And I have to disagree with amorality being a type of morality. That’s a little like saying that atheism is a kind of religion. (Clarification: atheism is not a religion.)
I mostly watched that side of the discussion unfold, evaluating my thoughts on the matter. A realization hit me and I wrote a response. By the time I finished, I had a full blog post, so decided save it for this week.
I agree that atheism is not a religion, in any organized sense like Christianity or Taoism. It is, however, a belief system for those who hold to it. They hold to a belief that God doesn’t exist. While it is in the negative, it still puts forth a truth proposition: no matter how long man looks, he will never find proof positive that God exists. They will base this belief upon different evidences they believe point to it, which they feel are compelling.
I don’t think the theistic equivalent of amorality is atheist, but agnostic.
Amorality says there are no morals, because I cannot know whether a value is good or bad, right or wrong for myself, much less anyone else. Agnosticism says we cannot currently know whether God exists or not. The antithesis of belief isn’t unbelief, but “I don’t know.”
The truth is there is some agnosticism in all of us. That is, in human knowledge and logic, we cannot prove with 100% certainty that X or not X is true. Human knowledge is incomplete. Every philosophy or theology devised by man breaks down at some point. Every argument for or against the existence of God contains logical holes.
While those arguments may carry us part way toward knowing, it is always a degree of probability. There is always the possibility we are wrong, understood wrong, misinterpreted, don’t have all the relevant data. Because we are not God, because we are limited humans, we can never know anything with 100% degree of certainty.
But practically we have to live one way or the other. I can say in the end I don’t know with my human knowledge that God exists without a doubt, but it is by faith that Christ is who He claims to be, that I leap over that doubt and live believing that He does exist. Another agnostic, however, takes the bet by faith that Jesus and the testimony in Scripture is wrong, that God doesn’t exist, because he lives his life as if God doesn’t exist.
Those who claim the label of agnostic are so in theory, but practically are atheist.
How we live our lives doesn’t allow us the luxury of sitting on the fence. It forces us to live one way or the other using a step of faith in who or what we will believe or not believe in.
Likewise, if I were to break into a house of someone who claims to believe in a form of amoralism, steal their stuff and kill their kids, I’ll bet that person would suddenly find morals that I should be living by.
You can theorize on the fence, but you can’t live there.
That’s what I’m getting at with fiction. The characters are living lives, making choices. The consequences or lack of them generally create a moral order in that world no matter whether the author espouses a morality or doesn’t believe one exists. The story will still communicate a morality that readers pick up on and see in the story, consciously or unconsciously.
Amorality and agnosticism are cognitive realities, but not living realities. Belief one lives by always requires an element of faith, whether by choice or by default.
Who or what does your life show you are placing or not placing your faith in?