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If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

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Spiral
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If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Spiral » April 29th, 2018, 6:16 pm

In this youtube video, Dennis Prager argues that if there is no God, murder isn't wrong.

If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong

Prager goes on to say that without God, opposition to murder is just an opinion. But if God exists, isn't opposition to murder still just an opinion?

What if God endorsed murder? Would that automatically make murder right instead of wrong?

In my opinion, Prager's argument is weak. What do you think?

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VictorianoOchoa
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by VictorianoOchoa » April 29th, 2018, 10:19 pm

I think a good question to first ask is what morality actually is if it exists, and what the prerequisites for its existence must be.

Although some philosophers, like Kant, have argued that morality can be derived from observation, I would personally disagree.

I would personally argue that if there is morality, then there must be some sort of ideal truth that is not contingent upon any relative aspect of the world from which it is based. Some may argue that this need not be the case, given, for example, the capacity for mathematical truths to seemingly be free from what is relative. Indeed, perhaps some aspects of the laws of nature may supersede relativity.

Is freedom of will necessary for morality to exist? This may be another question to consider.

There are mny questions to ponder. I have some more opinions of my own, but I will keep them reserved for now ;)

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Fooloso4 » April 30th, 2018, 1:32 pm

If there is God, murder is right?

From Exodus:
"Whoever is for the LORD, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him. Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'" The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day." The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin." (32:26-30)
Those who killed (murdered?) their own sons and brothers were blessed by the Lord, but it was those who had made the Golden Calf who had committed a great sin.

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Big Boss
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Big Boss » April 30th, 2018, 4:28 pm

VictorianoOchoa wrote:
April 29th, 2018, 10:19 pm
I think a good question to first ask is what morality actually is if it exists, and what the prerequisites for its existence must be.

Although some philosophers, like Kant, have argued that morality can be derived from observation, I would personally disagree.

I would personally argue that if there is morality, then there must be some sort of ideal truth that is not contingent upon any relative aspect of the world from which it is based. Some may argue that this need not be the case, given, for example, the capacity for mathematical truths to seemingly be free from what is relative. Indeed, perhaps some aspects of the laws of nature may supersede relativity.

Is freedom of will necessary for morality to exist? This may be another question to consider.

There are mny questions to ponder. I have some more opinions of my own, but I will keep them reserved for now ;)
Hi,

I think what you are saying here - and apologies for not understanding as I am sure it is my intellect and not your explanation - is that if morality existed the laws would exist despite there being things in the universe that can follow or break these laws. For instance, if murder is wrong and the universe had no things like humans in it to murder, murder would still be wrong. Just like if the universe consisted of one thing, the fact that one thing plus another thing make two would be right. If that is what you are saying, I tend to agree.

I don't get this whole God thing with morality. If God said murder was wrong, to me it seems like if your mum were to say "you are not allowed to jump on the couch". Sure, there is a rule from an authority that couch jumping is wrong, and it may be in context to these laws, but it doesn't necessarily follow that couch jumping is always wrong. It seems that there is a tendency by theists to see morality as what God commands and with no God there is no morality. All this seems to do is change the definition of morality to 'whatever God commands'. It doesn't actually give any further metaphysical respectability to morality which seems to be what those who search for morality are after.

Spiral
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Spiral » April 30th, 2018, 6:17 pm

In a discussion featuring Dennis Prager, Dave Rubin and Michael Shermer, Shermer mentioned that the definition of murder is "the wrongful killing of a person," thus, Shermer argues that the statement "Is murder wrong?" is basically saying "Is the wrongful killing of a person wrong?" The statement must be true because the definition of murder makes murder wrong.

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Big Boss
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Big Boss » April 30th, 2018, 7:44 pm

Spiral wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 6:17 pm
In a discussion featuring Dennis Prager, Dave Rubin and Michael Shermer, Shermer mentioned that the definition of murder is "the wrongful killing of a person," thus, Shermer argues that the statement "Is murder wrong?" is basically saying "Is the wrongful killing of a person wrong?" The statement must be true because the definition of murder makes murder wrong.
Hmmmmmm, interesting idea, but I don't know about that one. Isn't that just presupposing the existence of morality? If you say murder is 'wrongful killing', don't we want to out if wrongful, in the ethically loaded sense, is accurately applied to killing. I mean, couldn't there be a universe in which morality existed but killing wasn't an immoral act, so the term 'murder' or 'wrongful killing' could still exist but it would be a mistake.

I'm not sure if I am on track with my rebuttal there and your example got me thinking. Good work!

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VictorianoOchoa
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by VictorianoOchoa » May 1st, 2018, 10:57 am

Big Boss wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 4:28 pm

Hi,

I think what you are saying here - and apologies for not understanding as I am sure it is my intellect and not your explanation - is that if morality existed the laws would exist despite there being things in the universe that can follow or break these laws. For instance, if murder is wrong and the universe had no things like humans in it to murder, murder would still be wrong. Just like if the universe consisted of one thing, the fact that one thing plus another thing make two would be right. If that is what you are saying, I tend to agree.

I don't get this whole God thing with morality. If God said murder was wrong, to me it seems like if your mum were to say "you are not allowed to jump on the couch". Sure, there is a rule from an authority that couch jumping is wrong, and it may be in context to these laws, but it doesn't necessarily follow that couch jumping is always wrong. It seems that there is a tendency by theists to see morality as what God commands and with no God there is no morality. All this seems to do is change the definition of morality to 'whatever God commands'. It doesn't actually give any further metaphysical respectability to morality which seems to be what those who search for morality are after.
Yes, your interpretation is correct. I believe that morality to exist, it must be nonrelative, even though it may be expressed differently given relative changes in the universe. This means that the underlying aspect of murder that is essentially wrong would still be wrong, even if there were no humans to commit murder or to be murdered. But another question to consider, in follow-up, is if there are any such known laws that, by there very nature, cannot help but being contingent, and thus expressed, by everything in this world? For example, the laws of electromagnetism apply to atoms. So even without the existence of magnets, electromagnetism is always expressed. As is every other physical law in every ounce of what exists, as far as I am aware.

I suppose that the reason why god is involved in the argument is that it may be hard to conceive of such laws without a god, which is supposed to be a the ultimate manifestation of a nonrelative entity. After all, given causal closure, can it be the case that god exists, yet that god did not create the world? And if god created the world, then would not the dimension laws of reality pertain to god in some manner? (this would include morality)

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Eduk » May 1st, 2018, 2:31 pm

Depending on how you define murder all humans could be accused of it, to some degree.
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by CIN » May 1st, 2018, 7:34 pm

Other than its being condemned by God, all the other facts about murder, such as that it artificially ends a life, generally causes distress to family members, and so on, obtain irrespective of whether God exists and condemns murder, or exists and does not condemn murder, or does not exist. It's hard to see how the objective status of murder can change if the only fact about it that is different is that some entity condemns it. This, after all, is not really a fact about murder itself; it is merely a fact about what someone thinks or says about murder.

We wouldn't normally think that someone thinking or saying murder was wrong would suffice to make it wrong; why should the fact that the person thinking or saying it is God and not a human being make a difference? This is not explained. Nor is it clear how the mere thinking or saying that murder is wrong by some entity can change the moral status of the thing that is being condemned. How is this possible? How is it supposed to work? Prager does not even raise these issues, much less deal with them. His argument is therefore at best incomplete, and I see no reason to accept it.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Spiral » May 1st, 2018, 7:47 pm

Eduk wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 2:31 pm
Depending on how you define murder all humans could be accused of it, to some degree.
You mean that simply eating beef could implicate someone in murder?

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Big Boss
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Big Boss » May 1st, 2018, 11:12 pm

VictorianoOchoa wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 10:57 am
Big Boss wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 4:28 pm

Hi,

I think what you are saying here - and apologies for not understanding as I am sure it is my intellect and not your explanation - is that if morality existed the laws would exist despite there being things in the universe that can follow or break these laws. For instance, if murder is wrong and the universe had no things like humans in it to murder, murder would still be wrong. Just like if the universe consisted of one thing, the fact that one thing plus another thing make two would be right. If that is what you are saying, I tend to agree.

I don't get this whole God thing with morality. If God said murder was wrong, to me it seems like if your mum were to say "you are not allowed to jump on the couch". Sure, there is a rule from an authority that couch jumping is wrong, and it may be in context to these laws, but it doesn't necessarily follow that couch jumping is always wrong. It seems that there is a tendency by theists to see morality as what God commands and with no God there is no morality. All this seems to do is change the definition of morality to 'whatever God commands'. It doesn't actually give any further metaphysical respectability to morality which seems to be what those who search for morality are after.
Yes, your interpretation is correct. I believe that morality to exist, it must be nonrelative, even though it may be expressed differently given relative changes in the universe. This means that the underlying aspect of murder that is essentially wrong would still be wrong, even if there were no humans to commit murder or to be murdered. But another question to consider, in follow-up, is if there are any such known laws that, by there very nature, cannot help but being contingent, and thus expressed, by everything in this world? For example, the laws of electromagnetism apply to atoms. So even without the existence of magnets, electromagnetism is always expressed. As is every other physical law in every ounce of what exists, as far as I am aware.

I suppose that the reason why god is involved in the argument is that it may be hard to conceive of such laws without a god, which is supposed to be a the ultimate manifestation of a nonrelative entity. After all, given causal closure, can it be the case that god exists, yet that god did not create the world? And if god created the world, then would not the dimension laws of reality pertain to god in some manner? (this would include morality)
Okay, it seems like we have independently come to the same conclusion. I took that conclusion when I did meta-ethics last year. My thoughts were that if morality existed there would be an almost infinite amount of 'wrong' things that existed in the metaphysical sense but no one could do as those types of beings just happened to not exist.

I like the question you propose with your comparison to the physical world. I tend to think 'no' as morality isn't something like electromagnetism that can have an effect in the physical world, but then I think that if we are purely physical beings (I'm no dualist) and morality can't effect the physical, then how do we even come to know of morality? That thought also leads into dualism in its own way, but a dualism of physical things, including minds, and the metaphysical properties like morality. That is problematic. I tend to believe that morality doesn't exist, or it is just a word used to cover our societal norms that people misconstrue as more.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by VictorianoOchoa » May 2nd, 2018, 1:44 am

Big Boss wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 11:12 pm
VictorianoOchoa wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 10:57 am


Yes, your interpretation is correct. I believe that morality to exist, it must be nonrelative, even though it may be expressed differently given relative changes in the universe. This means that the underlying aspect of murder that is essentially wrong would still be wrong, even if there were no humans to commit murder or to be murdered. But another question to consider, in follow-up, is if there are any such known laws that, by there very nature, cannot help but being contingent, and thus expressed, by everything in this world? For example, the laws of electromagnetism apply to atoms. So even without the existence of magnets, electromagnetism is always expressed. As is every other physical law in every ounce of what exists, as far as I am aware.

I suppose that the reason why god is involved in the argument is that it may be hard to conceive of such laws without a god, which is supposed to be a the ultimate manifestation of a nonrelative entity. After all, given causal closure, can it be the case that god exists, yet that god did not create the world? And if god created the world, then would not the dimension laws of reality pertain to god in some manner? (this would include morality)
Okay, it seems like we have independently come to the same conclusion. I took that conclusion when I did meta-ethics last year. My thoughts were that if morality existed there would be an almost infinite amount of 'wrong' things that existed in the metaphysical sense but no one could do as those types of beings just happened to not exist.

I like the question you propose with your comparison to the physical world. I tend to think 'no' as morality isn't something like electromagnetism that can have an effect in the physical world, but then I think that if we are purely physical beings (I'm no dualist) and morality can't effect the physical, then how do we even come to know of morality? That thought also leads into dualism in its own way, but a dualism of physical things, including minds, and the metaphysical properties like morality. That is problematic. I tend to believe that morality doesn't exist, or it is just a word used to cover our societal norms that people misconstrue as more.
I hear you. There are definitely a few aspects of dualism that seem implausible. For instance, if dualism is true, then does that mean that one does not cause the other? Otherwise, it would not be dualism, but idealism or materialism: what is material would have an ideal base, and would thus be ideal, or vice versa (i.e. the theory of minds as emergent properties). And if one did not cause the other, then how could they possible interact such that an ideal mind could control the body?

I am actually an idealist. I believe that the material laws in this world are very real, yet the deepest aspect of what exists is composed of mind stuff, which is more in line with spiritual beliefs, etc..

By the way, what are your primary philosophical interests? This has been an interesting discussion thus far.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Eduk » May 2nd, 2018, 2:28 am

Spiral. Well some would say so yes, purely from the point of view that killing an animal is murder.
Of course there is another way of looking at it. For example what is the cost to the environment of beef? And how many humans will be killed as a result? Hard to quantify exactly but there is a cost to many things.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by LuckyR » May 2nd, 2018, 3:02 am

Spiral wrote:
April 29th, 2018, 6:16 pm
In this youtube video, Dennis Prager argues that if there is no God, murder isn't wrong.

If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong

Prager goes on to say that without God, opposition to murder is just an opinion. But if God exists, isn't opposition to murder still just an opinion?

What if God endorsed murder? Would that automatically make murder right instead of wrong?

In my opinion, Prager's argument is weak. What do you think?
If a god decrees that murder is wrong, then murder is empirically wrong... for believers of that religion. OTOH, if you don't believe in god, murder is still wrong. Just not empirically wrong, rather wrong by consensus (of the community that the individual belongs to).

Bottom line, murder is wrong for every modern human.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by CIN » May 2nd, 2018, 4:24 am

LuckyR wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 3:02 am
If a god decrees that murder is wrong, then murder is empirically wrong... for believers of that religion. OTOH, if you don't believe in god, murder is still wrong. Just not empirically wrong, rather wrong by consensus (of the community that the individual belongs to).

Bottom line, murder is wrong for every modern human.
What about those modern humans who don't have a religion and don't agree with the consensus of their community (i.e. modern-day freethinkers)? Since you have omitted them, should we infer that your conclusion is incorrect, and that for freethinkers, murder is not necessarily wrong?

In fact I don't think wrongness is to be settled by either of the methods you propose. At best they merely tell you what groups of people believe is wrong, which is not the same as determining whether something actually is wrong.

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