Where does morality come from? To find the answer we can first examine where people once believed morality came from. We will look at the logic structures of both ancient and modern beliefs concerning morality and try to come to a logical conclusion. We will also try to figure out what morality is or at least make an attempt to describe the highest probability for what morality is composed of.
What is Morality?
Morality is the belief or recognition that certain behaviors are either “good” or “bad”. Some morals are very easy to accept and only the fringes of society might question or reject them. These people on the fringes may be good or bad, the mere act of rejecting a socially accepted moral of the time is in no way an indicator of the persons goodness.
Morality Context Examples
As an example, few would promote murdering little children, there are however a few humans that would do this with no moral qualms. In this case most people consider this bad and evil. In another time slavery was accepted and helping slaves was “immoral” by societies standards. Now, however, helping slaves is a good and moral act in our modern perception. A different example is patriotism, it is often thought of as a good trait, but there are people that question such blind faith.
Moral Overlap and Contradiction
Some morals are harder to accept because they contradict or overlap with other morals. These types of moral situations are at the heart of the greatest debates of our time. Let us take abortion for example, this is an extremely heated topic and you will find that the morality of women’s rights conflicts with babies rights. In cases like these there are usually logical and compelling arguments on both sides in extremes while major ethical and moral dilemas occur in the “gray areas”.
Where does Morality Come From?
Morality, God, and the Devil
The existence of god is not within the scope of this article but we will touch on some questions and philosophical concepts involving a god and morals.
Many people used to and still do believe that morality comes from a god. Some also believe that only good morals are from god and bad morals are from demons, devils, or a singular satan type character. There are deeper logic structures which will call us to question the function of this belief.
If we get our morals from a god, are they moral because a god says they are or because a god is bound by them? This question is the Euthyphro dilema. If a thing is moral because a god says a thing is moral then this god could say that slavery is moral and it would then be good. If god cannot say this then this god is bound by outside moral laws. This would beg the question, where did these morals come from that are conveyed by god? This also brings into question the scope of human reality and philosophical concepts of time.
Animal Social Orders
From what I can best gather through my experience and sense data is that morality is a complex structure to maintain social cohesion and enhance survivability among social creatures. It is present in wolf packs and even among savage reptilian crocodiles. Really most anywhere you find social orders of animals you will find acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. For example it is unacceptable for a small crocodile to take food from a larger one, or it is unacceptable for a subordinate wolf to mate over the Alpha wolf. If these things happen then there will be consequences, the smaller crocodile or subordinate wolf will be physically attacked. As with humans if you steal something other humans will try to give you consequences.
So there could be a divine origin to morality but it would likely be involved with genetics and social structures rather than just external lectures. I think it’s important to just realize that morals are a part of genetics and are more complex in higher order mammal social structures.
My Stance on Morality
From the above discussions I think it is safe to assume that the moralities in human society are inherent and internal within us. What I mean is that the mechanism that creates morality is built into our genetics. Morals are subject to a wide range of applications and extremes and some societal moralities can be created from lies and false beliefs. They are subject to change and most are not absolute. What was once moral, for example slavery, is no longer moral today and thus we move on toward a more civil and moral human society.