HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Non-Natural Moral Realism is the doctrine that though suffering and pain are not immoral it is somehow really immoral to hurt a baby for fun. Like the doctrine that nothing is immoral unless God commands it to be, it denies that pain and suffering have anything to do with making cruel actions immoral.

 

Is Non-Natural Moral Realism acceptable?

Is morality real and not just opinion?

If it is real is it real because it makes people well?

Is it real because God commands that actions be moral/immoral?

That is the infamous Euthyphro dilemma.

It is obvious that there is something terrible about saying it is only wrong to hurt babies for God says so. That is the divine command theory of morality.

Non-Natural Moral Realism is supposed to be no better.

It is alleged that the disproofs of divine command theory apply to it too.

Let us see.

Suppose you torment a baby to death for fun. With divine command theory, if God commands it and that makes it right then he has added a brute fact, this moral rightness, to the situation. The brute fact is that he has commanded it and his commands are right. That makes it right as a matter of brute fact. Without that divine authority it would be wrong. The natural pain and suffering it causes cannot explain why it is immoral or moral or whichever. From that it follows that natural things such pain and suffering are not necessarily immoral. Non-Natural Moral Realism states that natural facts such as suffering do not reduce to moral facts. So it is as bad as divine command. That is us left with a problem like, “God bans hurting a baby not because hurting is wrong but because he condemns it”. That also holds that causing suffering and pain have nothing to do with an action being immoral.

Both divine command and Non-Natural Moral Realism make moral facts to be brute facts. Those facts are unaffected by natural facts such as pain and suffering. From that, would it not be a case that pain and suffering show that something immoral is happening but are not symptoms of immorality or immoral but merely signs? Yes. Our moral intuitions rebel against that notion.

Incidentally, we plainly see from that how the view that God and morality are the same is nonsense.

Nobody denies that if you have two dreadful choices then it is moral to do one of them. Thus God could make a world in which it is morally necessary for you to murder babies for fun. This is not the same as divine command theory. It is only recognising that morality does not demand the impossible so if the circumstances need you to torment babies for laughs then it is to be done. It is about necessary evil. Divine command goes further than that. If God simply commanded you to torment the babies without any reasons it would be fine. It would not be a necessary evil, it would simply be morally good.

Some point out that if it is possible for immorality to have nothing to do with suffering then we can be happy that at least there is no way we will find ourselves in a universe that makes it moral to hurt babies for fun. But can we? If suffering is morally okay or can be we should want it to happen!! We should want it to be okay!

Non-Natural Moral Realism has three essential features.

One – non-natural fact. If it is a fact that burning a baby to death for a laugh is wrong then we are not talking about a natural fact. It is not a fact in the same way as a leaf is green. It is a fact that has nothing to do with nature.

Two – true regardless of how many think it is not true it is still true. What we think does not change the truth. What anybody thinks makes no difference and that includes God. Those who accept divine command just assume he makes moral moral when in fact he may only think he knows what is or isn't moral. An all-knowing only knows what can be known so what if it cannot be known?

Three, we feel sufficiently optimistic at moral realism for we feel that it is the truth and the truth protects itself and always wins in the end.

It is clear that even if Non-Natural Moral Realism is in some matters just as problematic as divine command then if there is a choice we are better off with it. Divine command then is immoral.

We want natural facts to help us explain why things are moral but we cannot have that if either of them is true.

What alone stands in its favour is the optimism. Remember point three above.

Some hold that Non-Natural Moral Realism is beyond science and science can have nothing to say to it or about it. So it is devoid of scientific evidence. They hold that it is a form of religious faith or at least it is faith that is nearly religious.

Some say that if the suffering of a baby does not make hurting the baby immoral then something supernatural must make it immoral. They point out you could believe in the supernatural and not realise it.

But at the end of the day, you have no reason to call a moral fact a fact and thus nothing to say if somebody seems convinced that it is a moral fact that you can torture babies for fun.

If the wrongness of an action is a brute fact then we do not need the doctrine of God with which to ground and sanction morality. If morality is a brute fact then that is far more important than anything else. Even God cannot matter. Christians argue that God matters which is why they are so against the notion that the universe is just a brute fact!!

 

Right and wrong are a response to human ability to be happy and to suffer. It is more important to avoid suffering than to be happy. Even if it is a mistake to be a hedonist that is because human nature is made in such a way that unbridled pleasure makes it miserable and a source of torment to others.  Avoiding suffering is the basic thing and being happy is the collateral.  That has nothing to do with love or justice. It is just true.

 

It is claimed that an action is objectively wrong if the agent unjustly harms a sentient being. But what do we mean by unjustly? Why are we not using the word unnecessarily instead?  The unnecessarily is what matters for even if it were just it could still be bad.  In fact worrying about the justice is therefore itself immoral!  So it is not true that we need to emphasise love and justice in order to be moral.

 

Morality is the most natural thing in the world but it is not morality in the sense we understand it.  But it is good.  It has lots of ideological enemies but it stands forever.  God and all the things that insult it need to be seen what they are - insults to humankind.

 

OUR LOGICAL NATURE

 

Logic is part of us so it does not matter why it is true for we have to live with it.


That is the only foundation.

 

Morality as another form of logic is built on that foundation.

 

Logic is fundamental in a way that morality is not.  In other words, without thinking we cannot determine that hurting a baby can be wrong or is wrong.

 

Morality is part of us too so it does not matter why it is true for we have to live with it. That means it is human but not human as in a man-made thing. Sight is human but not man-made. It means we are better than any God. Trying to make morality depend on God means man is trying to do it and that is what I'd call a man-made morality! Trying to create morality by delegating it to God is inventing morality.


Morality is based on free will. Surely you have the ability to defy morality and even the ability to not believe in it at all. But the latter is not possible. It is strange if we can defy morality to kill millions and cannot be a recluse who has no belief in morality!

 

OBJECTION

 

"Naturalistic explanations don’t explain why human beings always act as if some acts are morally wrong, not just by one’s own or one’s community standards but in relation to goodness itself—a reality existing outside the nexus of material cause and effect, a reality assumed by the very perception of the difference between that which is and that which ought to be."

 

Is it true that all human beings think of some things in moral terms?

 

Is it true that if people think some acts are good regardless of what God or community or religion says?  It is more likely that even if they partly do not care the caring is dominant.  Where are the priests who give all their money to the poor even if they think the Church and community is against them?

 

Does the explanation matter?  It depends on whether we can find it.  The absence of an explanation is not evidence that there is no explanation. 

 

In a sense it is better to hold that acts are good in themselves and not be able to explain how or why.  It is better to help the suffering baby without working out an explanation as to why you should.  It shows more respect for the explanation whatever it is for you are striving to it though you cannot reach it.  You are straining to love which shows you put total value on love.


Ethics and morality are about what it is to be human.  That is the bottom line.

 

PERSONAL?

 

Atheists who believe in objective moral principles say these principles are impersonal.  It is all the better if they are for who cares if principles have a personal side or not as long as they are true?  If your leg is broken and principle shows that somebody must set it for you it will not matter what the principle comes from or how it comes about as long as it is right.  That is another principle: the most important principle is that we see principles of justice and love and mercy and wisdom exist so that it does not matter why or how they are true.  Yet there are people who say they do not love principle or care about it unless it is a person.  Usually God seen as being about the principles of love and justice and wisdom etc.  That is in fact violating the fundamental principle of goodness is that it does not matter.  Another principle is that our good desire should be respected.  What we want is this, "Even if there is nothing alive the fact remains that it is wrong to make a baby suffer for nothing."

 

Interestingly, a baby hurt for laughs is not strictly speaking hurt for nothing.  It is hurt for a laugh.  And a laugh is good.  If you hurt the baby to get money from some psycho that you intend to give to the poor it is hurt for that reason.  The message is clear: the laugh and the giving to the poor is good but it is bad good.  Good can be bad.

 

Christians say that evil is not a thing or power but a lack.  It is good not being good enough.  But if good can be bad that is far worse than evil being a power.  Poison that looks good is worse than poison that looks like excrement.  Good being bad is worse than evil being a power.  Thus belief in God is inherently immoral because it denies that God being good can create evil. 

 

Morality as in principle is impersonal if there is a God and if there is not. 

 

Assuming natural moral realism is a necessity.

 

FINALLY

 
Moral principle says if you have no idea of what is objectively moral or what it means then it is objectively moral to make an attempt. You need objective morality and the concept is forced on you even if you say morality is relative – such a saying is unnatural and forced and warped. It is better to guess and live the morality you have for errors will show up in time if it is wrong or needs fixing. Guessing and testing is more important than grounding it or caring or knowing why it is morally correct. Practicing what you understand to be objective morality is a principle and the most foundational and important and basic moral principle of all. If you have to guess the best guess is that morality is about maintaining the well-being of others and yourself.