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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 27 2013: Objective morality is a fact.

    If you ask 100 people if they would rather be lied to by others or to be told the truth, 98-100 will say they want to be told the truth. It might be 98 or 99 if the 100 people you ask contain a couple of oddballs.

    If you ask 100 people if they would rather that others who do actions towards them that affect their person, property, or freedom of movement, do so with or without their agreement, 98-100 will say they want to give their agreement before any action is done that affects them.

    Telling the truth and getting agreement before actions can be watched in others and studied, no matter the country. It will always come out that telling the truth and getting agreement before actions is the peaceful route for people to take. To lie or to do actions towards others without their agreement creates conflict.

    You brought up rape. Using truth and agreement I can assure you that no matter where on the globe rape occurs that the victim does NOT agree to the action of rape committed on them by another person. You might say that victimhood is subjective on the victims part but what is life if not lived through our mind and our intellect and our free choice? It wouldn't be called rape if the sex was consensual! In Afghanistan's culture the men have sex with boys and it is accepted (by adults). I can GUARANTEE you that the virgin boy does not AGREE to be penetrated by any man. Like a slave they will get used to the mistreatment and will probably do it to others as they get older. Its up to societies to change themselves. Others societies looking in cannot attack them without being attacked first or getting agreement to attack from a strong majority of the people first.

    The affected persons mind and whether or not they agree to what is being done to them is where morality originates. If what is being done to them is being done to restrain them, like a criminal, then they obviously have no say in the restraint that is being placed on them.
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      Feb 27 2013: Re: "If you ask 100 people if they would rather that others who do actions towards them that affect their person, property, or freedom of movement, do so with or without their agreement, 98-100 will say they want to give their agreement before any action is done that affects them."

      Does this mean that taxes and driving licenses are objectively immoral? How about democracy when a minority is forced to accept the will of the majority?
      • Feb 27 2013: No, it means that if I want to punch someone in the face or take their food I should get their agreement before proceeding.

        Taxes and driver's licenses are societal things. To live in a society that is civilized (key word here) there must be laws. In order for a society to function and to be governed by the people (democracy) there is an obligation to understand that laws will be made according to the majority of the peoples wishes (hopefully based on a Constitution) and that those wishes certain individuals will not always agree to, but be forced to accept or else break the law.

        The original posters post got me thinking some more and I think that the concept of debating subjective vs objective morality and hence whether there is such a thing as morality at all, is a perfect mechanism...for teaching psychopathy.

        If one were to instead look at the word "innocence" and debate its meaning they will come to same conclusion I have regarding what is morally right, which is telling the TRUTH, getting AGREEMENT before doing actions that affect others, and having EMPATHY for those in need. If you do these three things consistently you will be consistently innocent. Whereas if you lie, "do what thou wilt" towards others, and have no empathy for anyone, you will be guilty. Guilty of creating conflict because as sure as the sky is blue and the grass is green these are surefire ways to create conflict no matter where you live or in what time period.

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