Morals are not objective truths. Murder is not wrong, period. Murder is wrong, question mark. Why? Because “wrongness” is impossible to quantify or agree on. The same goes for “rightness.” When you say that giving to the poor is the right thing to do, are you expressing your opinion, or are you reiterating a law (not legal law) that you choose to follow? ***(If you already agree with that and are bored, skip to paragraph 5.)***
If you think that there are objective moral laws that exist whether humans do or not, then where do you think these laws come from? Some people would say God creates the absolute moral laws that we are expected to follow. What then, of the huge amount of variation between cultures on the word of God? Some cultures claim that God’s law condones and requires killing. Others say that God condemns killers to Hell. The law of gravity doesn’t have this much dissonance. I would expect such important universal laws to be very evident to all. That’s why I think that morals are not objective. They are opinions. You might still disagree, saying we just haven’t figured it out yet. Even if you do, please read on.
Why then, do so many people agree that certain actions are wrong? Not only do large amounts of people agree on the wrongness of murder, they even form civilizations and create police to enforce those views. Let me present an anthropological explanation: if a society were to condone the murder of it’s people, it wouldn’t last long. Allowing your citizens to pick each other off is counter productive to the survival of your species. Not to mention victims don’t like it.
So is that the golden argument? Doing unto others against their will is just wrong, correct? Not exactly. Once again that’s just an opinion. Kids don’t like to be snatched from the middle of the road, but what parent would consider it “right” to let them stand in the way of an oncoming vehicle? Sure you could say that you know better than the child in that situation, but what if you later believed that dying was not the tragedy we all thought it was? Is your judgement still sound?
In fact what if someone you trust told you that you were misinformed all along about what’s right and what’s wrong. Let’s say that there are these absolute moral codes that we’ve all been living by and…somehow there’s been a mistake. Murder is now righteous. Rape becomes noble. It is said to be downright wrong not to beat all children. What if every religious service in the world began preaching this: “You must cheat on your spouses people, or you WILL go to Hell!” Now think about it, really. Would you change your whole perspective and go out shooting old ladies? I hope not! I am willing to wager that you would think the rule-makers were nuts. (Unless you are a criminal.)
That’s why I feel confident saying that none of us needs objective moral laws. We don’t need there to be an ironclad list of things that are “right” and things that are “wrong.” The only moral rules we follow anyway are the ones we deep down in-the-gut feel in agreement with. If raping babies feels despicable to you, it wouldn’t matter if the holiest book in the world suddenly told you it’s the thing to do. You wouldn’t do it.
Here’s what to take away from all of that: ask yourself “why?” and keep asking it of each response until you really get to your reasons. “Why not litter? Because the sign says not to. Is that all? No, I don’t want to burden the wildlife with my trash. Why not? Because I care.” Now there’s your real reason.