I’ve been thinking about the objective morality conundrum and as it stands it seems to be the non-theistic who accept that morality’s subjective and you always do, when possible, the right thing as that’s what we are meant to do as a social species who thrives to survive. Humans have intrinsically developed emotions through evolutionary processes like natural selection, which is the ability to survive and prosper within their society, ecosystem and environment. Empathy, humility and compassion have come into play, as to live a virtuous life there has to be standards of behaviour and boundaries that shouldn’t ever be crossed: ie murder or rape as they inflict harm against and violate basic human rights.
If you try and adopt a variation of the golden rule where do unto others as you wish done to you, then as long as you make decisions that are within your control that amount to the greater good then virtuosity can be achieved. Religions like Buddhism, Taoism and Jainism are all based on philosophies that attempt to reach spiritual enlightenment where they can be the most virtuous person possible. What’s to be noted is each is a religion, or arguably a philosophy, that has no faith in gods or deities, and their main focuses are to eliminate suffering. Buddhism uses the Noble Eightfold Path as a basis for their outlook on life, and through their idea of moral virtues one should do three things to live a moral life. Say the right thing, do the right thing and live a life without greed, envy, hatred or amoral activities.
So taking all of that into account, there’s no need for the ridiculous notion that only through a spiritual law giver can objective morality be achieved. Objective means fact, that’s presented without bias, opinion or influence. I’m going to use Christianity as a prime example. Many schisms have broken away from Christianity and have gone on to form other sects, like Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah’s witnesses and Baptists. Each interpret their religious scripture differently, and adhere, if they are truly faithful, to the tenets and doctrines that their religion has implemented for them to be righteous under their particular faith in their god.
Despite Judaism having the mitzvahs, and Christianity having the Decalogue (Ten Commandments), there are still grey areas that their alleged moral compass doesn’t cover, as society has changed in the last few thousand years and we’ve developed dramatically, and the world is a radically different place than it was when Jesus allegedly walked the Earth and presented the people of Israel with the gospels. Areas like slavery, animal cruelty, racial equality, religious freedom, freedom from religion, secularism, liberalism, same sex and LBGTQ rights, gender equality are all areas that religious teachings don’t even brush the surface about, so how can any religion claim to have objective moral standards?
So not only do different sects of faiths have different ideologies, rituals, dogmas, tenets, doctrines, traditions, worship, beliefs and expectations, people still attempt to claim that religions that are following the Christian god observe objective morality. Put so simple a child could understand, if two religions have different viewpoints about an ideology then it’s opinion based, or influence based, and it’s subjective. This isn’t even taking in to account that for a law giver’s moral code to be valid, there must be evidence of their law giver’s existence and this isn’t universally accepted. If something isn’t universally accepted then it can’t be objective.
Emanuel Kant came up with the Kantian Ideology which briefly summed up means so that a person could do the right thing because it’s their duty, and as soon as the motivation of reward comes into play, the action cannot be considered moral as it’s fuelled by agenda. The idea of Kant’s ‘Good Will’ is a rational basis for trying to lead a moral, ethical and virtuous life. Doing something that you think is good doesn’t make it good, it’s the intent behind your decision to take action that determines if it’s an act of good will. If there’s incentive to follow a code as it’s expected of you because your Holy book says so, and if you don’t obey, you could upset your god and upon judgement you could be punished, that’s not even remotely a basis of morality.