Fri 9 Mar, 2012 03:17 am
The idea that there is simply Right and Wrong, or Good and Evil, is fairly meaningless. Right and wrong only appears to relate to facts of existence and mathematics. We can offload onto a supposed or real God - meaning an all powerful being - but he either has a reason for a decision about a virtue or he does not. In that case it is the reason we need to know, justifying the end, or there is no reason only arbitrary will. If the reasons are hidden or a mystery beyond our comprehension, then we may believe anything on the basis of any 'god' we choose to believe in.
There is an escape from this quandary, by taking a God based, not on power, but on a value. In Christian terms, this might be God is Love - which has to be defined as Altruism in order to be a logical value, and not confused either with eros, or simply, this I love and that I hate. The virtue of this value is that 'God' may extol it, but it is not a commandment concerning mechanical actions that can be obeyed.
It would be easy to jump from there to an assumption that there is some form of spiritual dimension that pervades the world with 'love' and presumable hate or 'evil'. That raises the fear that some people may worship an antigod. The spectres this raises of witchcraft and irrational persecution, are indeed evil. Since the first assumption has little or no evidential basis, to base further assumptions on it is the process of irrational and bigoted religion. Rational philosophy can only assume what is undeniable, and that is the values that define all we think and feel.
A thing is right or wrong according to the fundamental end-values we adopt, adopt us, or we have thrust on us. We get away from a single dimension between virtue and vice, to something more subtle and realistic in two and three dimensions.
Who decides what has meaning?
It certainly is plausable that morality is based, at least partly, on altruism, but why does there have to be a god involved?