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Is morality subjective and dependent solely upon the individual?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/31/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 325 times Debate No: 82510
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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Morality, it seems in this day and age, is largely shaped around the individual. Why is this? What is morality, after all, if not a social contract that binds the people of a community together to ensure that they do not inconvenience one another?

For example, robbing a bank seems to be a perfectly moral thing to do from my point of view. It benefits me greatly and hardly bothers anyone else. Obviously, the bank is ensured, and the users of banks are not going to be kept from their money if the bank makes a mistake. This benefits me greatly and is therefore morally acceptable.

Except it isn't. Because if I am caught, I am thrown into jail. Why is this? It is because society has as a whole has decided that stealing is morally incorrect. Why did society do this? Technically, it depends on your religious views, but what truly matters is that society has defined right and wrong and that the individual cannot decide to simply ignore this fact.


I accept and you conceded already by saying that you find something moral that someone else finds immoral. You say robbing a bank is moral to you but immoral to society. Therfore proving that morality is subjective.

Subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Morality:principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior
Debate Round No. 1


"Except it isn't. Because if I am caught, I am thrown into jail. Why is this? It is because society has as a whole has decided that stealing is morally incorrect. Why did society do this? Technically, it depends on your religious views, but what truly matters is that society has defined right and wrong and that the individual cannot decide to simply ignore this fact."

Just in case you missed this last part. It's sort of important.

How can society run if there are no definitive rights and wrongs? Laws become stupid and worthless, as anyone in a court of law can simply claim that in their world view, whatever they did was perfectly acceptable. Kidnap a little girl? I needed companionship. Stab a banker in the belly? He had it comin'. Is there any way criminals could be punished? Shucks, could criminals even exist?

I propose that morality cannot be subjective, and if someone truly believes something immoral to be moral, then they are WRONG. Ya hear me?! WRONG!!!

How is morality defined, then? Easy. Authority defines morality. In my case, this authority happens to be God, the creator of everything and therefore the big boss on how the world should run. In other, sadly nonreligious folks' lives, their morality-defining party is the government. The laws, put into place by said government, express how they feel society shoul


Your arguments are still in favor of morality being subjective. As you already said the government holds different moral ideals than you therefore proving that morality is subjective. You have therfore changed your debate to, "Does the government influence what is moral and what is not?" which is a whole other subject.

What I am saying is what is moral to one person may be immoral to another. Therefore morality is subjective. Ethics is what is set by a society. Morals is regarding a certain person or group. Therefore by definition Morality is subjective.

You say God controls your morals and other Christians and government controls others. You however said in the beginning round that stealing from the bank is moral to you. Yet one of God's commandments is you should not steal.

The fact that what is moral changes from person to person proves morality is subjective. What you think is wrong others may see as right, like you think robbing the bank is moral, others may think it immoral.

For the reason all your statements and mine support morality being subjective, vote pro for I have explained why morality is subjective.
Debate Round No. 2


Oh boy. You are obviously very confused. See, I don't actually think robbing a bank is morally acceptable. It was an example, not something I truly believed. I would have hoped this was relatively obvious, but I see that I have failed.

I also point you to the fourth paragraph of my previous argument. Yes, people see morality differently, but the fact is, if you see robbing a bank as morally acceptable, you are WRONG. Just because two people believe differently does not mean that they are both correct in their belief.

You failed to address how laws can exist when morality is subjective. This is actually very important, and if you don't answer it, you will have failed me. Not that you care, but you will have.

Also, the second part of my case (starting with Paragraph 5) is simply a gauge for how to define absolute morality. Since I believe God defines right and wrong, the government laws in accordance with his law are morally acceptable. Since many of my poor atheist friends may be reading this, they simply have to assume that ALL government laws are morally upstanding, even though I disagree.

Now I know what your thinking. If the gauge is different for two types of people, morality is subjective after all! Ahh... no. See, in the case of my poor atheist friend, basing morality off of the government is simply the best way to judge morality. This does not mean that he is correct about everything. I am of the firm belief that Christianity has the definitions for what is moral and what is not, and any belief conflicting these definitions is incorrect.

Am I bigoted? Am I "holier then thou"? Well, the truth is, yes. But not because I want to be. Nah, if morality was subjective, that would be great! Alas, this is not the case. Jesus teaches that he is the ONLY way, and that his principles are the only true righteous ways.

I don't mean to insult or offend anyone. All I have done is speak the truth.

Thank you.



The fact that there are atheists disproved everything you said about morals coming from God. There are some who live their lives not knowing anything about God. Therefore what people beleive is also subjective. Subjective again means based on the feelings, tastes or opinions of a person. All beleifs are subjective. Morality is a belief of what is right or wrong. Therefore by definition Morality is subjective.

Laws prove morality is subjective. There are always debates on whether or not laws should change. Gay Marriage used to be illegal. Proving that laws change means morality or what is right or wrong changes therfore being subjective to the people. Laws exist and can change. For this reason morality is subjective.

I agree with you about God. However the fact that there are those who never knew God or his laws proves morality is subjective and is different from person to person.

Morality is subjective! Some don't beleive in God they believe in some other form of morality. The fact that people can choose to follow rules or break rules or make their own laws proves morality is subjective. It changes from person to person.

My opponent has created a very weak argument. Supporting me and my argument along the way. Morality is subjective. My name is Brian N Johnson. Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
>Reported vote: moneystacker// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). I would say morality can also be defined by social influences I mean look at the holocaust or read the book "the self beyond itself". I think a bad barrel can make a bad apple rather then there just being a "bad apple" popping out of no where. Also society determines morality for many individuals it's sad but true.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter presents his own views on the topic, but not an RFD.
Posted by the_banjo_sender 11 months ago
While it is true that you do not have to adhere to any regulations, there are consequences if you do happen to break any laws. Society, while apparently "distorted," is still very much a thing.

Murder is mean. If you go around saying that killing human beings just for fun is completely morally correct, the huge consensus will be against you. Does the individual determine their own morality? I suppose so, but just because you have a select set of views does not mean that they are correct. Genocide will always be bad (obviously not entirely true, but it will only be acceptable when everyone believes it is acceptable, and even that does not make it moral.), and the opinion that it is good will always be frowned upon.
Posted by BlackFlags 11 months ago
Societies are a really distorted concept. I for instance, believe stealing is okay and encourage people to do it. Does that make my opinion irrelevant simply because I am outnumbered in my belief? If that is the case, then I am simply a slave to a ruling class known as the majority, and that isn't a functional system by any means.

You are not forced to adhere to the regulations the ruling class puts forward. You still have the freedom to dictate your own moral code, and freedoms cannot be taken away since they are not a physical/tangible thing to begin with.
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