Sunday, May 2, 2021

Idolatry of Moral Anti-realism

I read the following, and it made me think of moral anti-realism and societal best practices:

Isaiah 44

9 Everyone who makes a carved image is vain. The things that they delight in will not profit. Their own witnesses don't see, nor know, that they may be disappointed. 10 Who has fashioned a god, or molds an image that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his fellows will be disappointed; and the workmen are mere men. Let them all be gathered together. Let them stand up. They will fear. They will be put to shame together.

12 The blacksmith takes an ax, works in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with his strong arm. He is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water, and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches out a line. He marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes. He marks it out with compasses, and shapes it like the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to reside in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak, and strengthens for himself one among the trees of the forest. He plants a cypress tree, and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it will be for a man to burn; and he takes some of it and warms himself. Yes, he burns it and bakes bread. Yes, he makes a god and worships it; he makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. 16 He burns part of it in the fire. With part of it, he eats meat. He roasts a roast and is satisfied. Yes, he warms himself and says, "Aha! I am warm. I have seen the fire." 17 The rest of it he makes into a god, even his engraved image. He bows down to it and worships, and prays to it, and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"

18 They don't know, neither do they consider, for he has shut their eyes, that they can't see, and their hearts, that they can't understand. 19 No one thinks, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, "I have burned part of it in the fire. Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals. I have roasted meat and eaten it. Shall I make the rest of it into an abomination? Shall I bow down to a tree trunk?" 20 He feeds on ashes. A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he can't deliver his soul, nor say, "Isn't there a lie in my right hand?"

21 Remember these things, Jacob and Israel, for you are my servant. I have formed you. You are my servant. Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

To some extent, morality is like a god. It's something to which we "bow down", bind ourselves, regard as highest. Also to some extent, we create morality. Society at large does. Sometimes individuals consciously shape what society considers moral. So we create a thing, and then bow down to it.

To some extent, morality comes from pre-rational instinct. Or perhaps it can come from other sources that are also not conscious human decision. However, as a species, we are getting closer to the time where we have arbitrary control of pre-rational instinct or whatever other non-human-judgment sources of morality there are. Less and less will fall outside the realm of human judgment. So then our capacity to make idols will increase. We may shut out the truth of the real God with the invented world.

Not only is there morality, but also the Best Practices associated that are recommended to execute a given morality. We recommend these Best Practices with a religious fervor, because they are the "saving power" aspect of our god, our semi-invented morality being the "legitimacy" aspect.

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