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Theists do not have objective morality

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 488 times Debate No: 98183
Debate Rounds (4)
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I'm redoing this debate since the last person didn't respond in time. Please, if you're going to accept this debate make sure you have time to actually complete the debate withing the next 7 days or so. You'll probably need an hour or so of free time every other day at least to complete this debate.

Alright, let's get started with definitions:
Objective: "(of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts" [1]
Morality: " Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour" [1]

Logical fallacies will be pointed out
Kritik will be pointed out
Round 1: Acceptance, state your position, agreement on definitions of terms.
Round 2: Main arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Conclusion/state why you believe you won, no new arguments here.

I am arguing that theists do not have objective morality, my opponent will be arguing that theists do have objective morality.

Alternatively, my opponent may begin their argument in round 1 if they so choose, just remember to waive round 4 if you do so in order to keep the arguments even between us, since I'm not using round 1 for argument. Basically just get rid of round 1 as acceptance and move each round up for the order you now have.



Objective morality in humans is primarily based on genetic factors. Theist's morality is influence by genetic factors more than religious factors. Therefore, theists do have objective morality.
Debate Round No. 1


This sounds like an argument that my opponent made in round 1, so remember to waive round 4. To follow my own outline for the debate, I will not rebut anything that my opponent said in round 1 until round 3. Since my opponent chose round 1 to argue, their rebuttals are in round 2, and everything else happens one round earlier for them

The first argument I have that theists do not have objective morality, is the fact that morals differ from religion to religion and culture to culture. If theists had objective morality, then all theists would have the same morals, but each of them differ which indicates that their morality depends on something other than objective sources.

I shall point out that in the US and most Christian nations it is okay to:
1) eat beef
2) Drink Alcohol and gamble
3) Allow women in school and businesses
4) For women to wear shorts and have face uncovered.
However in some non-Christian nations, these things are not okay. For example in India it is not okay to eat beef; in Middle Eastern Islamic countries it is not okay to drink Alcohol or gamble; In Afghanistan it is not okay for women to go to school or go into business; and in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan it is not okay for women to wear shorts or have their face uncovered. [1] All of these things are based off of the theists' beliefs.

On the flip side, in America and most Christian nations it is not okay to:
1) Kill newborn females
2) Perform female genital mutilation
3) For a family member to kill a woman family member who is raped
However in China and India it is okay to kill newborn females; In many African nations it is okay to perform FGM; and in Somalia and Sudan it is okay for a family member to kill a woman family member who is raped. [1]

The fact that these theists each have different beliefs on what is moral, suggests that they are not from objective sources. If the sources were objective, then there would be no difference between the morals of some religions to other religions.

Now, some theists may argue that they have objective morality because they have a god which tells them what is wrong and right, however, how is this objective? Unless the god gets moral ideas from an objective source, then theists' morals are subjective since they depend on the opinions of this god. It's merely this god's opinion that some things are wrong and other things are right. The morals are not suddenly objective just because their god says they are: after all, other theists believe the same thing: that their god gave them objective morals, yet morals differ from religion to religion.

Objectivity is based on facts, and facts inherently point to one thing being true. Facts cannot show that multiple ideas are true that conflict with another, otherwise this is contradictory. Murder cannot be right and wrong in the same instance at the same time if it was based on objectivity, yet some theists consider murder to be okay in some instances whereas other theists consider it wrong in the same instances. This alone shows that theists do not have objective morality, but rather get their morals from their own subjective opinions.

After all, theists choose which religion they are a part of. They will naturally choose whichever religion has the morals they agree with, not which religion has the most facts to back them up. If theists chose which religion was most objective, then there would only be one religion in the world(or none at all), but most theists choose a religion based on what they feel is correct, not based on what is actually correct, and that is why there are so many different religions in the world.



A day is 24 hours. The average person sleeps 8 hours a day. This means the person waking hours are 16. When considering moral actions of a person, every action during every minute and hour counts, except when they are sleeping. So, it is fair to judge the average human of any culture and any religion for 16 hours on whether or not they have objective morality or not.

The general categories on how a person spends their day can be broken down into:

Personal Care
Eating and Drinking
Household Work
Household Care
Non-household Care
Pro. Care Services
Phone Calls

I am not considering sleeping in this argument because conscious decisions are not made during sleep.

Theists and nontheists will be doing all these things in the above list in a way that practicality demands. This means we all pretty much will do all these things in basically the same way. Most people cooperate during these times, almost all of the time, which means most people are being moral. This morality doesn"t have to be taught, so it"s fits the definition of objective morality.

Somes time religion influences the way we do things, but rarely takes a significant percentage of the time of the day. Since humans time consists of actions that are mostly morally objective and this includes theist and non-theists, theists are morally objective.
Debate Round No. 2


Alright, to refute the claims my opponent made in argument 1:
Genetics help determine how our opinions will be shaped and molded. However, these are still opinions and thoughts. Morality, when it comes from opinion, is subjective.

As I pointed out before, the definition of objective is "(of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts"

Morality, itself, is pretty much always determined by a person's feelings and thoughts, so I would actually argue that no one has objective morality because morality is dependent on how you feel a particular thing is good or bad.

Killing is not objectively wrong, because you never know what that person was going to do in the future. For all you know, that person could have been the next Hitler or Stalin, and you just prevented them from coming to power.

Nothing is really objectively good or bad, and that is why cultures and religions differ so much about the topic of morality, since it is subjective.

When my opponent argues in round 2 that cooperating is moral, what makes it moral? How is it objectively a moral thing to do? What if the person you're cooperating with plans to massacre many people? How is massacring people objectively wrong?

Is there really any way to objectively measure morality?


I agree with my opponents argument, but only in the sense that it represents a very small percentage of the actions theist make.

For example, when the world sits down to eat, some of them will be eating pork, which for some is immoral. But, what about all the other food on the plate we all eat? It's okay, it's really objectively moral to eat that food, whereas considering pork immoral is not objective morality. Most of the time everyone is eating what everyone else eats. Only a small percentage of what theists believe is immoral to eat is being eaten. So, most of the time, theist are being objectively moral when they eat.

That argument could be applied to all the minutia of the average person's day. It would be unnecessary to write all those arguments for a person to see that point, nor do I have the time to.

My opponent argues that morality is purely subjective and has no genetic origins. Morality has genetic origins. I will give a couple of examples:

We may say it is immoral for woman with a child with one man to sleep with another man. Well, if she does, she may get pregnant. Now, the first male who wants his genes to survive just got competition from the second male. The first male will see now that this woman will have to split her energy between his child and a child that is not his own. The second male was too dumb to get his own woman and now threatens his own offspring. This means the first child will loose attention for a child that is of offspring that is stupid enough to create this situation. At this point, the father may even find it moral to throw it all away and find a woman who won't do this.

Another example is that polygamy is moral for some. A male who practices polygamy can spread out his genes faster than one who practices monogamy. The men who attract the women most likely will be the ones with the wealth and probably are the smartest. So, the smartest genes get spread more than the genes that loose out.

Another consideration. If a woman tries to have many husbands, there are practical limitations with sex and having offspring. When she gets pregnant, how long do you think these men want to wait to have their children? Genetics obviously has influenced morality in religion.

Because morality can have a genetic origin it's not purely subjective. It also means objective morality does exist.

My opponent should make a deductive argument that proves cooperating cannot fit in the category of moral. I will make an argument proving cooperating is moral behavior. Here goes.

Morality fits into the category getting alone with one another well. Immoral acts fit in the category that is contrary to human cooperation. Cooperating therefore is moral behavior.

Every human act can be considered cooperative or non-cooperative. All human acts can be judged to be moral or immoral.

Cooperation is human behavior that has a practical basis. A practical basis requires objective thinking. Therefore cooperation is objective morality.

Cooperating is what most humans do most of the time. Theists are humans. Therefore, theist have objective morality.
Debate Round No. 3


As I stated before, this round would have no new arguments, and it's just a conclusion and stating why you believe you won. You can restate previous arguments here too.

As I showed, morality differs from culture to culture and religion to religion. While my opponent brought up a genetic aspect to it, I argued that genes only influence what we think and feel is wrong/right. It's still ultimately our own thoughts and feelings that still determine what we consider to be moral, which means it is not objective since, as I defined objectiveearlier, it is "(of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts"
It's still our feelings that determine what is wrong and right, even if those feelings are determined or influenced by genetic factors, which I stated this in round 3.

Therefore, I believe I won this debate because my opponent didn't sufficiently argue how thoughts and feelings are not what determines our morality, and while they argued genetics create our morality, as I stated, they just influence what we feel about something. If it's based on how we feel, then it's not objective.


I had difficulty with my argument, but I think I made it clear enough to understand. I think I won because I consider the person's actions as a whole and it was fair to consider all actions as either objective morality or not. I was able to find that everyday boring behavior was clearly natural and genetically based and fell in the category of objective morality.

My opponent clearly understands there are differences, and I agree with those differences, but those differences could only allow my opponent to win if they consisted of what people where doing most of the time. Religion would have to completely undermine their behavior most of the day. Then it could be said they don't have objective morality because they are only driven by their religion. No religion could do this. Genetics and physical laws are the main cause of our actions as humans most of the time, not an organized set of beliefs.

Most of the time, no matter what religion or belief system, peoples actions are quite the same. This natural behavior is what I feel fits the definition of what my opponent stated at the beginning: objective morality.
Debate Round No. 4
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