Friday, October 9, 2009

What's Bothering Modern Orthoprax?

This is the post I want to discuss

Now, what is bothering XGH? He wants to know what can be known for certain morally.

Now, there is a question: what if in the Torah, the most influential book of all time, it has said, "Go ahead and kill anyone you want, G-d doesn't care. In fact, he likes it."

Now indulge me further. Pretend G-d exists. Could you have a world with the same physical laws, but have that deity create an alternate morality? Like one where murder is okay? Is the concept of murder being good or bad meaningless?

Well, no. I think we can all agree that societies with murder are less stable, and prosper less, than societies without murder. Hunter-gatherers are very likely to die at the hands of another human, while we, living with modern humanistic/Judaic values, are probably going to die of something boring, like a heart attack. Or cancer.

I think it can be argued that based on the fundamental laws of nature, and the way human societies organize themselves, that murder is objectively bad. It is a fact that a society without murder will advance farther than one with, to the point that the society without murder will probably murder the barbarians, or crush their culture and replace it with their civilized system of ethics.

Right ought to make might.

Now, from a religious point of view, the same G-d who made the fundamental rules by which the universe work, upon which, layer by layer, recognizable human existence comes into being, also told us murder was wrong.

What does this mean? It means that G-d saved us alot of time and effort, and did us a favor by telling us the policy that will benefit us: don't murder.

And if you don't believe in G-d, you believe in those fundamental rules, and you know that societies that do not have better do better without murder.

And so: murder being wrong follows naturally from the fundamental nature of the way the universe is set up. Whether that is by chance or by divine providence is irrelevant. However, I think that for murder to be good, the world would need to be different. Gravity fall off at the cube of the distance, or something like that. It would be unrecognizably different rules for interaction. We can't imagine such a situation, it would be so qualitatively different.

Remember: societies are stronger than individuals. Individuals that take advantage of a societies benefits without playing by their rules tend to get executed.

Does might make right? Or can there be a "right" that causes a person or group to be weaker than a group that does "wrong"?