Does moral truth exist without god?

What is right and what is wrong? These are questions we must ask often to know who we are as individuals and as a people. Does might make right or does right make might? Is mankind innately good but society can make him evil, or is mankind innately evil and needs a society to make him good? There are Christians who argue that objective morality can only come from a perfect god. The problem is the god of Abraham is an admittedly jealous and imperfect god. This deity is no more perfect than Zeus or Isis and societies established what they considered moral truths long before the Bible was even written. As the Bible is not a perfect source of modern moral standards, Christians must use their own ethical reasoning to determine what to take from the Bible and what to leave alone.

The question of absolute truth in morality is a philosophical question. It is directly tied to the greatest philosophical question of all time. What is absolute truth? How crazy are we willing to take this question? Rene Descartes questioned his very existence. Now that is really pushing the envelope. Do we even exist? Descartes came up with “I think therefore I am.” Surely everyone would accept that our very existence is absolute truth? Actually no, there are some that argue this life is nothing more than a dream of another reality.

For the question of what we consider to be truth, it all depends on where you’re willing to draw the line. For the gullible, the standards of accepted truth are very low. For the skeptical scientist or philosopher the bar is set high. For the sake of practicality and sanity, I maintain that our lives are very much real. By that same reasoning I maintain that there is what can be considered current truths in morality.

Is there a starting point? Is there a crime so hideous we can reasonably conclude that at any time the vast majority of people would agree that it was immoral? Surely the killing of innocent children would fall into such a category? Actually no, there are barbaric times where even the killing of innocent children was morally justified. We cannot state that there are absolute moral codes that would be accepted by the moral reasoning of most people in all times throughout history and throughout all geographical areas of the world.

But it’s the present time that we live in and need to focus on now; modern times in civilized societies where crimes such as the killing of innocent children would be considered immoral by the vast majority of people. What a culture considers truths in morality can be found in the laws. In the U.S. murder is illegal with few exceptions such as self-defense. Murder is considered a crime and carries heavy penalties. This is a reflection of what is considered moral truth in our society. Is it absolute truth? Crimes such as senseless murder being classified as immoral is what we consider moral truth for now and expected to be considered as such in the future unless we, by catastrophe, return to barbaric times and reverse the great advancements of moral progress that have been achieved in recent human history.

The following is what I consider to be the best of good and worst of evil. I have no divine authority in making this list, only my own moral judgment. Are these absolute truths in morality? They only carry weight if the vast majority of the current population connects with them and if they are currently reflected in the culture and laws of our society. If truths in morality is defined as never changing and always accepted, there is no such thing. But we can and do establish what moral truths are for our country in current times by harvesting the best moral judgment of “We the People.”

The Worst of Evil:
• Butchering unarmed civilians
• Destroying history
• Convicting innocent people and sentencing them to pain and death
• Taking a widows’ land by accusing her of being a witch and having her burned at the stake.
• Purposely spreading disease to innocent people by giving them infected blankets and clothing
• Using people like property
• Forcing people to live in fear
• Rape
• Oppressing women and minorities
• Torturing and murdering people for having different beliefs
• Torturing and murdering animals for personal amusement
• Torturing and recklessly murdering people in the name of religion or country
• Stealing retirement and savings from dedicated workers
• Denying opportunity to others that one had himself

The Best of Good:
• Protecting unarmed civilians
• Preserving history
• Protecting all people from unjust trial and punishment
• Protecting people from cruel laws and customs
• Curing disease
• Maintaining justice over injustice
• Banning slavery and fighting human trafficking
• Allowing people to live free and in peace
• Protecting women and children from sexual predators
• Promoting equal rights
• Tolerance of different beliefs
• Protecting animals from those who would hurt them for amusement
• Helping people in the name of religion or country
• Protecting the savings and retirement of workers from corporate thieves and fools
• Grant, promote and expand the opportunities of your generation to the next generation

Be Good

James Kirk Wall

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