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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 8 2013: The problem with the question you pose is that you have to assume that there is objective morality at all, this might be reasonable to the confines of you belief but it doesn't hold true in the world as we understand it. Quite simply, you cannot be independent of your thoughts, you are an observer of your reality.. therefore objective reality can't be thought of as existing. So you cannot find out what is "Objectively right or wrong", we can't prove that any holy text was written by god, we can't prove any 'prophet' actually heard the voice of god, and not just the voice in his head, and we can't prove there is a god. So the only thing you can know about an objective truth is that you cannot know if one exists.

    The obvious answers to the question you pose is simply the emotional and physical damage that the act causes not only to the victim but to the victims loved ones as well. Or in fact anyone that learns of the incident and feels the empathetic pains. There is also the implications to consider of self-suffering within the attacker who would feel tremendous guilt if they are not devoid of emotion or empathy; and if they are devoid of emotion and empathy then imagine the suffering already bestowed upon them that their mind might close down entirely their ability to feel. It's the over all effect of large human suffering that we can safely determine that rape is wrong. I can't imagine being able to argue it more reasonably or rationally than that.

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