The Instigator
Jerry947
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Briannj17
Con (against)
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Morality is Objective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 462 times Debate No: 84536
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (22)
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Jerry947

Pro

I read one of your other debates on this topic and I thought it might be fun to argue this topic. I will be arguing that objective morality (or that morality is objective) does exist and was created by the Christian God.

Definitions: (used online dictionaries)
Objective-Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
Subjective-based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
Morality-The distinction between what is right and wrong

1. Religious Argument: Since we are both Christian I thought I would use this argument. The Bible teaches that there is an objective moral law that exists and that everyone knows about it. Romans 2:15 says "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them." In other words, people were created by God to know the distinction between what was right and wrong. Therefore people are aware of the objective moral law. Whether they are moral or not is another matter entirely.

2. Almost all people are aware that murder, lying, stealing, and etc...are wrong. it seems crazy to believe that every person just so happens to have the same subjective opinion on these basic moral principles. There must be some sort of universal moral law that exists.

I made my opening argument short on purpose to keep things simple. If you wish to make things more complicated I will be happy to get more involved in this debate.

Debate Format:
Debaters go back and forth refuting each other points until the last round. This is not going to be the typical debate. But I hope we might each learn a lot.

Links:
https://www.google.com...
https://www.google.com...
Briannj17

Con

Hello and thank you for making this debate. Well I personally believe that morality is subjective because...

The definition of morality and therefore morality is subjective to many different cultures and societies. https://philosophynow.org...

The bible claims that all morality comes from God and is implanted in our hearts. However the bible has contradictions on what is moral or not. One of the ten commandments is you shall not kill. However the bible supports killing in war or other instances. http://www.sacred-texts.com...
Also if morals are implanted in everybody then we wouldn't be having this debate we would all know what morality is and what is moral or not. List all the things you think are moral than and I guarantee you their will be people against some of what you say.

The bible also states that in the last days many people will lose their moral principles and find pleasure in what is wrong. http://www.bibletoday.com...
Therefore what is moral is subject to change and therefore subjective.

Also you have created a truism with your saying that morality comes from God. Since all things good come from God. Everything ever made or thought of came from God therefore I won't argue that point since in this case it is unarguable. I instead will argue that morality is subjective such as the debate title states.

I look forward to your response.

.
Debate Round No. 1
Jerry947

Pro

1. Showing that societies have done immoral things does not prove that morality is subjective. It only proves that people are evil. All people are aware of the moral law according to Romans 2:15...but this doesn't mean that we all follow it. And we could go into details about what certain societies did wrong (Cannibalism) but "the moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other" (Lewis 13). In other words, when you look at the immoral actions of societies, you are comparing them to a real morality recognizing that there is a real right and wrong.

2. The Bible has no contradictions whatsoever. But I will address yours since it is about morality. I could not open your link but the Bible says that "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13). There is a difference between murder and killing. Murder is wrong and killing is not wrong. Murder is actually defined as the unlawful killing of a person.

3. I am not only saying that morality comes from God, but I am claiming that God created an objective moral law which he put into every humans hearts.

4. By the way, your verse from 2 Timothy only says this: "...in the last days" men will be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" It only speaks of the way people will behave. It doesn't mean that people will forget what is moral and immoral, it only says that people will follow their own pleasures.

Good job with the counter arguments. I usually don't get this kind of honest debating when I do it with other people. I also look forward to your next response.

Sources:
http://www.esvbible.org...
http://www.esvbible.org...
I used C.S Lewis' book Mere Christianity as well.
Briannj17

Con

Alrighty then. Let's get cracking.

Perhaps Romans 2:15 is out of context a little. How about Romans 2:14? "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:" https://www.biblegateway.com...
Notice the word Gentiles. We should know what that means. It means non Jews. Also notice what it says, they "have not the law". Paul is a funny writer that way. Begins every sentence with a "For" or "So" or "this". You have to therefore read every single sentence to get the full picture. Also verse 16 " In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" So are we in that time yet? No. I don't think so. http://www.donimon.org...

Also we read subjectively. We can translate verses in our own light. We hear what we want to hear. Therfore if we read subjectively we translate subjectively and act on the law subjectively. http://www.holybooks.info...
Here. http://www.sacred-texts.com...
Hopefully this opens for you this time.

Morality is the distinction between what is right or wrong. The definition of right is a circular reasoning. Right: morally good, justified, or acceptable.
https://www.google.ca...

The same goes with wrong. Wrong; unjust, dishonest, or immoral.
https://www.google.ca...

Therefore we must agree that what is right and wrong is objective to morality. But what is morality objective to?
Morality, principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.https://www.google.ca...

What are principles? Principle: a rule or belief governing one's personal behavior.
https://www.google.ca...

A belief is subjective all beliefs are subjective therefore by definition Morality is subjective.

I thank you for an interesting round and hope to hear from you soon.
Debate Round No. 2
Jerry947

Pro

You claim that "Perhaps Romans 2:15 is out of context a little. How about Romans 2:14? "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:" I noticed that you start off your sentence with the word perhaps...this indicates to me that you are unsure of what you are saying. But nevertheless I will address your point. The verse you gave mentioned that the law was not given to the Gentiles in the same way that the Jews knew of the law. The Jews had the law written down on stone tablets and had a little advantage. But...the next verse says that the law was written on their hearts and therefore they (the Gentiles) were aware of the law that God created. In other words, my point still remains valid. God still has a moral law that all people are aware of.

Verse 12 "All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law."
Verse 16 "This will take place on the day when God judges people"s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares."

Verse 16 is merely saying that people will perish when that day arrives. It is not saying that people are not aware of the moral law that God has created. It is saying that all people are aware of the law (they just received it differently) and they will be judged when the day of judgment arrives.

While it may be true that people read subjectively, this does not mean we cannot understand truth. We also have an advantage when the truth is coming from the Bible. John 11:35 states that "Jesus Wept." This is something that is well understood and there is really nothing subjective about that statement. Same with the Romans 2:15 verse, it states that the Gentiles and the Jews are aware of the law that God has created. This verse is pretty clear on what it is talking about.

I am aware that Morality is the distinction between right and wrong. I am the one who supplied that definition in the opening argument. But how is the definition of right and wrong circular reasoning? Can you explain that claim?

You ask "What is morality objective to?" I don't exactly understand the question but God is the one who created the objective moral law according to the Bible.

I agree that beliefs are subjective...but morality is not merely a belief. If it were to merely be a belief...morality would be meaningless. People could never tell people what was right and wrong because all they would have is their opinions on what morality is. And peoples opinions on what is moral does not create an ethical standard in which people have to follow. Only God can do that which is why him being perfectly moral created a moral law in which all people would be made aware of it.

Sources:
http://www.esvbible.org...
https://www.google.com...
https://carm.org...
Briannj17

Con

It is just the way I talk. I use the word perhaps a lot. Perhaps it is a habit ;-)

You agree that people read subjectively. Therefore we cannot have a universal immovable principle if people have a different beleif. For instance Islam teaches I am telling you morality is subjective. You are telling me God is objective which I agree with. However in God's infinite love he gave us freedom to choose right or wrong. Not everyone knows this. .

""Love thy neighbour as thyself" has meant various things at various times: A land of barbarians may feel quite free to brutalize others just as they brutalize themselves5, whereas band of 1970s hippies spread love in a much more physical way. Over time, morals are simply read into texts differently, hence why religious prohibitions change over time too. We read text literally, chronologically and philosophically, but both The Koran and much of The Bible was written in prose, in poetry, using many symbolic aspects and word games. Shifts in time and place mean that there are unknown cultural references that we cannot possibly understand now, even if text that we think we are reading correctly."
http://www.holybooks.info...

The definition of right is circular to morality because the definition of right is what is morally correct. The definition of wrong is what is morally incorrect. So right and wrong points back to what is moral or not. Then what do morals point to? I say the bible. You say our hearts. However If I had to look in the bible to see what is right or wrong, then morality is subjective to what I believe. If I looked in the quaran (If I spelled it right) I would find a somewhat different moral code. If I followed the way of my ancestors and believed in the Great Spirit I would also find a different moral code. Therfore morality is subjective. Not having a definite principle.

I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 3
Jerry947

Pro

I do agree that people read and interpret things based on opinions. But that doesn't also mean that humans cannot also based their opinions on truth. And since you and I know the Bible to be true, we can base our opinions on the truth that the Bible presents. The verse I gave you claimed that everybody is aware of the moral law. You responded by first claiming that the Bible has contradictions on what was moral/immoral and I refuted that point. Then you went on to say that I might have taken the verse out of context...that was also refuted. What will you say now?

Now you claim that "we cannot have a universal immovable principle if people have a different belief." We are now right back where we started. This is the same thing as saying that morality is subjective. People do not really have different ideas about the basic moral principles. You first backed up your claiming by analyzing the acts of societies in the past. It seems I refuted that point as well. Now you backup your claim by saying people interpret "Love thy neighbor as thyself" differently. But no matter how they love people (in a barbaric way or in a physical way) they are still aware of the moral principle of loving other people.

It was then stated that "shifts in time and place mean that there are unknown cultural references that we cannot possibly understand now, even if text that we think we are reading correctly." This sounds like a cop out to me. Romans 2:15 is very straight forward and is very easy to understand just like John 11:35. There are many difficult verses in the Bible but this is not one of them.

I don't think that the definition of right is circular to morality. The words moral and right are synonyms. Nothing in my argument is circular. As for what morality points to...I would say it points to God. And God, who inspired the book of Romans, said that the moral law was written on our hearts.

Lastly, it was stated that "However If I had to look in the bible to see what is right or wrong, then morality is subjective to what I believe. If I looked in the quaran (If I spelled it right) I would find a somewhat different moral code." But let us see what the Koran says about morality. The book of the Muslims states this: "It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)," (3:3). Therefore the Koran actually states that what the Bible says about morality is correct. Do the Muslims have some immoral actions condoned in their holy book? Yes..that is because the book is flawed and written by a womanizer. It is fully expected for a man who put his personal desires over his morality to condone such actions as wife beating. The ancestors you had still were aware of the moral code God created. They merely were mistaken about where it came from.

I will await to hear from you again.

Source: http://www.noblequran.com...
Briannj17

Con

I should have brought this back to life from the start but I want to bring up an interesting moral question for you. In order to prove that morality is objective and not subjective why don't we list what we believe is right and see if anyone wants to debate. Surely if morality is objective and based on a firm principle everyone would not argue what we have to say is right.

1. It is my firm belief that we go to church on Saturday.
2. We should not eat pork products or anything that is "Unclean" according to the teachings of God.
3. God is three in one. The Holy Spirit, God the Father, and God the Son.
4. Communion (the foot washing, the blood of Christ and his body the bread) Is acceptable in the eyes of God according to scripture.
5. When we die it is much like sleep, we don't go to heaven immediately. when we wake up we go to heaven to be judged.
6. Hell is not a place where you are suffering for an everlasting time. Instead you eternally dead and are not thought of again.
7. The pope is or is going to be the Antichrist as mentioned in revelation.
8. Having a sexual relationship with a family member is wrong.
9. Having a sexual relationship with animals is wrong.
10: Premarital sex is wrong.
11: Worshiping anything other than God is wrong
12: Suicide is wrong
13: Rape is wrong
14: Pornography is wrong

Then there are things I'm unsure of. And surely if morality was objective I would know what is right and wrong.

1: Polygamy
2: Drinking alcoholic beverages.
3: Do I dare say it? Masturbation
4: Killing in revenge
5: Lying in a life or death situation
6: Drugs
7: Morality
8: Technology as robots
9: War

By this list and the fact that because of culture, society and religion that these moral views are different in every individual I think it is obvious that morality is subjective.
Debate Round No. 4
Jerry947

Pro

I can't believe the last round has arrived already. This has been a fun debate. You have brought up some interesting questions. I will answer each one by one. I will start off by listing the question and then my response will be underneath it.
In most of the cases...the facts change but the moral principles are the same.

Part One:

1. It is my firm belief that we go to church on Saturday.

Yes and you do this to honor God. Christians all have the same desire to honor God but how/when we do it is not important. Either way we both are aware that honoring God is a moral thing to do. So you see...the facts about how we are moral are different but the basic moral principle is still understood by all Christians.

2. We should not eat pork products or anything that is "Unclean" according to the teachings of God.

Same thing as the first question. You have the desire to do the teachings of God and all Christians have the same desire if they are true Christians. That said, the facts about how to abide by the teachings of God might be different, the moral principle is still understood. I disagree with what you said about eating pork, but I still understand that it is important to do abide by God's laws.

3. God is three in one. The Holy Spirit, God the Father, and God the Son.

I agree but this really isn't a question about morality.

4. Communion (the foot washing, the blood of Christ and his body the bread) Is acceptable in the eyes of God according to scripture.

True...but again it really has nothing to do with morality.

5. When we die it is much like sleep, we don't go to heaven immediately. when we wake up we go to heaven to be judged.

I agree with this also but again...not a question about morality.

6. Hell is not a place where you are suffering for an everlasting time. Instead you eternally dead and are not thought of again.

I basically disagree with this but this is not a question about morality.

7. The pope is or is going to be the Antichrist as mentioned in revelation.

Never thought about it. I don't believe it to be true but it has nothing to do with morality.

8. Having a sexual relationship with a family member is wrong.

All people pretty much are aware of this. Have their been people that have done it? Yes...but again this only proves that people have done immoral things.

9. Having a sexual relationship with animals is wrong.

All people pretty much are aware of this. Have their been people that have done it? Yes...but again this only proves that people have done immoral things.

10. Premarital sex is wrong.

People understand the basic moral principles about lying, stealing, and cheating on spouses. The facts about how to be moral change but the basic principles are understood. When people have sex before marriage, they have two instincts. One being that it is okay (probably the stronger instinct) and the other being wait until marriage. They are already aware that waiting until marriage is the right thing to do but they might sometimes make the wrong decision. And even if there are people who truly believe that their actions are okay (which I find hard to believe) their actions would be based on the moral principle that satisfying oneself (in a meaner of speaking) is a good thing to do. Christians would also agree that satisfying are needs are a good thing to do but the facts about how we do it would be different.

11. Worshiping anything other than God is wrong

Yes..this is true. People feel the need to follow that principle. They will follow that principle but the facts about who/what the God they serve is the thing that changes. So the facts change but the moral principle stays the same.

12. Suicide is wrong

Almost people would agree with this. There is a reason why the majority of people do not take their lives.

13. Rape is wrong

All people know this. But lets talk about sexual instincts again. People will choose the wrong instinct sometimes. Being aware of these moral principles does not mean that they will always follow them. The thought to satisfy oneself seems like a moral thing to do and it is in a sense but the facts about how we do it change. In the minds of a rapist, women are nothing but sex objects and it is okay for him to rape them. But surely the only thing different about the situation is the facts. Surely if a woman were nothing but a sex object it would be good to rape them. But since most people know that women aren't sex objects (facts change), people understand that doing harm to other people is immoral. But the rapist doesn't see the woman as a person. So you see, we all understand the basic moral principles...the facts merely change about how we carry them out.

That said, there are some total creeps out there that are just nuts and have no moral code in them at all. So yes, even though the majority of people are aware of the moral law, there a few people that do not know it. I mean, most people do have legs but there are always a few people that cannot walk.

14. Pornography is wrong

People would agree with this as well. I probably do not have to repeat the things about satisfying oneself again. But yes, people generally understand that pornography is immoral. People might do the wrong thing anyway, but people do bad things even when they know that they are doing something wrong.

In summary, all of these things are interesting questions but they are all about whether people choose to do the right thing (when they know it is the right thing to do) or they are about the differences in facts about how to carry out the moral principles.

Part Two: Due to character limits I will briefly address your next nine questions. Just use the same process I used above with answering the questions below.

1. Polygamy-Wrong from a Christian perspective.
2: Drinking alcoholic beverages.-Okay as long as your not getting drunk. Most people know this. Even Jesus drank wine.
3: Do I dare say it? Masturbation-Definitely wrong from a Christian perspective.
4: Killing in revenge-Killing is okay. Murder is not okay. So the question is...would you be killing or murdering the person?
5: Lying in a life or death situation-Perfectly moral...remember when Rehab did this in the Bible to save lives?
6: Drugs-most people know that they are harmful. People might be for legalization for other reasons (people are for the right to choose to take drugs but aren't actually for drugs themselves) but the majority of people know it is harmful.
7: Morality-no idea what this means
8: Technology as robots-no idea what this means
9: War-Most people would agree that war is sometimes necessary. God used it to end immoral actions.

The facts might change during each of these nine questions but people still understand the basic moral principles that God put inside of us. Do people rationalize their wrong choices as okay sometimes? Yes...but they still are aware of what is right and wrong.

Thanks for a good debate!
Briannj17

Con

In conclusion...
The fact you refer your beleifs from the Bible shows that all your morals are dependent on the word of God and is therefore dependant not on your heart but on the word of God. If our moral choices are based on the Bible it proves that morality is subjective.

As I stated, and you agreed, some people are not sure which choices are right and wrong. The fact that they're confused and don't know for sure the correct choices proves that morality is subjective, people make a choice based on they're religion, past events, or for pleasure.

So I guess this is the end. I thank you for your arguments and hope to be in more debates with someone with as much understanding and responsive as you in the future. As for me, my name is Brian N Johnson and thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 5
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Briannj17 11 months ago
Briannj17
Ugh something happened to my text when I submitted. Just omit "Islam teaches" in the second paragraph of the 3rd round
Posted by Briannj17 11 months ago
Briannj17
No. It is my opinion that by definition there is no such thing as absolute truth. As defined here, "Absolute truth" is defined as inflexible reality: fixed, invariable, unalterable facts. For example, it is a fixed, invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no square circles and there are absolutely no round squares."
http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org...
However that last statement is just a play on words. Just like the statement, 'Can God create a rock he couldn't lift?' this statement however is thwarted here. http://www.gotquestions.org...

Humans made definitions. They defined what a circle is they defined a square. These are considered facts. It is very mind boggling however we never know for certain what truth is. Absolutes are all backed up nothing. A square is simply a square because it meets the characteristics. The characteristics are man made. That is all they are based on. Shapes are based on characteristics Characteristics are based on what? God? Some say yes some say no. Therefore absolute truth is not known.
Posted by Jerry947 11 months ago
Jerry947
Sounds good. Although...when you say "the world doesn't know an absolute truth," isn't this something you are claiming to be absolutely true?

I will have to post my argument later for the morality argument because I have things to do now. But I look forward to our discussions.
Posted by Briannj17 11 months ago
Briannj17
In the future sometime. I have to much on the go right now with exams, work and the farm. Also by definition facts are not subjective. what I should have said is, The world doesnt know an absolute truth.
Posted by Jerry947 11 months ago
Jerry947
If you create a debate on facts being subjective...I will accept it.
Posted by Jerry947 11 months ago
Jerry947
I am 100% sure because my faith is based on the evidence of the relationship I have with him. But I get what you are saying.
Posted by Briannj17 11 months ago
Briannj17
Facts are subjective is what we should debate next.
Posted by Briannj17 11 months ago
Briannj17
What I am saying is nobody knows 100% sure. We believe that were 100% sure because of faith. The bible teaches against being lukewarm. God would even prefer cold to lukewarm. Your either on fire for God (hot) On the fence (lukewarm) or know nothing at all about Him (cold).
Posted by Jerry947 11 months ago
Jerry947
Christians generally have some sort of relationship with God. You can't be 60% sure that you have a relationship with a person. That doesn't make sense. In my opinion, Christians should be 100% sure that God exists otherwise the relationship between God and the Christian would never grow.
Posted by Briannj17 11 months ago
Briannj17
We don't know for 100% that God exists. What we have is a belief. We need faith in Him and that faith is what brings us closer to realizing the truth. However we never know for certain what absolute truth is. What we have is a belief, faith
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