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Scot Wilcox

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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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  • Mar 4 2013: U consider god important because u grew up in a christian culture. But it is actually quite easy to seperate belief in God and a belief in right and wrong. Many atheists don't believe in God but still believe in the concept of right and wrong, and many pre-christian civilization still believed in right and wrong, long before the ever encountered the idea of one god.

    In fact, if you look at ancient Greek and Roman religions, which had many gods that constantly fought. Religion had nothing to do with morality. In the old days people prayed to the Gods to give them crops or to help them win a battle, and they tried to win the gods favor, but they did not use the gods to define their concept of "right and wrong."

    What you are talking about is called (I think) "moral relativism." That is the belief that right and wrong are just points of view. The argument goes that everybody has their own opinion about whats "right and wrong" and nobody is more right than any one else. People do make that argument sometimes, in philosophical discussions.

    But its a big leap to go from not believing in the christian god, and then suddenly not believing in "right and wrong" at all. "Right and wrong" are much bigger concepts than any mere god.

    Just try to measure your impact on other people. Even if you don't believe in a god, you can ask yourself these questions: Are you hurting other people? Are you causing unnecessary pain and suffering? Do you make people happy or unhappy? The answer to those questions will usually, more or less, tell you whether your actions are "right" or "wrong."

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