Objective Morality, And Other Fairy Tales

There are moments when I feel like all is lost. When I realize that no matter how hard we may work to free ourselves of our primitive instincts and destructive beliefs, every one of us is still vulnerable to the same irrational biases and unclear thinking that has plagued most of humanity's history. It seems like no matter how many people you reach with basic knowledge, or how much time you spend explaining why a particular argument holds no water, there's an infinite line of equivalent, as yet unenlightened people standing behind the one you're talking to, all with the same quiver of long debunked arguments ready to be fired wildly into the air...

Today, a Rabbi Alan Lurie published an article for the Huffington Post entitledThe Moral Argument For the Existence of God . It's yet another rehash of the old, "The existence of objective morality proves the existence of a supernatural creator". He gives the usual arguments: Morality can't come from evolution, which only concerns itself with survival; Free will explains evil; etc..

Never mind for a moment that all of his arguments are provably false (moralities are displayed by many species, but not all the same, tidal waves don't have free will, etc..), the real issue is that he himself points out in the article that the basic assumption he makes, that there is an objective morality, can easily be questioned, and has, all throughout history. He solves this little dilemma not by giving a logical argument to support its existence, but by waving his hands at it dismissively, and saying that thinking thusly "is to embrace narcissism and nihilism", i.e. "I don't like thinking that way".

And there it is. No matter how far we come, people believe what they want to believe because it feels good, not because there's any good reason to do so. It's in our nature. How are we possibly ever going to combat that?

About the Author

Despite a decade of Catholic school, I have never been a believer. I guess I was just born without the gene! Nevertheless, I've always tried to explore others' ideas and practices, on the theory that just because you can't use one part of a product, it doesn't mean you have to throw the whole thing away.
 
I spent over a decade traveling the world, and I've lived in both Europe and the US. I've read the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Koran. I've studied engineering, yoga, martial arts, shooting sports, and ballroom dancing. What I've discovered is that a) spirituality is just a spooky sounding word for any of a number of methods for learning about yourself and your mind, and b) whatever word you use, doing so is the single most important thing in learning to be happy.
 
My blog, The Passionate Rationalist (http://www.societyofreason.com/devoutrationalist) is dedicated to my thoughts both on gaining self-knowledge and using your mind to eliminate misunderstanding and delusion.