Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Morality is Manipulation, Part I

This is the second in my basic fundamentals of Christianity. Whereas the previous post was benign, this one should exasperate you if you really understand what I'm saying. Morality and moral laws, as humans use it, is nothing more than manipulation. First, however, let me criticize moral laws in general.

Moral logic, in general, follows this pattern:

A is true, and B is true, so action C is a moral behavior.

A traditional Christian moralist would like say it like this:

God gave us his law, God is the ultimate judge, so actions prescribed in that law are moral behaviors.

If this were an immutable truth there would be little room sin. Traditional Christianity paints any rejection of this as mere rebellion, but there are other more fundamental problems.

What if someone doubts that God exists? What if the Bible isn't perfectly clear on defining action C? The moral compulsion breaks down. Sprinkle a little skepticism on A, B, and C, and the moral law fails.

More universally, any set of A, B, and C is subject to doubt. If someone doesn't want to do action C, know that they will dedicate their energies to casting doubt on A and B.

A more experienced logician will claim that A and B are axioms. That they are self-evident truths. Skepticism, however, is not bound by anything. The skeptic will find a way. They always do.

Doesn't this imply an ethical nihilism that nothing is moral or immoral? Yes it does, and I'm not afraid, and you shouldn't be either.


Brian Phillips said...

It would be helpful in understanding your position if you defined morality.

Brian Shelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Shelley said...

First, know that I intentionally conflate morals with ethics in the interest of some friends who I've spoken with.

Sorry if this is vague, but I don't want to prove my point by loading my definition. A moral system is a set of principles that allow us to know if a behavior is right or wrong.

This is not a critique of any particular "moral", just the use and reliance on moral arguments to alter other people's behavior.

Brian Phillips said...

Given your definition, what is the purpose of morality?

Brian Shelley said...

I'll get more into this in Part II, but I would say that moral systems function as logical footholds to guide our decision making. If you give me a choice between steak and shrimp, I don't need moral guidance, just awareness of my preferences. If the choice is between smacking a ref who makes a bad call and just complaining about it, my morality kicks in and stops me. But, emotions, passions, and preferences work against the moral boundaries and lead me to justify smacking him by diluting A and B.

The true answer is to figure out what makes me so angry towards the ref and change that. If I stop wanting to do NOT C, then A and B don't need to be true anymore. I do C because I like C. This leaves the moral compulsion unnecessary.