There is no relationship between morality and reality
In other words, our obligation is no longer to the Maker of All that Is, but only to each other, and only for items that can be itemised under common law.
Well what I am saying is that in a 'religious' society, such as Western society once was, there was a consensus about the basis of morality, which was a covenant, as I said elsewhere, between 'God as creator of universe' and human society. This covered all moral and ethical questions, including your fate in the afterlife - whether this belief was true or false. One felt that one was beholden to God, who saw and knew everything you did. These were things that 'everyone knew' - hence the idea of 'social fabric', I suppose.
So in the absence of this common understanding, in a 'secular' society, what then is the basis of morality, really? I think, to all intents and purposes, it amounts to property rights and other things definable in common law, and to not harming anyone or being violent.
But the question remains - in traditional society there is a fundamental link between morality, the creation story (why we are here), and our ultimate destiny - in other words, between morality and reality.
To which the secular, or at least the anti-religious, answer is, welll we just evolved, for no particular purpose, as a result of natural processes, into an uncaring universe, and we live out our lives, and create our own individual purposes, and then we die. This is very close to the existentialist attitude to life - Camus and Sartre. In this context, morality is a matter of individual and social consensus; it has no basis 'in nature' or 'in reality'.
And I am questioning that.
I notice that there is a popular opinion that 'we don't need God [or 'the Church' or 'the Bible' etc etc]' for morality and that we are quite capable of moral conduct in our own right.
Question: what is the relationship, in this view, between 'morality' and 'reality'? ('Morality' being 'how we should behave' and 'reality' being, 'the sun comes up in the morning' etc).
It would seem to me that in the olden days there was a contract (then known as a 'covenant') between 'God' (i.e. 'Maker of all that is') and Man (i.e. you and me) viz-a -viz how we should behave, what we should do, and so on. And that, furthermore, what we did, how we behaved, etc, had consequences 'unto all eternity' (or words to that effect). In other words, we had a REAL CONNECTION with reality, in that what we did mattered in the great scheme of things.
Whereas, now, the question of how we should behave seems more like a matter of contract law, in that, now the connection between 'maker of all that is' and 'us', is deemed to be null and void, then there is no real, compelling reason IN REALITY why any of us should do anything, other than behave like decent citizens and not rip each other off and kill each other. In other words, our obligation is no longer to the Maker of All that Is, but only to each other, and only for items that can be itemised under common law.
The question remains, however, what we should do in the privacy of our own home, when there is no social obligation, no property rights or social duties at stake. I suppose the question is: if I have discharged my duties as a conscientious citizen, not ripped anyone off, paid my taxes, reduced my carbon footprint, and so on, then there seems no other purpose towards which I might aspire. There is nothing in reality ennobling or inherently worthwhile in my moral betterment, or even in my being, for that matter, beyond this point. We gaze out upon those starry skies and are supposed, by our secular brethren, to take comfort in the fact that it is all enacted with no particular purpose, that we are each the captains of our soul, with no especial destination, it would seem, other than a satisfactory balance of funds in our super account, or that we have advanced the cause of science, and perhaps the solace of knowing that kind words will be spoken at our funeral.
Hence my question. Is there any relationship between morality and reality?
First I think without the idea of God -of the truth- it is impossible to say what is good, or not. God is the criterium of the morale.
It is a fact that in many countries the morality is no more based on God.
So the problem: can we founded a morale based on the earthly reality? We can't. It will be a false morale - a relative one- not a real morale.
In this case, why the morale based on God had failed? Because we have a false conception of God.
These are some pretty baseless assumptions and claims that are not well thought out. It is not impossible to say what is good without God. Firstly, if someone says that God wants us to be good, they have to prove that God actually exists. There is no evidence for the existence of a supernatural being, and so it is 'divine morality' and revelation that is false, not humanistic morality. Humanistic morality is based on the essential values of the human animal and the positive progression of a society. I say that morality is a result of humanity, and unlike God, I can prove that humans exist in the first place. The validity of the claim that God wants us to be good in no more valid than the claim that God wants us to be bad. The positive belief in factually baseless claims can be dangerous. We don't need God for moral viagra; we can keep it up on our own. Believing that we cannot be moral without God is a result of indoctrination, and a lack of self-confidence - not to mention that it is contradicted by observable evidence of secular societies that function morally.
Do you define it to be relative because there is not some ethereal mysticism behind it? If so, your question is moot since it presumes the answer. If not, I suppose the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be an example? Bill is an atheist as far as I can tell from his response to the occasional religious questions, but he does tend to dodge those questions pretty well. The foundation has done a lot of good charity work.
Now, to get to the base of this problem, what is it about a religion such as Christianity that dictates our actions? Well, the twelve commandments are a good start. The further detailed teachings of Jesus and situations in the Old testament are all sources for 'moral' actions. So clearly we just need a document and a reason to follow it.
In many jewish families and communities there is a very strong sense of ethics that are often more socially and culturally developed than religiously developed. So an atheist from a jewish family might still have a strong sense of ethics, simply from the social/cultural development he went through.
My point? Social norms are sufficient motivators for an ethical foundation. There is plenty of reason behind ethics, for instance, 'I do not steal, for I would consider it an unjust and despicable act if my things were stolen', so there is a projection of your sentiment onto another person. The only reason this might work better with a religion is because there is a standard, but this can be developed as a social mechanism.
It is good to be kind to someone who is kind to you. This is not a proposition, though.
Sure, because you don't hurt his life.
But if God were not the principle (at the origin) of the life, the life were not a criterium of the morale.
There is no such thing as far as anything else goes.