Seeking Morality Without a Moral Compass
Our world is becoming increasingly familiar with tragedy, pain, and death. Every week we hear about another shooting, another bombing, and more innocent lives lost.
Amidst these traumatic events, people condemn violence and senseless killing calling on some kind of morality. Like this tweet from shortly after the Manchester bombing:
Can we stop politicizing morality and ethics? Can we have a common moral compass? Pls.
It sounds like a reasonable and level-headed request. “Can we have a common moral compass, please?” The problem is, “common morals” imply “objective morals.”
This person is calling for a set of morals, transcending all human opinion, that we aim to follow because they are right and good. But without God, there can be no objective morality. If we reject the idea of God and embrace atheism or agnosticism, two growing sects especially among millennials, we cannot ask for a common moral code.
If human beings on this Earth is all that exists, than morality can only be decided by us. And history has shown that it is impossible for everyone to agree on anything. With every attack or shooting around the world, however many people condemn it, there is at least one person who believes it was the right thing to do.
And what makes your moral code better, or more right than another? Without God, morality is wholly subjective. A set of laws based on popular opinion and easily changed with a majority vote.
Yet, on a deeper level you will find most people admit that objective moral values do exist. Today’s culture, for better or worse, has pushed values like tolerance and acceptance into the objective status. Regardless of religion or background, people believe that it is morally right to be tolerant of another’s belief.
Unless of course, your belief holds that objective morality can only be based on God.
But even tolerance is subjective. You may say it is morally good, and I say it is morally unnecessary. In that scenario, who is right? Without God, no one person can say their morality is any higher or better than another’s.
Which brings us to today’s world. Where everyone is lamenting tragedies and proclaiming “this is wrong!”, with no moral compass to base their beliefs.
I encourage you to think deeply about this conundrum. Without some kind of moral arbiter, a higher power, God, there can be no such thing as objective moral values. If moral values do not come from the character of God, they can only originate from our subjective minds.
Search your heart and ask those close to you, and you will find that people do in fact believe there is such a thing as objective morality. A moral code that transcends our humanity and should be followed regardless of belief.
Therefore, if objective morals do exist, it can only be because there is a moral compass outside of the human experience. God, whose character is the compass we are looking for.