Moral mandates or incentives for "good" behavior?


Recently I asked Porkopolis about the nature of morality:

When I first asked my question and used the word "ought", I meant it in its mandatory sense. Perhaps I should re-word my question. How about:
"Why must I behave morally, if there's
no transcendent moral Lawgiver?"

Porkopolis' latest response:

'Must' implies a mandate (as in 'mandatory') and is a concept that would be inconsistent with the free will that is a precondition for moral choices. Even a 'transcendent moral Lawgiver', if it existed, would find a morality resulting from mandates/coercion to be diluted relative to a morality that comes from free will.

As noted above, there is no guarantee that an individual will act morally once provided with the rational argument for the Golden Rule; just as there's no guarantee for morality once an individual is given the faith-based 'transcendent Lawgiver' argument.

I'm not talking about a lack of free will at all. I know that we have free will and that there's no guarantee that anyone will behave well. As Greg Koukl puts it: "The nature of a moral law is that it can be disobeyed by creatures with moral free will. If it couldn't be disobeyed, it wouldn't qualify as a moral law."

What I am talking about is a transcendent moral Lawgiver who sets out objective moral standards and expects us to freely obey them, or else suffer some kind of penalty. Without a transcendent Lawgiver, how does it make any sense to say that anything I do is morally "wrong" or "evil"?

Unless I'm mistaken, when Porkopolis thinks about "moral behavior" he's thinking of "behavior that imparts evolutionary advantages to me and my species." In other words, I think he's looking at it as a system of incentives, not as a transcendent moral Lawgiver's objective standards that carry penalties for willful disobedience.

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