Theists claim that morality comes from God alone. And that without Gods morals, there is nothing stopping us from stooping to absolute decadence and chaos. It is kind of sad that one has to explain that being ‘moral’ out of fear of a God is a lot more scary thought, than that of an individual choosing to be ‘moral’ of their own volition, without needing to be threatened with dire consequences.
But what does ‘morality’ mean? Is morality entirely subjective? Or is their some underlying objective cause that shapes our sense of morality.
As far as I could think, it appears ‘morality’, or our perception of what is ‘ethical’ or not is simply an extension of our survival instinct. Primitive aspects of morality can be seen practiced by moderate to highly intelligent animals also. Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species. So perhaps the objective cause shaping our perception of morality is – whatever fulfills chances of optimal survival and helps achieve a higher standard of living.
There appears to be a directly proportionate relation of morality with intelligence. And our perception of morality must have evolved like the other aspects of our civilization, language, architecture etc. The nuance and complexity of this ‘morality’ varying from region to region, culture to culture, and community to community.
While subjective morality varies from individual to individual, depending on the majoritarian view, the concept of a cultural morality must have evolved. The basic moral sense of an individual is influenced by their immediate needs, authority and position of influence they hold. One considered that immoral, which they didn’t want to be done to them. So killing, stealing had to be the first immoral acts. But as said, the moral sense was influenced by the power of authority, there were probably sections of society they were okay with keeping out-of-bounds of the moral code, people whom they didn’t consider equal. (This is also reflected in the tenets of most early religions). These moral or ethical codes was written into law and the sense of morality imposed by higher authority on the entire community. That is how the system of law and order probably came to be.
In today’s modern-day and age, those primitive notions of morality, as recorded in religious books and backdated constitutions are now obsolete. And sticking to them is regressive. Our sense of morality has to evolve like other aspects to continue serving the prime objective – optimal survival and higher standard of living. We have come quite far in bringing the marginalized sections of the society into the folds of a commonly beneficial sense of morality. Though we haven’t achieved the prime objective yet.
My personal subjective moral code is that all people should be free to do whatever they choose as long as it isn’t violating the personal liberty or fundamental right of any other human.
P.S: I have used the word ‘morality’ very loosely and interchangeably with ‘ethics’ and ’empathy’. The above is simply my personal opinion and I don’t claim them as facts. Please give your own opinions and perception of what morality is and it’s use if any in our society.