Before (In this post) I have argued about how we can derive values and ‘should’ from a combination of what there ‘is’ and another ideological ‘should’; I also have argued that religion (Abrahamic ones specifically) cannot be the source of our morality (here). But how about religious moral arguments; How can we possibly say that they are wrong? Is it science that tells us this, or is it something else like ‘religious evolution’?
I will take two paths here, first, in this post I will prove that the concept of ‘Sin’ is fake, and by that I mean to prove it is absolutely ‘Subjective’ to different religions, but pretends to bear an ‘Objective’ value. Later on the next post, I will speak about the lack of internal consistency within religions and their changes through time and history.
Let’s first talk of objective and subjective: What is objective? Simply put, something that exists whether we know about it or not, and our opinion has no effect on it. When we talk about objective morality, it means that ‘Some’ things are wrong, and some are right, and ‘our perception’ has no effect on their wrongness or rightness.
To present my argument, Let me stick to our previous examples, say, about Homosexuality:
- If you are a Homosexual, you are a sinner.
- No one should be a sinner.
you should not be a Homosexual.
Of course now we know that Homosexuality is not a choice as a sexual attraction toward the same sex, and this argument is not common any more, not in this simple form anyway, but my point is the argument itself. The concept of ‘sin’ is the key here: This is actually a legitimate ‘logical’ argument. But is it meaningful too?
I’m afraid not. The fact is we have to believe in a specific religion and the concept of ‘sin’ within that religion in order to find that argument meaningful and true. This is why you can find a branch of Christianity (Like the United Church) that has no problem with being gay, or even gay marriage.
To have a better example, let’s talk about something more taboo, such as incest. We all understand that incest is wrong, but is that because it is a sin? Where does this ‘wrongness’ come from?
The meaning of incest tends to be different in different parts of the world, geographically and historically. In western culture, a sexual relationship between cousins is usually considered to be incest. But in the Middle East and Islam it is not so, in fact in some parts marriage between cousins is considered ‘Heavenly’. Now, can a Christian argue with a Muslim stating: “Marriage between cousins is wrong because it’s a sin”?
No. He or She cannot do so. The meaning of that Sin in Islam is different, and is not referred to cousins marrying. therefore that argument is meaningless for a Muslim: His God (Allah) allows it. And as it gets even worse: That argument is meaningless for an Ancient Egyptian, who tended to marry their sisters, because their gods didn’t have a problem with it!
Religious people can try to escape this trap by redefining Sin, such as ‘Being like Christ’ or ‘being close to Christ’. But that would again be a mere matter of insertion, and again their argument will fail.
It is interesting that the only way they ‘can’ argue on common ground is based on science, and that common ground is ‘reality’ that they can use to address the issue properly (objectively). But that is not religion anymore, is it? That’s science.
Now, talking of objective moral values, ‘Sin’ was supposed to be an objective matter, but it seems to me it turned out to be absolutely subjective! If the concept and meaning of ‘Sin’ is not objective, doesn’t that mean that in reality it does not exist?
P.S: Revision may happen on this post.