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Do right and wrong exist?

I'm curious about objective right and wrong. If you believe in God, this is a no-brainer. Some things are wrong, some things are right, simply because God says so and He knows. But if you don't believe in God, can you still believe in objective morality? I personally don't think you can. I mean, what do you base it off of? How do you find out what's objectively right or wrong? (By objective I mean "existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality." from dictionary.com)
Sure, there's subjective morality. Any idea of right or wrong come up with by a human is by definition subjective. That's all well and good. Problem is that it only applies to people who believe in it and it gives them no authority to proclaim anything as "what we should be doing." Very often everybody disagrees with each other and we don't get anywhere. (Just look at Congress for an example of this.)
Maybe you disagree with me and you think there is objective morality but no God. That's fine. I would like to ask you to answer a question for me though. Let's pick an easy one. Why is rape objectively wrong? Don't misunderstand me, I can't think of a single instance where rape wouldn't be wrong. I believe very strongly that sexual abuse is one of the greatest evils in the world. Why is it evil? If you can answer me without using a God-based or subjective argument, I'll concede the point.
That point is this: Without God, there is no such thing as right and wrong, only the things we call right and wrong. And since nobody can agree on what to call what, we're all in a lot of trouble.


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  • Feb 10 2013: "And since nobody can agree on what to call what, we're all in a lot of trouble."

    In democratic societies, full agreement is not necessary, just 1 vote more than 50%. For defining crimes, this has proved adequate.
    • Feb 11 2013: Are crimes the only wrong things in the world?
      • Feb 11 2013: Scot,

        Of course not. There are many other things in the world that are wrong but not considered crimes. The future will surely bring many new things that may be wrong. The judicial system usually follows after the act. There can be no "content" to your concept of "wrong" until the deed is first done. You cannot make a law against something that is wrong (crime) ... when it has not happening yet ....
        • Feb 21 2013: Beg to differ. Believe laws are composed occasionally from anticipation alone. Certainly policies are. Many times we can anticipate how a new product or procedure will give rise to a new temptation. We do this sort of thing at home all the time. So, if we bring home a teddy bear that records & plays back what it hears, we make a rule that Teddy can only record our own voice and not for instance the angry neighbor's voice. Though he may be heard sometimes in the background.

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