Why you don’t need objective morality.

I am an atheist and I disagree with many religious people’s opinions. A criticism I face often is that my morality is not objective, and thus my morality isn’t really moral.

I am near-certain most people—regardless of their religion—have the same ethical views as I do when it comes to things like murder and theft; these things are wrong. So objectivity is not a necessity to adopting these ethical principles.




  4 comments for “Why you don’t need objective morality.

  1. August 19, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Morality is always subjective. It is influenced by culture, family, friends, media… Even murder can be justified in any number of ways.

  2. August 19, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I think the way you’re using “objective” would be objectionable, since I’ve seen it used in the sense that it means “applicable to all humanity.” Some Christians would even say it’s universal (because God made it). Since it’s impossible right now to prove a moral value for the entire universe, I would agree with you.

    However, an objective value does not have to mean that it is true for all of humanity. “Objective” can also mean “unbiased” or “based on facts.” As the word is used in other circles, it simply means a standard that exists independent of a person’s viewpoint that applies to different people. I’ve argued before on my own blog that secular moral values can be objective (apply to a group of people equally).

    Using this reasoning, the moral values against murder (that is, the unjustified premeditated killing of another human being) and theft (the taking of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive that person of said property) could be objective as it relates to a community, jurisdiction, or even a nation. And I would argue that it would be desirable for secular thinkers to advocate such values as being objective but not being universally objective (like some theists would argue).

  3. November 20, 2014 at 8:47 am

    If I say Murder is not wrong, am I wrong in some moral way?

    • November 21, 2014 at 12:06 am

      That depends on what type of morality you value. I would hope you value one that condemns murder. It makes for a safer society.

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