"Today will be different," I think as my legs spill out of the bed and into the coziest of slippers. Half way to the kitchen I see that Rob ignored my mandate to clean his room yesterday. It's fine. I'm a new man. The disobedience looks different now. Passing the kitchen counter the program from last night's event creeps into view. "The End of Morality," is displayed in a stylistic font on the cover. I'm sold. The atheist convinced me. Morality is just a social development - a myth - a useful fiction. Nothing is objectively right or wrong. Today will be different. Today I will be the first skeptic to actually attempt to live a life consistent with the belief that there are no absolute moral standards. And hey, I'm proud of myself for not tearing into Rob over not cleaning his room. He did what he wanted, and while it may not be what I would prefer, it isn't wrong. It isn't right . . . it's nothing. One stiff cup of coffee later, I head for the shower and prepare for the day.
Grabbing the keys and heading for the door I shout to Cindy, "I'm taking off, sweetie!"
She answers with, "Sam . . . I meant to tell you, I won't be home until about 8:00 tonight! I have to stay late!" Stay late? Why would she need to stay late? More to the point, why has she needed to stay late so often lately? No matter. She can do what she wants, and I won't hold it against her. I'm a new man with a fresh outlook. She may not always choose to do what I'd like, she may do the opposite, but she's no worse for it. Nothing is right or wrong.
The drive to the office challenges my new worldview, but it's fine . . . it's fine. I wander two feet in my lane and the guy on the dumb moped flicks me off. Worse still, that's the same jerk I let cut in front of me at Starbucks. It's fine . . . it's fine. I've got to remind myself that justice is just an illusion anyway. Words like better or worse don't have any meaning either. Recalling last night's lecture I'm reminded that since there is no God, there is no objective or absolute grounding for morality. Words like better, worse, good, bad and progress have no meaning. Oh well. It's fine . . . the moped guy is fine . . .
Punching the power button on the car stereo I try to escape my annoyance by immersing my thoughts in the morning news. "Twenty dead in the middle east," the reporter announces. It's fine . . . it's fine. After all, wars have been waging forever. It's still a good idea . . . wait, can't use the word "good," . . . it's still the best . . . no . . . it's still the safest idea to eliminate the enemy.
Proud of myself I develop a lopsided grin and breathe, "See, Sam, it's not so hard to deny morality." No sooner do the words pass my lips than I hear the reporter explain the arrest of a local man who brutally raped and murdered a twelve year old girl who lived next door. "You gotta be kidding me," I say.
On the drive home I contemplate the day. Work was alright. I lost my promotion to Richard. Richard! Seriously? I almost confess that it isn't fair. But then, fairness has no meaning in my new worldview. If I'm honest, my resolve is weakening.
After the moped, the news reports and Richard's promotion I decide not to turn on the TV. I can't take any more. Perhaps, this is just the way it is when you try to look at the world in a different way. Maybe it isn't always going to be like this. I'll learn to control my emotions and see things the way they are. Everyone can do what they want. If people get hurt that's just the way life is. If I get hurt, I may not like it, but it isn't wrong . . . nothing is . . . wrong. I devour my reheated spaghetti in what must appear to be a disgusting manner, but I don't care. Besides there isn't anyone here to see it. The meal is mediocre. Well, I can't use that word can I? mediocre is a value statement. I'll just say, I'm not enjoying it very much.
Something creeps almost organically into my thoughts as I eat the tasteless noodles. Is Cindy having an affair? Speaking the word out loud I let it hang in the air almost as if I can see and examine it, "affair." Two hours pass and the word is still hanging there tauntingly in the same spot. Paranoia, jealously . . . whatever it is that holds the though in place also drives me to my car and down the street.
In fifteen minutes I find myself at Cindy's office. As I drive it is as though all of the there's-no-morality self-help talk I'd been feeding myself all day falls away piecemeal with every passing mile. Bursting into her office I see it. Is it . . . it can't be. It is. It's the moped guy. The word escapes my lips a second time, "affair." Again, it hangs there as my anger swells to a fever-pitch. Cindy and moped-man begin trying to explain. Useless. I attempt to calm myself with the truth that what she has done, heck, what moped-man has done here is not wrong. Nothing is wrong. Then it happens. I realize the absurdity of what I had been telling myself all day. Of course it's wrong. It's extremely wrong. At the moment it reveals itself to be the most wrong thing that has ever happened to me. Morality is absolute, and this is absolutely immoral. End.
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. - Judges 17:6
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. - Romans 2:14-16