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Thread: Is God necessary for morality?

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Is God necessary for morality?

    The general position of theists is that atheists are incapable of any sort of moral certitude. The argument goes that atheists have no basis for morality, no ethics, no nothing. Because Atheists believe in nothing, they have no check on their selfishness and lived hedonistic lifestyles. They did whatever they feel best, whatever pleases them most.

    The reasoning for theists is that for absolute moral law, there must be a lawgiver. The analogy used is human law that requires a legislature to make the law, and a judiciary to enforce it. The problem with this reasoning is that theists are conflating two different concepts - morality, and legality. It is true that law requires both a legislature and judiciary, however, as demonstrated by Jim Crow, as well as other laws, having a lawgiver is not, itself, a guarantee of moral, or just laws. Thus the analogy, as well as the premise rather falls apart.

    So, what guarantees that moral laws are, in fact, moral? Logically it must be that the law-enactors and enforcers are acting within the confines of morality. However, this requires that morality had to proceed legality. The only way to insure that a lawgiver is moral is that their laws conform to a morality that is independent of the lawgiver, and to which the lawgiver is confined. So, if the lawgiver is God, then they can only be moral if they conform to a morality that is independent of God. However, according to theists, there is no morality independent of God.

    Socrates make this exact point when he asked "is good good be cause it is good, and good gods choose good, or is good good, because the gods choose it? If it is the former then good is simply good, and God has nothing to do with it; God is only "good", because He chooses to do that which is good. If it is the latter, then good is entirely arbitrary and is solely dependent on God's whim.

    So, the question becomes, if God cannot, logically, be the source of morality, then what is, and how does one know what is "good"?

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    I think you make a good point about asking people "if God cannot, logically, be the source of morality, then what is, and how does one know what is "good"?

    This is a question non-believers should be required to answer - if not here, at least to themselves.

    If I did not believe in a God and try to follow what are his laws, some people would be in a world of hurt as I have some human logic that would allow me to wreak havoc on others. For example:

    A person breaks into your home, stealing what you own. Not only have you lost your feelings of security, but that person has slowly killed you. How? I spent time earning money to buy what I own. I may have researched the Net to find the best products. Then I drove to stores, burning up gas and putting wear and tear on my car. All of my time has been stolen along with my possessions. When you murder a person, what do you do other than take away time they had on earth?

    If I have whizzed away my time so that someone else can steal from me, what have I allowed someone to do, except slowly kill me? The government don't care about me, the individual. They won't provide you with therapy if you lose that sense of security and don't want to go back home. They may take the serial numbers of your stolen property and IF it ever shows up again, they MIGHT notify you. And you know their methods of punishing people is totally ineffective.

    But, God says that if someone steals your cloke to give him your coat as well. Turn the other cheek. obey the higher powers. Most of it defies human logic, so taking away God, what standard would keep you from finding the burglar in my example, retrieving your goods and beating the burglar until he fears you believes that his lifestyle could cost him his life? Maybe if he took enough of your stuff, his life might be a good trade if he could not produce it after you caught him. Without a God, who is to say what is right and what is wrong?
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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humorme View Post
    I think you make a good point about asking people "if God cannot, logically, be the source of morality, then what is, and how does one know what is "good"?

    This is a question non-believers should be required to answer - if not here, at least to themselves.

    If I did not believe in a God and try to follow what are his laws, some people would be in a world of hurt as I have some human logic that would allow me to wreak havoc on others. For example:

    A person breaks into your home, stealing what you own. Not only have you lost your feelings of security, but that person has slowly killed you. How? I spent time earning money to buy what I own. I may have researched the Net to find the best products. Then I drove to stores, burning up gas and putting wear and tear on my car. All of my time has been stolen along with my possessions. When you murder a person, what do you do other than take away time they had on earth?

    If I have whizzed away my time so that someone else can steal from me, what have I allowed someone to do, except slowly kill me? The government don't care about me, the individual. They won't provide you with therapy if you lose that sense of security and don't want to go back home. They may take the serial numbers of your stolen property and IF it ever shows up again, they MIGHT notify you. And you know their methods of punishing people is totally ineffective.

    But, God says that if someone steals your cloke to give him your coat as well. Turn the other cheek. obey the higher powers. Most of it defies human logic, so taking away God, what standard would keep you from finding the burglar in my example, retrieving your goods and beating the burglar until he fears you believes that his lifestyle could cost him his life? Maybe if he took enough of your stuff, his life might be a good trade if he could not produce it after you caught him. Without a God, who is to say what is right and what is wrong?
    First, God doesn't work. I would submit that morality is best determined by what is healthy, and what is not. Let us go with your example. I hunt down the burgler to beat his ass, and take back my stuff. Okay. However, if you were a burgler, and knew that this was an expected reaction would you not expect this? So, logically, you would have a group of big, bad burly fuckers to protect you. Now, I'm gonna know this, so I'm going to bring a gun. But, knowing this is a possibility, you are also going to arm yourself. In the end, a lot of dead bodies, and I never did get my shit back. So? How healthy was my decision to go looking for revenge?

    It doesn't take a God telling me to "let it go" for me to realise that the most healthy thing to do is let it go. Now, does this mean I do nothing? Obviously not. While morally, it is stupid to seek revenge, there is still the question of legality. So, I let the law do what it does.

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    Inside Your Heads syrenn's Avatar
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    is god..... moral?


    the only thing necessary for morality....is opinion

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syrenn View Post
    is god..... moral?


    the only thing necessary for morality....is opinion
    Your question is an interesting one, particularly if you are referring to the Judeo-Christian God, who, on more than one occasion, ordered the genocide of an entire people. Now, the argument is that "war is different", but we aren't talking about war - although he ordered that more than once, too. We're talking about actual genocide - the killing of every man, woman, child...even the livestock. Now, if a political leader commanded that, we would call them monstrous, and the entire world would rise against them (Anyone remember a guy named Hitler?). Yet a "righteous", moral God ordered this, and it was okay? Really?????

    As to your "opinion" comment, I would submit that a bit more is necessary than just an opinion.
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    Inside Your Heads syrenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    Your question is an interesting one, particularly if you are referring to the Judeo-Christian God, who, on more than one occasion, ordered the genocide of an entire people. Now, the argument is that "war is different", but we aren't talking about war - although he ordered that more than once, too. We're talking about actual genocide - the killing of every man, woman, child...even the livestock. Now, if a political leader commanded that, we would call them monstrous, and the entire world would rise against them (Anyone remember a guy named Hitler?). Yet a "righteous", moral God ordered this, and it was okay? Really?????

    As to your "opinion" comment, I would submit that a bit more is necessary than just an opinion.

    the only thing necessary is opinion.

    what is moral to you may not be moral to others. What is moral now may not have been moral before or long after. Morality is dependent on the opinion of society of what is and is not acceptable. Simple example is homosexuality.

    opinions can change over time, individual to individual. Morality is a fluid idea.....

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syrenn View Post
    the only thing necessary is opinion.

    what is moral to you may not be moral to others. What is moral now may not have been moral before or long after. Morality is dependent on the opinion of society of what is and is not acceptable. Simple example is homosexuality.

    opinions can change over time, individual to individual. Morality is a fluid idea.....
    So, you don't believe there are any absolutes? Not sure I would agree there.

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    Inside Your Heads syrenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    So, you don't believe there are any absolutes? Not sure I would agree there.

    Sent from my 5054N using Tapatalk

    There are absolute opinions. Ever tied to change someone elses opinion?

    You asked if god was necessary for mortality. The answer is no..... man is necessary for morality. Man projects its morality onto others... ie ever single religious text written by man. Man projects its morality onto every single thing in the universe. Morality is only opinion. Morality is not dependent on a god.... but only yourself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    The general position of theists is that atheists are incapable of any sort of moral certitude. The argument goes that atheists have no basis for morality, no ethics, no nothing. Because Atheists believe in nothing, they have no check on their selfishness and lived hedonistic lifestyles. They did whatever they feel best, whatever pleases them most.

    The reasoning for theists is that for absolute moral law, there must be a lawgiver. The analogy used is human law that requires a legislature to make the law, and a judiciary to enforce it. The problem with this reasoning is that theists are conflating two different concepts - morality, and legality. It is true that law requires both a legislature and judiciary, however, as demonstrated by Jim Crow, as well as other laws, having a lawgiver is not, itself, a guarantee of moral, or just laws. Thus the analogy, as well as the premise rather falls apart.

    So, what guarantees that moral laws are, in fact, moral? Logically it must be that the law-enactors and enforcers are acting within the confines of morality. However, this requires that morality had to proceed legality. The only way to insure that a lawgiver is moral is that their laws conform to a morality that is independent of the lawgiver, and to which the lawgiver is confined. So, if the lawgiver is God, then they can only be moral if they conform to a morality that is independent of God. However, according to theists, there is no morality independent of God.

    Socrates make this exact point when he asked "is good good be cause it is good, and good gods choose good, or is good good, because the gods choose it? If it is the former then good is simply good, and God has nothing to do with it; God is only "good", because He chooses to do that which is good. If it is the latter, then good is entirely arbitrary and is solely dependent on God's whim.

    So, the question becomes, if God cannot, logically, be the source of morality, then what is, and how does one know what is "good"?
    Good post and question.
    I think for many Christians that I know (not the ones anyone hears from because they don't feel it is their place to be judges of anyone, but their own capacity for living according to their beliefs) their God is not necessary for good values to flourish in the world......They believe that all that is necessary for good values or values of good, to flourish is for any human to nurture them.

    There appear to be basic needs and desires that all humans can identify with and share that strip away all other differing characteristics and features......These could or might be considered universal values that transcend most, if not all of humanity. To me, if we concentrated on all the things that human beings commonly share, we might not only find more unity, but understanding of one another and instead of constantly pointing out how someone is different than we are and using it to scapegoat a reason to dislike them and their associates (because they are different than us) we might find a means to live side by side with our differences and work out where they cause conflicts, based on the commonalities of all humans.

    Nothing is going to eliminate or vanquish harmful conflict totally, but we do not appear to be going in a good direction, in part because "values" or "morality" has become subjective, instead of objective, in the minds of many.

    An unfortunate example of this in my mind is our President elect who spent an entire campaign contradicting himself, not allowing anyone to know where his values and morality really is. One minute he compliments someone, then totally trashes them with insults the next, then compliments them again. He at times acts as if he has dementia or a disease of the memory with regard to contradicting himself and remembering what he said last year, last week, yesterday about something that was totally the opposite of what he is saying today or will say tomorrow. While that makes him unpredictable, it also makes him predictable with regard to his unpredictability. The latter does not build confidence, but brings concerns about consistency in any state or financial affairs, especially those that include billions and trillions of dollars of effect, an example being the health of the nation's economy.

    Many of the Founders of this nation were considered to be Deists, in that they believed more in a God that created the heavens and earth, but was NOT looking to see who is naughty or nice and fulfilling prayers while exacting wrath upon others.

    There are many religious people who have no animosity toward atheists or any different form of belief, in spiritual beings, multiple, mono, otherwise or believe that no spiritual beings exist. There are some religious people who seem to think it is their position/responsibility to scorn anyone and anything that does not align with their beliefs......There also appear to be some atheists that seem to think it is their position/responsibility to disregard anyone else's beliefs and work to ensure everyone aligns with their own, even if it is, that there are no gods and they are not possible or logical.


    Many people in the world take a more humble approach with respect to their fellow human beings, seeing themselves as they see others and not presuming to absolutely know whether spiritual beings exist or not, perhaps in hope that others will do the same, both keeping their beliefs to themselves, leaving others to their own, hoping they too, keep them to themselves.

    I think the essence is, no one should be forced to believe what someone else beliefs and conversely, no one should be trying to force others to believe what they believe. If someone can convince, by their actions or by making a case for their beliefs, so that someone voluntarily "believes" either in spiritual beings or in the belief they do not exist, then fine, but nothing should be forced at least in part because if it is forced it is not entirely or not at all genuine.
    Last edited by KnotaFrayed; 11th December 2016 at 08:20 PM.
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    The problem with the OP is that God can be at work in the lives of humans without the humans consciously acknowledging God.

    The idea that you must belong to the right group with the right systems and clothing and symbols is a tribal invention.

    You will know those who are born of God by the ways they love one another.

    This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another
    http://biblehub.com/john/13-35.htm
    Last edited by kmiller1610; 12th December 2016 at 02:42 AM.
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