The only political argument is really a religious argument. It is, “What is right?” This question is at the heart of statements such as, “The government should not perform marriages at all.” The word “should” implies that there is something good and something bad, and also implies that we should do the good thing. All of this is based in morality. The speaker of that statement is simply stating what his morality is, as much as someone who says a statement to the contrary.
In arguing morality, it really comes down to one’s preference. There is no way we will ever agree on a system of morality unless we all choose to do so. Even the idea that we should use logic in our moral system is, itself, a moral assumption. (Did you see the word ‘should’ there?)
When I state that my moral system is God’s moral system, I am looked down upon by Atheists. They think I am just making things up, saying that is what God says, and then adopting it because I like it. In short, my idea of God’s morality is really subjective and not logical or objective at all. The funny thing is they are doing the same thing with their moral system, whatever it may be.
The difference between saying, “I think this is moral therefore it is moral” and “I think whatever God says is moral, therefore it is moral” is I am actually relying on something that could be objective and shared. This isn’t much different than people who think that morality should be defined by what the majority thinks or morality should be defined by logical conclusions from a set of initial assumptions such as “freedom is the ultimate good”. If we rely only on our own personal selves to define morality, then we are at risk of adopting a bad morality because of the limitations of our mortal, ignorant, irrational selves. But if we rely on something external to ourselves, then we at least have a chance to get things right, or a better chance at getting more things right. The common morality of a million people is more likely to be better than the individual morality of one person. But this, again, is a moral statement. (Did you see the word “better”, “right”, “bad”, etc…?)
So really, it all starts with an individual decision. What morality do you choose for yourself? Then you expand from there.
One person might say, “I choose whatever I think is right, independent of what others say.”
Another might say, “I choose whatever I think is right based on what popular opinion says.”
Another might say, “I choose whatever I think is right based on a set of assumptions and the logical conclusions of them.”
Another might say, “I choose whatever I think is right based on whatever I think God says.”
Really, who is to say that one decision is better than another? Based on the morality you choose, you choose which of those is best.
So Atheists and others who look down on me for making my own decision based on what I think is right are really denying me the same freedom they wish they could have: the ability to choose what is right. Surely they think that treating someone else differently than the way they expect to be treated is fundamentally wrong. (A moral statement.) If not, then I think we can tell a lot about what they think of other people and their rights and freedoms, and what their morality really is. And that is simply that they think they are better than others.
So if you don’t afford others the freedom to choose their morality, really, you believe that you are better than others. This is, I think, a logical statement about morality independent of morality.
An interesting logical fallacy that I have seen used to attack my moral system is that I wouldn’t believe that murder is wrong unless God said so. This is true. Since I have handed my freedom to choose what is right to God, he determines what is right and wrong. And if he said murder is not wrong, I would not think it wrong. But God does say murder is wrong, so I think it is wrong. So really, this argument is absurd. I do think that murder is wrong. I think so because God says it is wrong. So really, if you’re measuring the value of a moral system based on whether it deems murder is wrong, my moral system is just as good as any other that deems murder wrong.
Of note, I also believe that God is unchanging. He will never, ever change his stance on murder. It will always be wrong. No exceptions. Nowhere does he ever excuse murder, except where he forgives the murderer their sins. But this act of forgiveness does not erase or change the fact that murder is wrong in God’s eyes. Does your moral system have a similar mechanism? On the one hand, is it unchanging? On the other, does it allow for forgiveness of moral wrongs?
If you arrived at the conclusion that murder is wrong based upon your own choice, then who is to say that you will not choose differently tomorrow? That makes your moral system inferior than mine, because you have no guarantee that murder will forever be wrong.
If you arrived at the conclusion that murder is wrong based upon popular opinion, then who is to say that popular opinion will not shift one day? We know from history cultures and societies where murder was not only tolerated but demanded. This makes your moral system inferior to mine, because there is no guarantee that murder will always be wrong.
If you arrives at the conclusion that murder is wrong because of your logical reasoning based upon a set of assumptions, who’s to say that your logic will stand forever? After all, we have used logic in the past, only to find we made an error. I know from my own experience that I am more likely to make a mistake with logic than not. I am no computer. I am an irrational being, just like all of us. So there is no guarantee that murder will always be wrong in your system either.
In fact, the only moral system that demands that murder always be wrong is a system that relies on unchanging facts and tenets which can never be revoked. Only an unchanging God who has spoken on the matter can do such a thing.
Now, our understanding of God’s moral system is flawed. I say this because I know from experience. However, the way you correct someone’s flawed understanding is to bring them closer to God. You have to educate and enlighten them. When necessary, you need to get answers from God himself. However, if we can come to agree on what is and isn’t God’s word, or at least a subset of it, we should be able to do pretty well on the big things like murder, even though we get minor things wrong. And I think that is most important.