Morality is a man-made concept that is defined by the society you live in; it is subjective. There is nothing called morality in nature. You cannot observe morality or test it in a laboratory. There is no absolute "morality."
Many religious fanatics have tried to prove that morality is an absolute, just like God is real. They have even developed philosophies to prove it, e.G., metaphysics, and epistemology, which use meaningless circular propositions to prove their points. They use word games to prove their points. Both assume that knowledge, morality, Good and Evil exist 'a priori'.
What does 'a priori' mean: 'a priori' knowledge, in Western philosophy since the time of Immanuel Kant, knowledge that is independent of all particular experiences, as opposed to a posteriori knowledge, which derives from experience. The Latin phrases a priori (“from what is before”) and a posteriori (“from what is after”) were used in philosophy originally to distinguish between arguments from causes and arguments from effects.
Even murdering or killing humans is not an absolute; it is societal, e.G., killing in war is OK, killing someone attacking you with deadly force where you are in fear of your life is OK.
Morals are a personal gauge of right and wrong. To say that morality is objective is to say that notions of right and wrong are universal and fixed for all times; as in relating to or existing as an object of thought without consideration of independent existence. That is saying what are right and wrong today will be that way for all cultures and all time and are the same as they were in the past. It is a fact that some things were thought of as good in the past that are now thought bad, making it purely subjective.
Simply put morality is what a person regards as 'right' and 'wrong'. What a person decides as 'morally right' or 'morally wrong' is down to their own ideals and principles. They are not decided by society or any other external source. Morals set by external sources, such as society, would be called 'ethics'.
The morals of a violent sadistic murderer differ from those of a vegan pacifist. If you agree with that statement you automatically agree that morality is subjective.
The above statement is also the same as saying: the morals of person A differ from person B. The point still remains.
Also if morality wasn't subjective, humanity as a whole would be able to agree on a hell of a lot of topics that we clearly cannot agree on. Warfare, especially wars from antiquity, is a great example that shows that morality is subjective.
In order for morality to be objective, it must be right or wrong regardless of human perception.
Morality does not exist without human conciousness to perceive and interpret it. Human perception is subjective because no one individual can interpret another's perception.
Example: No other person can tell me how I perceive the color red. Sure, we could both look at a rose or a firetruck and be in agreement that they are indeed red, but that is not the same as that person perceiving red as I do. For all that person knows, my concept of 'red' is actually their concept of blue, or yellow, or some other color that they, if they were able to perceive through my mind, would not be red.
To this point, I'll share an anecdote of my friend who is completely colorblind. He has no notion of what the color 'red' means, or any other color for that matter, according to my mind's interpretation of it, but he has acclimated himself to associate a certain shade of grey to be the color "red". So, if he were looking at the aforementioned rose or firetruck, or needed to make sure the traffic light he was approaching was warning him to stop, he would still be in agreement that they are red. This, however, is a learned association and not the same as a rose, firetruck, stoplight, etc. being objectively red.
The same is true of morality. The statement, "It is morally wrong to kill another person" is subjective to the person who is faced with the prospect of killing another person. If, say, the person is going to kill another person who has strapped themselves with explosives and is about to blow up a school, then that person may feel morally justified in killing the other. On the other hand, the person strapped with explosives might feel a similar moral justification for what they are about to do. It might not be what you think is moral, be that doesn't make it any less moral to them, and that is precisely the point.
The reason morality is subjective is because there is no common moral law that ALL people agree on. If objective moral codes existed like "murder is bad" than there would be no murderers. But there are murderers. The reason most societies outlaw murder is because it is for the logical salvation of the society. However, salvation of society has little to do with individual salvation. Right and wrong become meaningless, and to an individuals point of view, moral becomes the best choice for the respective body, be it there family or self. The fact that this question exists is good evidence for subjective morality.
If morality was objective there would be at least one rule throughout every society that has ever existed that was believed as this is not the case. Morality MUST be subjective. A popular argument against this is murder, but what constitutes murder is itself subjective for example soldiers during a war or human sacrifices to a god.
The evidence is simply obvious. If morality were completely objective, it would be a law like gravity, and we'd all simply agree about it to begin with. The vary fact that we can disobey what people call objective values shows it is not absolute. Differing experiences breed different understandings, and different ways of reasoning. Differing reasoning produces differing moral opinions. Differing moral opinions produce differing moral actions. Differing moral actions definitely happen.
Morality is a result of outward sense (how we perceive it) and an inward sentiment (our internal thoughts of it). If morality was truly objective, then humanity would all recognise certain instances as 'good' and others as 'bad'; there would universal agreement towards it. However, that simply isn't the case because while I might find one thing as being 'good' others might consider the same thing as being 'bad', this is the case because we all have our own principles and values that govern what we see as good and bad but (rationally speaking) 'good' and 'bad' are nothing more that words we associate with things that we get an emotional response from. For example, person A and person B are in the park enjoying a pleasant day when suddenly they see a man being beaten and robbed by another. That evening, they are in a pub and discuss what happened, person A believes it was morally bad while person B believes it was (objectively speaking) neither good nor bad. Now, the event itself can't be good or bad at the same time as one negates the other. Perhaps the man who was beaten and robbed did the same to the other, perhaps the person who committed the act was in desperate need of money to buy medicine. If morality was truly objective, then there would be no disagreement between people on what is 'good' or 'bad' but there is. I am not saying we should completely negate morality and discard it from out judicial systems or ways of life, but it is important to understand that life is simply the way it is and what we may perceive as good another can perceive as bad and vise versa.
The term "morality" encompasses two concepts: ethics and morals. Ethics are the objective component while morals are subjective. If morality consisted exclusively of principles imposed by a social system (ethics), there would be no room for personal interpretation. So morality requires individual perception along with objectivity. I am a firm believer in freedom of conscience.
Morality is a personal idea. A person has to really search for answers inside themselves with posed with issues concerning humanity. Answers to morality questions are rarely straightforward and each person is entitled to their own opinion about what is right and what is wrong. Therefore morality is a very subjective thing that has nothing set in stone.
The statement 'Killing innocent people is wrong' doesn't mean 'I don't like killing innocent people' or 'I don't think innocent people should be killed', it means 'killing innocent people is wrong'. The word is 'universal', not 'absolute'. The difference is that 'universal' simply means 'applicable to all people' whereas 'absolute' implies that it applies regardless of any circumstances. Killing innocent people is wrong, as it inherently results in harm to an individual, and as this individual is described as an 'innocent' they obviously have not warranted this harm. The act of killing this individual inherently infringes on their rights to self-determinate and to live their own life, both of which will be ended immediately if they are killed. A large majority of sane individuals, at least, will agree that they do not want to be killed, themselves, so it is easy to apply 'one shouldn't kill innocents' as a universal rule rather than a circumstantially applied one.
Thus, the act of killing innocents is wrong. One can disagree with this, of course, but in order to do so one must apply the rule 'despite having done nothing to warrant it, it would not be wrong to kill me', or 'killing others who don't deserve it is okay, as long as it isn't me', both of which are patently absurd as ethical stances. Both deny basic human rights on some inherent level, and apply the principle that only some, or no, people have or deserve 'rights' in the first place.
You could have long absolute moral statements i.E. "It is wrong to kill a person who has not threatened your life or the lives of others who is not dying of a terminal illness and wants the pain to go away and where it is not taking place as part of a war"
When all relevant aspects are accounted for there is a right and wrong answer and it doesn't depend on our opinion.
Moral relativism is in part a reaction to those moral absolutists who think you can come up with moral absolutes that are short, but it's also in part intellectual laziness.
No moral absolutes huh? So if I came to your house, beat your mother and sisters to death, beheaded your father and brothers, raped your wife and ate your baby on the basis of what I think is right and okay for me, are you telling me that you wont judge me and hate me because you must respect my subjective morality? That you have no right to feel disgust of disapproval because my wrong and right doesn't apply to you? Are you saying that nobody else in the world will feel the same way you would if I did it to their family?
Is rape wrong?
Is it wrong if a tribe votes it as right and does it anyway?
Is it wrong if some countries think it is right?
YES, it is still wrong. This is an example of objective morality, versus subjective morality of say "killing is wrong" well this is subjective, but "killing innocent human beings is wrong" is objective, regardless of culture, religion, or race.
Now does that mean that morality is both objective and subjective?
I don't think so, I believe the statement "killing people is wrong" is not a universal moral truth. So it is a category error using it. Only universal moral truths can be used as a litmus test for the question "is morality objective or subjective." Because it is only those truths that contain the 100% morality that we need.
In conclusion, we would only need one example to prove that objective moral truth exists, even if we only have 1. IT still proves that it is possible in the universe that objective moral truth exists.
I say that morality is not subjective. While the concept of right and wrong is different for other human beings, there are central tenets that all humans share in regards to morality such as:
- Do not hurt other humans.
- Do not beat your spouse.
- Give your children a loving home to grow up in.
- Live your lives with dignity, and respect for yourself.
- Be the better man/woman in arguments.
And so on.
There are certainly some areas of morality which are subjective and open to opinion, but there are central points and characteristics which make you moral or immoral.
You cannot judge any act as being 'evil' because it was simply another's perspective. You can hate their tastes and hate them for their views...But 'evil' would become a meaningless term. Everything would become about 'disagreements' not 'right and wrong'. I might hate someone's taste in music...But it seems to me that the disagreement I have with THAT kind of a 'taste' is quite different to judging their moral standards. You wouldn't judge a shark...If evil is subjective, you shouldn't judge another human being.
The bible shows the revealed will of mankind - from salvation through Jesus Christ, to standards of what is right and what is wrong - God Himself sets the standard of objective morality - man in arrogance and ignorance choose subjective morals to suit himself, hence why we have a society in moral decay
One can argue that there are different perceived morals that us as human beings create but one cannot argue the fact that to not have a set of morals or principals to live by is wrong. For instance, there are many people in life whose own lives may not be entirely lived, or productively lived, because they cannot organize a set of morals or principals to live by. Often people who observe the aforementioned person tends to think of that person as living in a wrong manner because they cannot make productive use of their life.
Morality must be entirely objective, otherwise genocides, honor killings, female mutilation, etc can go on in the name of someone else's morality. Even if you do not support the notion of a supreme being, there must be some accepted basis of right and wrong. Based on utilitarianism, Hitler's mass genocide is acceptable because in his opinion (with pseudo science that he used to back it up) it created the most powerful society, and thus no one should have intervened if morality is merely subjective based on your culture. Such is the case with jihadists crashing into the twin towers. They believe in a god that they believe accepts these actions in the name of reaching their end. It is tough to come to any conclusion that morality can be subjective in a moral and functional society.
See supporting headline. To believe that there is not an actual objective standard that people live upon that is intrinsic to human beings means that your life is ultimately pointless and is valueless. Everything you do is gray, thoughtless, and is the philosophical standpoint of a complete and total coward.