Some time ago I watched a discussion between Sam Harris and Craig, and I must admit, I'm confused about this "relative morality" concept. After a little research (very little though) I found this one site that said things about rape always being wrong and somehow that proves god exists. I'm really lost here. Not that that argument makes sense, but I still don't understand the whole point about arguing over this. Can someone please help me with this? I joined this community in hopes of learning more, so it's time to start, huh?

I apologize for my bad English and ignorance, but appreciate all the help I can get.

Tags: Ethics, Morality, Relative

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OK, I think I'm starting to understand it better now. What would be the answer to this statement? If a person says that "rape is always wrong, therefore there is objective morality, therefore there is a god" what would be a good answer to give?

Also, Sam Harris says that there is objective morality, right? What are possible arguments about it's existence or not?

Also, thanks!

It seems so simple now, hehe. Thanks for the explanation!

This video might help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWNW-NXEudk

It is 30 odd minutes long but very good. I need to watch it again myself. 

You might also enjoy bringing up a case in which God's/Jesus' given law contradicts itself.  What are we humble humans to do with such conundrums, if we can't rely on our own reason to understand morality?

Another fun tack is highlighting the places in which the bible condones rape.  See the evilbible.com on rape.  Oh, noes, what should we think now!!!?  We need a new prophet, asap! :-P

Another fun tack is highlighting the places in which the bible condones rape.  See the evilbible.com on rape.  Oh, noes, what should we think now!!!?  We need a new prophet, asap! :-P

Yes!

A common argument against absolute morality (objective morality from say, god) is that the person arguing for absolute morality accepts a book that claims to be the word of god, yet condones rape—or whichever evil that this absolute morality is supposed to reject, but that the person him or herself does not condone said evil, thus showing that they them self do not actually accept the absolute morality from the source they claim it comes from.

Morality based on repercussion from a daddy figure isn't morality at all. Its obedience. 

Empathy is the only true basis for morality not obedience.

What we consider rape is fairly common in the rest of the animal kingdom and no one bats a lash. The notion of how severely "wrong" rape is between humans is fairly recent and the punishment for rape varies over time and from culture to culture. According to the bible, a man who raped an unbetrothed female was to buy her from her father for 50 shekels. The female then had to marry her attacker.

Obviously we don't agree with this today, nor do we condone slavery or treating women as property. These recent morals clearly didn't come from God or the bible yet religious people still hold tightly to the idea that morality comes from religion while disregarding the religious morals of the past that directly contradict modern secular morals. I don't believe there is such a thing as absolute morality, Morals evolve and there are always exceptions. However, I do mostly agree with Harris' notion that science can help us determine objective morals. If you haven't read his book "The Moral Landscape" I highly recommend it. It's interesting food for thought.

The rationale, Jewelz, that most theists give, is that the more primitive laws of the Old Testament were done away with with the advent of the new, or the "coming of Jesus," but Jesus - actually, Yeshua - is quoted in Mark as saying that he did not come to do away with the law - not "one jot or tittle" (and I'm awfully fond of tittles) shall pass away until the end of the earth, blah, blah, blah - it's in the book! So an atheist that knows the Bible, can keep them from getting away with that assertion.

To get beyond myself, I believe that there is something other.  I can't prove it, but I believe it enough to impute to some of my experiences that they were modified by the ideas/actions/existence of something other than myself. If you believe there is something other than yourself, you might want to consider its existence when formulating ideas. The consideration of yourself and something other than yourself is the topic of 'objective morality'.  It should be a main subject of religion, but of course it isn't. Relative morality does not require the existence of something other.

This is one of the big problems of the current understanding of religion. If God is everywhere, then God is right here (right here, right here where you read these words) and so if that’s true, then what does that  imply about the other that is like you? The subject of religion could address the paradoxes and mysteries that develop when one considers s/he is here and that s/he is not alone. But instead it's turned into a reactionary circus of vanity. The current popular understanding of morality (2012) is virtually entirely relativistic - the subject of 'unifying' self with other is implicit in some religions, but no understanding of the subject is evidenced even by those who profess to believe in it. Instead, all that is ever presented are models for dominance and submission, usually with a political/monetary angle.

If you want to believe in truly "objective" morality, you need to believe in a metaphysical being to do the "because I say so" thing. Otherwise, all morality is a stance someone assumes pretending it has some authority. But without a divine author, one is stuck with man-made morality.

I often say of human rights that there's no such thing because all rights are either legislated (man-made) or imaginary. The same might be said of morality in general.

As it turns out, there are a lot of things people can agree on: murder is wrong, abusing children is wrong, beating one's wife is wrong, stealing is wrong, etc. However, if you want an absolute, that can only come from God.

But it can't come from God if He doesn't exist, can it? Using an "except for God there'd be no morality" argument is common among Theists, but it's hardly a proof of God's existence.

The word 'god; has many meanings. In one context the word 'god' means the subjective self.  In another context the word 'god' means evidence and belief that there is such a thing as a subjective other.  In another context, the word 'god' means the new condition that occurs when two identities understand each other - or at least believe they understand each other.

Each of those definitions for the word 'god' pertain to understanding a certain kind of morality.

There are other definitions for the word 'god' - they lead to other places and in my opinion some of them are nonsensical and destructive.

However, it appears to me that ultimately, one chooses the meaning s/he most desires.

Those are very much minority and probably idiosyncratic "definitions" of the word God. For me, the only "God" that deserves any attention is the one meant by most Christians, Islamists, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and other theists: a divine super-being with magical powers (like creating a universe, intervening in human affairs with miracles, etc.), which I of course reject.

What you are doing is an end run around the real meaning of "god" with made-up definitions most people would pay no attention to.

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