Recently, in the Mattoon Journal-Gazette, there were two atheistic letters to the editor that intended to address my contention that the moral code of an atheist or agnostic is strictly that of one’s personal standard. Consequently, I maintained, there is no objective or transcendent moral standard by which one can judge something thought, said, or done by another as wrong – except that someone thinks it to be wrong.
One man took such great exception to my letter that he said I was “flippant” and “straw-manning” my opponent’s position. Building a straw-man was hardly the case! After reading what he had to say a couple of times, he still offered nothing better than an “I think” (subjective) approach concerning a moral standard of right and wrong. This is no surprise because the source from which one moves in an “I think” approach is nothing more that one’s personal perspective – and it can’t be any other way. He admits as much when he said, “That is to say morality is, inherently, from man.” He wants to have objectivity, but anything that originates with man can be nothing of the sort!
One woman took exception, as she always does, to my remark that atheists have no moral code that is objective or transcendent of man. I previously wrote: “Atheism, as an ideology, is devoid of a moral code that can, or will, benefit man.” I further commented that an atheist has to adopt another moral standard and make it their own in order to judge something wrong (or right). She didn’t care much for this so she proceeds to lay out a moral code with four points, all dealing with the consequences of actions (toward self, others, groups, and other living things). That which she offered, however, is nothing more than her personal perspective or opinion. Why does one need to think and operate in this way? Is it because there is some compelling reason outside of man that says as much, or is it because there is something inside man that judges such? What makes it obligatory? What she argued for is this: the consequences of one’s action, related to “harm,” is one’s moral standard (or code). I suppose, then, since it is “harmful” to correct a child (from the child’s perspective at least), then discipline is immoral.