Right or wrong is not determined by public opinion

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Re ‘The Church is out of touch’ (April 29):

It needs to be pointed out that the above comment/article by Brian Mc Clinton of the Humanist Society of Northern Ireland raises a larger issue. Namely what makes something moral or immoral in the first place?

It seems from a brief reading of the comment that what makes something moral or immoral from the humanist perspective simply boils down to public majority opinion. Lots of percentage figures are quoted on various “moral” issues.

This “might equals right” perspective needs to be seriously challenged.

A simple thought experiment suffices to illustrate the illogic of the comments as follows: say 99% of people in Northern Ireland held the opinion that theft of property from a millionaire is moral – would that statistic make it so?

Hardly. Therefore quoting figures and talk of “out of touch” is only a veneer. Deeper questions need addressing by the humanist society such as: is anything objectively moral or immoral at all?

And if they are how is this if humanism is in fact true?

I don’t think humanism can quite handle such questions very well and with such ease as the comment seems insinuate.

So even if churches are “out of touch” it need not equate to “churches are wrong”. Mr Mc Clinton has all his work to do on that front!

Mark Taggart LLB, Fermanagh