The Moral Standard


We have all heard the Christian say in a debate how god is the standard,(their triune god), and thus this divinity is proven by the inherent sense of right and wrong, in most of us. What can be said in rebuttal here? Can anything be said? Is god proven by our sense of right and wrong?

Of course, the logic here is absurd: if this were a scientific inquiry the fact that psychopaths exist would debase this fable that morality is divinely bestowed upon us all. Psychopaths, ‘soulless’ people, congenitally amoral, forsaken before they had the choice to sin. They lack this standard. And, unless god is capricious and unfair, or non-existent, this wouldn’t be the case. Every single human would be given an equally flat and sturdy launch pad to heaven.

Or, one could use the track-record of faith itself, the practice of being godlike, to show quite explicitly that belief in god, rather than being the catalyst of goodness, is often the source of genocidal, murderous, and draconian policy. May we separate god from every crime of religion, saying that these were atrocities due to confusion or blindness, then the inexorable question arises: Where is this personal god? Where is this light-house?

But this idea that a god is the moral standard will persist until there is a relevant and accurate answer to this question regardless of the tomes of credible reason set against it, so what’s needed here is an answer.

What is the moral standard? Where does the popular sense of right and wrong derive from, why do certain acts get interpreted as good, and others as bad or evil, if not for a god?

Lets comprise a mathematical formula to negate any possible superficiality that may act as a mirage, to mislead us.

You have, on the one hand, the moral theist, and on the other, the moral atheist. This fact, that morality is very possible in the theist and atheist alike, indicates that belief is not a requisite to being ethical. Now, subtract the two.

moral theistic human

moral atheistic human

Moral human

It seems we can  rule out belief, or lack thereof, as superfluous in the moral question. One can be good with or without a supernatural custodian, and one can also be bad either way.  Neither is the standard of morality, neither is more than an added barrier which restricts access to the true moral standard, the humanity of us all. Humanity as the moral standard, not faith, not this god or that stone. It’s a testament to the filth of the religious neurosis that this truth is so revolutionary.

Humans, save the psychopaths, are born with a desire to be good, though the definition of goodness is not defined a priori. Thus, a person’s conception of good is formed from their family and their environment, in childhood. From the barrage of experience in that time of uncertainty, characters are formed, beliefs are solidified, lives are set on their course. The numerous religions, each with its legions of dedicated acolytes, attests to this. In a universe with one god, such as the Biblical universe, Christians would be the crystalline purveyors of goodness, and everyone else would be barbaric, amoral psychopaths; rapping, pillaging, slaughtering. Such, in fact, is the Biblical universe, but such is not our universe.

The congenital ethical desire, shed in this light, shows with horrible clarity the importance of early childhood, and the indispensable need for a proper method of education(one focused on teaching children how to think as individual humans). In these tumultuous times, to indoctrinate youth with religious dogma the likes of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, or with Socialistic drivel the likes of Stalin-ism, or Marxism,  which devalues the importance of the individual, and which teaches that the governor knows best, you know nothing,intuition is the key to truth, and reason the pitfall into an eternal torture, is a crime no less than teaching a child that murder is virtue.

Why Individualism if the moral standard is humanity? Why not Communistic Humanism? Aren’t the tenets of socialism conducive to this godless morality, more so than this individualism? No. These methods (communism, socialism, fascism), are merely religions without gods. They are Procrustean beds. It takes a religious mentality to create these forms of governance and to bow to them. It takes a whole legion of pious fucking sheep, Epsilon-like beings, to fuel these monstrosities. And what have they ever created? Destruction. Dictators. Mental Disease. What was Hitler but a godless priest?

What becomes of Man without his ability to stand as an individual? Why, he become a bullet for a rifle held by a dictator. A gun aimed at humanity itself. This dictator can be divine or other, it doesn’t matter, because the end is the same: Humanity suffers one more bullet wound.

And this human origin means that morality is subjective, it is organic, it is not written upon tablets of rock by some delusional priest with power and eternal residence in a mansion on his mind. It is mundane. It is imperfect. It is real. Here is the source of our love, Humanity. Here is the reason we sacrifice, Humanity. Here is the reason we move, here is the reason we function, here is what we mean by progress, Humanity. Not god, but you; the mortal, fallible, ‘sinful’ human, are the standard.

Morality is not something to be written down for all, it is for each individual to write for their self. Only then does the Socratic reasoning of Nietzsche begin to make sense:

Reason=Virtue=Happiness

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About monolithicprotozoa

Nought what you thought
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11 Responses to The Moral Standard

  1. This is pretty awesome. Thought provoking! Thanks

  2. Reblogged this on myatheistlife and commented:
    This post is very thought provoking in both conclusion and how it attempts to reduce the noise or extraneous issues surrounding the question of where morality comes from and whether it can come from a deity or not. I think Nietzsche gets a bad rap that he doesn’t deserve.

    • On the other hand, Nietzsche was prescient of the backlash that his words would cause. They were against pandering to people who deserve nothing, so, he very much deserves his bad rap, as it is a declaration of glory the likes of which the grandest cathedral couldn’t express so perfectly.

      • While this is true, I doubt that he’d be unhappy to know that his words ring true for many, nor would he, I think, be displeased that others are thinking for themselves and in ways which are not unlike his own.

      • No, he wouldn’t be unhappy with this. He was a philosopher who took the time to eloquently write his thoughts into books, of course he wanted them read and appreciated…..but not by all, not even by most, because he knew the type of people the majority were. Yes, I think Nietzsche would be joyous over the rise of individuality, but he would be equally devastated over all these atheists today, a number of which are nothing if not fitting of his definition of the last man.

      • This is going in a tangential way that I had not predicted. I have a thought about human behavior and what drives it on at least some levels. I hold that intelligence is the ability to make a decision in respect of changing input, a good example of basic intelligence is a thermostat. Of course, it is more complex when we speak of humans, but this concept of intelligence is, I think, still in effect.

        It is my opinion that even Nietzsche’s last man would aspire to change things, explore (even what has been explored before) and would not sit idly in comfortable nihilism. A thermostat will not go outside to see what the temperature is there. A human, on the other hand, will in fact not sit inside if there is outside and it’s intellect poses to itself a question about the outside. That is to say that the basics of our intellect will not allow us to wallow intellectually, though I know it takes a moment to understand that in the way I meant it. Humankind may have been to the top of every mountain but “I” don’t know what it is like so if I have the chance and ability, I would go to the top of mountains just to see what that is like. I believe that this will forever drive humanity, as a species, to seek new goals, new experience, new information with which to use that intellect. I believe this is so even if that intellect is not of the genius sort.

        Even if we wanted for nothing and had limitless energy resource, some human somewhere would ask himself “I wonder what the weather on Pluto is this time of year” and would endeavor to go find out. I personally have no fear that the last man scenario will ever play out. In fact it is this understanding of human intellect, and the evidence for it, that gives me hope for the future. It means that even the intelligentsia when possessed of nihilism will not suffer the lack of information for long, and will journey for ever increasing information and experience. Such habitual seeking has brought us a very long way in a very short time, relatively speaking. There is no reason to begin thinking it will stop. If Nietzsche had lived long enough to see the dramatic change in the 20th century, I’m fairly certain he would have written a few more times on the mind of mankind.

        I miss those books.

  3. poppies says:

    Interesting post. Three thoughts came up as I was reading:

    1. The fact that some rulers are broken does not negate the idea of measurement.
    2. You say morality is subjective, but I don’t think you really believe that based on other things you say in this very post. If you came across someone who enjoyed torturing babies, I think you’d find that abhorrent in a manner far different than if you came across someone whose favorite flavor of ice cream differed from yours.
    3. I think your objective standard for morality is actually individual human flourishing (forgive my presumptuousness, please, I’m getting this solely from your writing). If this is the case, I wonder how you escape the predicament of this standard being logically arbitrary? That is, there’s no objective justification for individual human flourishing to be valued in a morally-binding sense, over the glorification of a given communist state, for instance. To argue otherwise is like someone claiming that maples are undoubtedly the finest trees, and that everyone ought to believe this.

    • Your criticism is very welcome, more so in fact than even the most elaborate praise. I am a nascent mind in the intellectual field, and my ideas are like rough chunks of recently quarried marble. Should I not have the chisel of my peer’s criticism, these chunks of marble would never be formed into anything more aesthetic than stones. So your comment is very welcome, because I am not content with these ugly rocks.
      That said, I will not evacuate my position so easily. I love subjectivity, and I love my ideas. Needless to say I hate the inertia objectivity causes when it is implemented as a thought process outside of the objective sciences. To be a mirror of objectivity is to be nothing.
      But if my ideas are fallacious, and I can be persuaded of their inanity, then I will discard them as the trash they are.
      So, I would like you to elaborate on all of your points.
      1. What is it you mean by the ‘idea of measurement’? Are you saying that, despite the failure that every state has met in its quixotic attempts to look for its Utopia in forced equality, this method is correct, or feasible?
      2. Where in my post do I contradict my assertion that morality is subjective? What I find abhorrent, or because I find something abhorrent, does not mean that there is some standard outside myself which I use to grade it such. When there is an agreement between a multitude of people that something is bad, such as murder, or theft, this does not mean that murder is objectively evil, it simply indicates that most people share something which influences their way of thinking. That something is our humanity.
      3. Your third point misinterprets what justification is without an objective standard. Justification here relies on power. Whomever has the power to implement their subjective morality creates the justification to do so. That said, I do not look for justification through power garnered by violent means, such as religion and government must do. I look for justification through power garnered by intellectual means, as a reasonable individual must do. So if my opinion is that Maples are indeed the finest of all the trees, I will look to reason in order to intellectually persuade you that they in fact are the finest. It is still only my subjective opinion that they are such, and if I have the power to make you see likewise, then this will be your subjective opinion as well.

      • poppies says:

        Oh man, a thorough response to all this is a bit dense for a comment box. Here’s a few quick thoughts:

        1. “Idea of measurement” in this context: you point out that psychopaths exist, and claim that fact belies the idea of inherent morality, but we call them psychopaths mostly in reference to their lack of inherent morality! That’s exactly what makes them notable, the exception that proves the rule, in a manner of speaking.

        2. Your language betrays you. You call teaching a child murder as virtue “a crime,” and in the context you’re using it in the sense of a moral crime. But why use such language implying judgment referencing an objective standard if morality is subjective? Surely you don’t rail so passionately against those who like different music than what you like?!

        3. You still haven’t escaped arbitrariness. Why should a “reasonable individual” seek to propagate their views through dialog rather than violence? If morality is truly subjective, one approach is exactly as “justified” as the other. I think you know that proactive violence is wrong, truly wrong, in a manner that would still be the case even if all those who were against it were killed off.

        One final note:
        You seem to have an admirable appreciation of the individual, and a noble hatred of authoritarian structures that seek to overrule the individual. This is to be applauded, but such a perspective can also be easily and sloppily elided into the idea that a theist view tramples the individual. I submit that only a theist view allows for the individual in the first place. Will and agency are meaningless in a deterministic universe.

      • 1. I give psychopaths as a very real example of the unreasonableness of believing that the moral standard is bestowed upon man by a benevolent, and perfect creator. To say that the psychopath’s lack of normal ethical desire disproves the existence of the inherent desire to do good would be like saying that someone born blind proves the non-existence of sight. In fact, it just shows that there is no factory line of angels placing us together with divine perfection. I am sorry if my words somehow gave you an indication otherwise.

        My supposition is that we are born with an undefined desire to be good. Good is an ambiguous word, it could very well conflict with another’s sense of good and be termed evil. This fact that, on the one hand we are born with some desire for good, and that this desire has no preset goal, but takes education and thought to formulate and define, proves to me that neither the Christian, nor the Jewish, nor the Islamic deity exists. Each Theism believes that it is holistic truth, and yet it entirely relies on circumstances of birth and experience as to which, if any, creed you have faith in.

        2. The idea that morality is merely subjective does not make judgment of a transgressor of that morality impossible and unjust. Again, in my view, morality, in its purist state, places the welfare of the human first. In a community of free-thinkers, whom have no belief in objective morality, but still work together and respect a social contract, there will be a method of dealing with the criminals of this social contract. Here it must be noted that the criminal is only such in relation to his transgressing the social contract of the free-society, he is not universally labeled a criminal by some deity in the clouds, nor to the inhabitants of the community is he considered a criminal by cosmic standards, nevertheless, he deserves his punishment from the standpoint of the community, because his actions, and/or aims are detrimental to the agreed upon unity of the milieu. One would have every right, being the criminal, to say the judgment is entirely unjust, not one of his judges would argue this point. But, if found guilty he would still reap consequence. In such a society, with such a mind-set, I suppose that the only just form of punishment would be non-violent. Ostracism, maybe. Of course, if the aim is the health and prosperity of everyone within the walls of this society,then at times violent measures must be used to counteract inexorably violent people, for obvious reasons.

        3. I suppose that an intelligent and reasonable person, one inclined toward individualism and free-thought, will also be inclined toward peaceful deliberation over violence. I myself know that my moral beliefs are merely mine, and, realizing that there is no objective tablet of commanded morality equally administered to everyone, I will not feel the zealous religious pull to conform or kill. If I do not possess the reasoning capabilities to strengthen what I believe in the minds of others, nonviolently and non-subversively, then my beliefs will be my own and no one else’s. I am neither God nor Stalin, nor do I care to emulate these retched examples of ignorant, over-extended egos.

        Your fourth point is that within a deterministic universe will and agency is meaningless, and thus only a belief in a supernatural creator allows for the individual in the first place. Such reasoning has been the soil out of which such seeds as socialism have arisen. What meaning is there in that? Of course, without a supernatural Father to elicit us praise and purpose unto eternity, and to construct for us vast mansions which we will reside in forever, we must forgo our individualism because it is meaningless:right? Meaning being the aforementioned eternity, I suppose. This idea of meaninglessness without god has been the pitfall of many an atheist. I wrestled with it for a long time. Then one day I was hit with the realization, like a revelation of god, that even if this divine magistrate were to exist, he and us, all of this creation of his, would also be meaningless by such standards.

        The vanity of our every hope and desire is the great irony of mankind. We have searched and searched for meaning in this eternal, solid regard, in vain. I do not suppose that any meaning what so ever will be found in these exterior searchings’, one must look inside their self for this elusive substance. But, this is a topic of which I hope(with the vanity of the race) to form into a post, and it is entirely too abysmal to deal with here.

  4. john zande says:

    Reason=Virtue=Happiness

    All i can say is, Yes.

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