I would still consider your description of morality to be subjective to God but understand where your hypothetical scenario could create the perception that it is objective. It should be noted, though, that having the subjective perception that something is objectively true is not the same as something being actually objectively true.The Tanager wrote: Your main argument seems to me to be that the standard of human morality cannot be objective, even if God exists. This was because morality would be subject to God's subjective declarations. I said it is subjective in that sense (although I think it is technically rooted in God's character), but that traditionally when people talk about morality being objective, they mean what humans ought to do is rooted in something external to human minds, similar in that way to the shape of the earth being objectively true.
If God is the creator of humans, then God determines what it means for humans to flourish. If God wants humans to flourish, then morality flows out of this design. God could place these moral truths within God's creatures to help them along. If true, then that would make "how humans ought to act" objectively true. Now, of course, whether this is reality or not is a different question. I'm just saying it would show morality to be objective in the traditional sense.
Meanwhile, if we presume the Christian God's prescribed morality was designed to foster human flourishing, then any behaviors which can be demonstrated to serve in maximizing well-being and minimizing harm for the most people should be labeled as moral. However, by this logic, many Christians should feel morally compelled to accept and support the LGBTQ community because, by doing so, they would be contributing towards the development of an inclusive social environment which is objectively more conducive for human flourishing. Obviously, opposition to the acceptance of the LGBTQ community objectively detracts from human flourishing. Therefore, anti-LGBTQ behavior must be immoral if God's prescribed objective morality functions to bring about human flourishing.
As previously demonstrated, if human flourishing is the Christian God's intentions, then orthodox and traditional Christianity has some serious internal contradictions to resolve with some of its doctrines. Returning to the LGBTQ issue as an example, the membership of that community make up a significantly small fraction of the total number of humans in the world. The fact that sexual intercourse between same sex couples fails to produce children is of no consequence to the survival of humanity. Therefore, the LGBTQ community doesn't need to conform to orthodox or traditional Christian heteronormative standards for humanity to flourish.You then seemed to share the following kinds of objections:
1. How can this code of behavior be externally imposed on humans?
I'm not entirely sure what you mean here. I agree humans have the freedom to follow the code or not. I think that if humans are thinking clearly, then their judgment of what leads to their flourishing will cohere with this code. Maybe this thought involves the next two elements in it:
2. Wouldn't these rules be arbitrary?
Not necessarily. God wouldn't be deciding disinterestedly, but with human purpose and capabilities in mind and making rules that lead to true human flourishing.
In fact, humanity would have a serious overpopulation problem if everyone were biologically heterosexual and succeeded in sexually reproducing. Since the problems associated with overpopulation would detract from everyone's well-being, human flourishing cannot simply be about ensuring human reproduction. As such, the various members of the LGBTQ community who choose not to reproduce are helping ensure human flourishing by utilizing less resources.
Human flourishing is about balancing the survival of humanity with human well-being. For instance, many children who were born to heterosexual couples as a consequence of unwanted pregnancies are often given up for adoption. There are too few heterosexual couples interested in adoption for every orphaned child to be guaranteed a permanent home. The well-being of those orphaned children is obviously not being maximized. Fortunately, many members of the LGBTQ community who cannot sexually reproduce their own children often choose to adopt, care, and provide love for orphaned children whose well-being would have otherwise been threatened. Furthermore, scientific research has demonstrated that children adopted by LGBTQ parents not only successfully contribute to societal health to the same degree as those adopted by heterosexual parents but, in many instances, are more successful. This demonstrates yet another means by which the acceptance of the LGBTQ community contributes towards human flourishing.
At the same time, acceptance of the LGBTQ lifestyle has no negative impact to human flourishing that can be objectively demonstrated. Conversely, public and private condemnation and vilification of the LGBTQ lifestyle has only been shown to cause emotional and psychological damage to members of that community. Therefore, if God's prescribed objective morality for humanity is designed to ensure human flourishing, then it must be immoral to condemn and vilify the LGBTQ lifestyle.
I agree. If some people disagree that it is moral to accept and support the LGBTQ community, then they are demonstrably wrong. Accepting and supporting the LGBTQ community clearly and objectively contributes to human well-being more than condemning and vilifying the LGBTQ community. Those who think otherwise are obviously wrong in the same way that people who think the Earth is flat are wrong.3. What if we disagree with this code?
Then we are wrong. What if we think the earth is flat? We are wrong.
Where you and I share the same goal of maximizing well-being and minimizing harm for the most people (whether that is our shared subjective opinion or a perceived objective moral law from God), we can determine which moral systems are better at achieving that goal.And you have also seemed to share that some subjective moral systems are better than others. I don't see how that could be true if there is no standard outside of subjective human desires.
If the Nazi morality were to have caused the extinction of humanity, then it would have only been superior in the sense that it was the last system of human morality to survive before humans ceased to exist but was inferior in the sense that it prevented humanity from flourishing. Whether the Nazi morality in that scenario was superior or inferior depends on the context in which it is being considered.The Nazi morality would not, if followed through to its end, resulted in the extinction of the human species. With the above logic, if that had occurred, then it would be a superior moral system. That tells me there is something wrong with your test of superiority.
I never claimed any individual should care if the human species flourishes. It is just an objective fact that most of us do desire for humanity to flourish. The universe certainly doesn't care if humanity survives or goes extinct, but most of us do have an instinct for survival nonetheless. As such, any individuals who care more about their own selfish desires more than the flourishing of all humanity will be vastly outnumbered. This isn't to assert that the selfish individual's perspective must necessarily conform to the larger group's perspective, but the larger group will certainly prohibit or at least discourage the selfish individual from acting on a perspective that will detract from the group's well-being. That is just how the natural selection process operates. For this reason, even selfish individuals can learn to understand how it is in their best interest to behave in a way that maximizes well-being and minimizes harm for the most people.Yes, why should an individual care if the human species flourishes, rather than just herself?
Now, you might be tempted to posit a hypothetical at this point that asks what the outcome would be if the majority of people in the world decided to not care if humanity flourishes. The problem with positing hypothetical scenarios in this situation is that the fabricated conditions and the predicted outcomes, whatever they might be, will not correspond to the reality we observe. Even if it brings us discomfort to accept the possibility that humanity could collectively develop a subjective moral system that would detract from human flourishing without an objective moral system, there are no facts or evidences to suggest the majority of people on the planet will ever permit themselves to deviate from the shared goal of maximizing well-being and minimizing unnecessary harm for all humanity.
The hypothetical is unreasonable. For the Nazi morality to have been preferred by more people would have required it to produce outcomes that were consistent with our shared desire for human flourishing. Genocide is not consistent with the concept of human flourishing even if it ensures the survival of only a minority of people. So, your hypothetical describes an impossibility unless the majority of humans preferred not to flourish or survive. If the collective goal of most people in the world was to suffer unnecessarily at the hands of a minority of Germans, then adopting the Nazi morality would be a good method for achieving that goal. Fortunately, in the reality we all experience, most people in the world aren't inclined to experience unnecessary suffering.If more people were on board with Nazi morality, would that make the morality good, just because our species would survive?
Any definition of "flourishing" that is not consistent with or contradicts most people's shared desire to maximize well-being and minimize unnecessary harm for all of humanity will not be able to compete with the concepts of "flourishing" that do satisfy those criteria. This isn't to suggest any single concept of "flourishing" should be objectively superior to the others, only that one will eventually be selected by the majority of people. Of course, there are quite a number of biological criteria that any concept of "flourishing" must satisfy regardless of anyone's opinion. For instance, genetic diversity is required for humanity to flourish. Otherwise, our species will run into the problem of having a genetic bottleneck. Therefore, any concept of "flourishing" that is restricted to a single geographically isolated population of humans will ultimately fail.That just punts the question back a level. How do we define "flourishing"? People subjectively define it differently. If that is true, then no moral system is superior to another, they are just different.
Until someone can demonstrate the existence of a superior intellect or authority outside humanity, we have no choice but to rely upon our own intellect and authority to cooperate towards achieving our shared goal of maximizing well-being and minimizing unnecessary harm for the most people. Problems and mistakes will occur as we attempt to develop and refine our moral systems, but this is just how the process of natural selection operates in social species.I would say the overconfidence in their own intellect or authorities (that are not always what they claim they are) is more to blame. It's not just a religious feature, either. Secular objectivists do the same. It's not just an objectivist problem, either. Subjectivists do great harm.