There is no

@ferguson1951: "There is no good or bad."

"Good and bad are labels we attach to the events in our lives. In a very general way, the good things are that which we like and the bad things are those events we do not like. It's pretty fucking basic,"

RE: "There is no life after death, so one can do what one likes. " There is forgiveness of all sins and harms one person can do to another through religious bullshit. People are completely free of any kind of accountability for their actions through Religion. FUCK RELIGION AND FUCK YOUR ASSHOLE BRAND OF FORGIVENESS. If anything on this planet is amoral, it is religion and its' complete lack of accountability.

RE: "What is the meaning for an atheist to do good when there is no reward?" What is the meaning for the religious to do good when they are forced to do it on threat of hell or on reward of heaven? If you tell a child, "Don't hit your sister and I will give you a cookie." Then the child does not hit his sister. Has he learned to act morally? OF COURSE NOT! You are just rewarding him for behavior you want. Tell the child, "If you hit your sister, I will beat you." The child does not hit his sister. Has the child engaged in an act of morality? OF COURSE NOT! He is simply avoiding punishment. Behaving in a way that will get you a reward or avoid a punishment CAN NOT BE MORAL. You are engaged in the activity out of selfishness, wanting a reward, or self preservation, avoiding a punishment. THERE IS LITTLE TO NO ALTRUISTIC MORAL ACTIVITY IN RELIGION AS LONG AS GOD IS WATCHING. Morality is not an external force making you follow rules with threats and rewards. Morality is internalized. The child should not hit his sister because he understands the harm it causes and not because of some magical reward or punishment in a fantasy.

EVERYTHING ELSE: Inane bullshit ramblings with no substance at all. Just like the rest of your idiotic posts.

Dark One's picture
'so one can do what one likes

'so one can do what one likes.'

Well yeah, as long as you're not ruining someone else's day in the process. The Wiccan Rede is only particularly good religious text if it can be called such a thing regarding moral conduct.

An' it harm none, do what ye will'

It's a slight modification of the Golden Rule. It's really all you need. If you want to be charitable and give selflessness to there's you still can, but there should be no compulsion to do so by any reward an unseen supernatural force. Good people do good things and bad people do bad things.

Sheldon's picture
ferguson "Atheists should be

ferguson "Atheists should be coherent."

Not necessarily, what an absurd generalisation. Not believing in Zeus hasn't helped you form a single cogent post since you've been here.

ferguson "There is no good or bad, there is no God, there is no life after death, so one can do what one likes."

Wow, you've got something right at last. Now that you're on a roll, explain any reasons you think we should NOT do whatever we like, that don't involve archaic superstitious dogma? Are you capable of moral reasoning, or just another blinkered religious amoral automaton?

ferguson "What is the meaning for an atheist to do good when there is no reward?"

Same as everyone else we make subject observations based our perception of reality. If you need to be told by a fictional deity that raping or murdering someone is wrong, then you must be a very shitty human being. Though of course the biblical deity positively encourages murder and rapine, so you're post is ignorant nonsense yet again.

Research has demonstrated again and again that atheists are at least as moral as theists. Democratic atheist societies like Norway, Sweden, and Japan, have some of the lowest rates of violent crimes like murder and rape in the world, America is unique in the developed west as have one of the highest rates of such crimes, and being one of the most religious countries in the world. The percentage of theists entering the US prison system for crimes like rape and murder is higher than the percentage of theists in the general population, so again you have managed to get a simple fact that can be easily researched completely the wrong way around.

Get off my lawn's picture
@Sheldon: "Democratic atheist

@Sheldon: "Democratic atheist societies like Norway, Sweden, and Japan"

Just a technical correction - Norway, Sweden, and Japan are not atheist societies; these states do not promote atheism (which is what an atheist society would be), but are increasingly indifferent to religion. It would be far more correct to say that they are secular societies.

xenoview's picture
@ferguson

@ferguson
Humans make laws to punish those that do bad to others. Your holy book doesn't stop people from breaking the laws humans make. Your holy book promotes rape, slavery, and genocide, humans have made laws against those three things to stop them. Your holy book doesn't stop priest from raping little children or taking new born babies from their mothers and putting them in the sewer to die.

David Killens's picture
We are an intelligent race

We are an intelligent race (with the exception of a few). We are smart enough to understand that we are a social species because a lone individual cannot survive alone. From that understanding we have learned that the welfare of the group is important, and the well being of individuals are also paramount.

Then it is a simple mater of applying common sense and logic in determining what is appropriate, and what is counter to society or the well being of any individual.

I take this one step further and consider myself a secular humanist.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: OP (Before reading

Re: OP (Before reading other responses.)

Personally, I use a coin toss, or a dart board, or a pair of dice, or a roulette wheel, or anything like that I may have handy at the moment when having to determine whether something I do (or want to do) is good or bad. Heck, if in a real bind, even Rock/Paper/Scissors can be useful. (Of course, it helps to have a second person handy for that one. Too easy to cheat when playing by yourself.) Anyway, point is, why stress out so much over having to make the difficult decisions about whether or not something is right or wrong? Life is too short for that kind of worry and headache. Just let random chance lead the way when faced with those annoying moral dilemmas.

For instance, slavery is actually condoned and encouraged by God in the bible, right? And if GOD says it is okay, then your conscious should be free and clear as you make your purchase(s) at the next slave auction. But what if you have that annoying little voice in the back of your mind telling you, "Geee.... I'm not really sure. Something just doesn't seem right about owning another person as property." Pain in the ass, right? On one hand, you want to obey God. On the other hand, you have nagging doubts about the practice. So why put yourself through that stress. Simply flip a coin. Allow chance to make the decision for you. After all, who's to say it isn't "God's Will" that determines the outcome?

Another example real quick. Faced with the troublesome decision of whether or not you should stone your child to death for sassing you about his/her not doing their homework? Well, fret no more! A simple roll of the dice can easily take away all that unnecessary worry and anxiety! Yep, sleep with a clear conscious knowing the decision was totally out of your control.

(Okay, now to go read other responses.)

Randomhero1982's picture
Groups, tribes, civilisations

Groups, tribes, civilisations and so fourth have always determined what is good/right and what is bad/wrong.

We still do this today... all countries have differing opinions on what is right and wrong.

All morality has evolved with civilisations, with whatever serves the greater good being determined to be right/good etc...

Dark One's picture
The Golden Rule still applies

The Golden Rule still applies, whatever is detrimental to yourself you try to avoid doing to others. Sometimes you have to cause harm to someone serve a greater good see the criminal justice system, warfare standing up against certain kinds of people and so on. There are grey areas such as eating meat, capital punishment and abortion but we can have reasoned philosophical debate on those issues. What what we don't particularly need is a supernatural entity giving us any commandments, particularly not commandments that age very badly badly after a couple of thousand years. The Quran says it's acceptable to beat your wife for instance but for us that's domestic abuse and physical assault. The Bible says slaves should obey their masters but we no longer practice slavery, so that's completely redundant. As you can see morals change over time including those that were supposedly meant to be God given.

chimp3's picture
I am with Sam Harris and Matt

I am with Sam Harris and Matt Dillihauty: If we agree upon a standard (Human well being) then we can apply objectivity. There is no objective morality with the god of the Bible. If he says kill without mercy, then you kill. If he says "Thou shall not commit murder" then you don't. Obedience does not involve moral choice.

Cognostic's picture
@RE: The Golden Rule: "He

@RE: The Golden Rule: "He who has the gold, makes the rules." Religions were among the first to put this rule into practice.

Dark One's picture
Confucius was the first

Confucius was the first person in history to write down the Golden Rule, Confucianism is kind of a religion but more a philosophy really.

"The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

In the West we're used to religions being stark raving crackers where they make various scientific and historical claims with no evidence at all. If they were philosophically based and/or just a tradition then alright fine, nothing against that.

Cognostic's picture
Dark One: "If they were

Dark One: "If they were philosophically based and/or just a tradition then alright fine, nothing against that."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .... I hope you are not citing Confucianism as an example of a philosophically based tradition. I have lived in the HERMIT KINGDOM for 22 years now. You can not even begin to imagine what a fucked up system a Confucian influence has had on Asia.

1. Get rid of all individuality. There is a place for everyone in society and everyone should know his or her place for the harmony of all.

2. The emphasis is on getting along and staying in your place, not on personal opinions or individual growth and success. "The nail that sticks out is the one that gets pounded back down."

3. If you want to live in a society structured like a military unit; everyone following orders that come from the top down, Confucianism is a great system. You don't need to think. All your thinking is done for you by your government, your boss, the head of your house.

4. Critical thinking is virtually nonexistent in this country. Education is teacher centered. Information flows from the teacher to the student. There is minimal interaction. The students job is to memorize and then regurgitate the exact same information back to the teacher on a test. All emphasis is on having the correct answer. The correct answer is the one the teacher gave you. There is no such thing as having an opinion and then supporting it with facts and evidence. Not even here at the university.

Dark One's picture
'Get rid of all individuality

'Get rid of all individuality. There is a place for everyone in society and everyone should know his or her place for the harmony of all.'

Well everyone should 'know' their place in society, much like they should 'know themselves'. Everyone has certain strengths and weaknesses, certain people are good at particular things. Perhaps they're not interpreting his teachings of great wisdom in quite the right way over there. You will find people claim to believe in something then just go about doing what they want to do anyway, we all know how that works.

'The emphasis is on getting along and staying in your place, not on personal opinions or individual growth and success. "The nail that sticks out is the one that gets pounded back down."

Once you have found your own niche in society stick with that and work well together with other people rather than going against the grain and causing disruption. Again that can work and it's what 99% of us do anyway. There are some very successful people who do go against grain but they're the exception to the rule, we're not all cut out for that and there would be havoc if everyone tried.

'If you want to live in a society structured like a military unit; everyone following orders that come from the top down, Confucianism is a great system. You don't need to think. All your thinking is done for you by your government, your boss, the head of your house.'

Which is what we all do anyway? If you never actually did what say your boss at work tells you to do then you would be fired, you would never be able to find another job, you would have no money and you would sleeping rough on the streets. If you broke all the laws your government makes you would be in jail.

"Critical thinking is virtually nonexistent in this country. Education is teacher centered. Information flows from the teacher to the student. There is minimal interaction. The students job is to memorize and then regurgitate the exact same information back to the teacher on a test. All emphasis is on having the correct answer. The correct answer is the one the teacher gave you. There is no such thing as having an opinion and then supporting it with facts and evidence. Not even here at the university."

That's pretty much how our own education system works anyway? The idea I guess is to educate people with facts and knowledge not their own opinions so I would agree with that to a certain extent. There are people out there who have opinions about the shape of the Earth being flat, or that it was created 6000 years ago in 7 days but their opinions are objectively wrong. You get these people into school and teach them the facts then they accept the facts of actual reality as it is, no arguing about it. When it comes to more subjective topics where there is no right or wrong answer then you should teach about the different sides of the argument not just present one.

All this aside I just meant in general the idea of a philosophically based religion is good, of course if the philosophy is a good one that would help. You can argue whether Confucius had the right idea/s or not. I'd rather live in a society based on the philosophy of Confucius than the teachings of Quran, I don't know about you. As atheists we are individualists who tend to go against grain but that's not necessarily a recipe for the ideal society, there should be some kind of a grain and people need to get along within it as an integrated whole. Especially not the Muslims they really need to get into our Westernised grain, a lot of them do already, but all of them.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Cognostic - Critical thinking

Cognostic - Critical thinking is virtually nonexistent in this country. Education is teacher centered. Information flows from the teacher to the student. There is minimal interaction. The students job is to memorize and then regurgitate the exact same information back to the teacher on a test.

That is not the kind of education I received. Let me give you an example of an interesting exam I was given once. It contained only the following single sentence (paraphrased as I don't remember the exact wording):

If you open a grade-school math text book; you will probably find that it gives a formula for the volume of a sphere as: 4/3*pi*r^3; prove that this is true.

Cognostic's picture
In Korea you would have had a

In Korea you would have had a multiple choice answer. A. B. C. or D. Which one is true? All you have to do is memorize the correct answer and give it back to the teacher.

I am in the Counseling department. This is how they teach counseling. Memorize and regurgitate. No hands on application. No distinction between clinical practice and theory. Just read the books and take the tests and you can be a counselor. It's really scary.

Pages

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.