What Exists that Makes Moral Statements True?
Every day countless people say things like “Don’t lie to me” or “You should help the poor” or “You should not murder innocent people”. But most people never stop to ask themselves, why should anyone follow these statements? That is, what makes these moral statements true? Of course, some moral statements are false (people sometimes espouse the wrong morality) but many statements are true. What makes them true?
There are three possible answers to this question. The first one is to base their truth in the minds of people. That is, a moral statement is true simply because someone thinks it is. The problem with this is that morality reduces to a matter of opinion and therefore there is no basis on which to say anyone’s moral standards are wrong. Essentially, morality becomes something like one’s favourite flavour of ice cream. Just as it makes no sense to say that someone’s favourite flavour is “wrong,” so it makes no sense to say that a mass murder’s justifications are wrong.
The second option is to base their truth in some aspect of the physical world. The problem with this is that no physical object has any moral implications. One can’t point to a table to imply that people should be kind, or point to the sun as the basis of generosity, or point to a rock as the reason not to murder. Physical things simply don’t have moral implications.
The third and last option is to base morality in some non-physical reality. This is the only option that allows moral statements to be objectively true. And it is this non-physical reality that many people identify as God.