Morals and Ethics without the christian god
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02-08-2011, 03:28 PM
RE: Morals and Ethics without the christian god
Christians make 2 opposing and contradicting statements on this.
The first statement is that god created us with an innate sense of morality, therefore every one of us, regardless of whether we have even heard of Christianity, naturally has this morality in us. This is, of course, easily disproved by showing the many examples of immoral behavior that was the norm in many societies, including genocide, slavery, etc. Moreover it invalidates the need for a Bible and for god to list all the things we should or shouldn't do: after all, if it's innate into each of us, all we have to do is follow whatever comes natural and we'll be ok. But this would basically remove the need for a religion.
So here comes the second statement: humans DON'T really have morals innate in them because we are all born in sin, therefore what's innate in us is not doing good, but sinning, and therefore we have to work hard at overcoming our sinful nature to do what's right. Of course the Bible and the Church are there exactly to tell us what's right. But then we have to ask: so if we need the Bible to know good from evil, what about those civilizations before the Bible, or that have never heard of the Bible, which manage to come up with pretty good moral codes? Where did they get it from? Not from their nature, which as we have said, is sinful. Not from the Bible because they have never heard of it. So where from?

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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02-08-2011, 06:50 PM
RE: Morals and Ethics without the christian god
(02-08-2011 01:48 PM)Cusquenita Wrote:  That won't actually answer the point that I'm trying to bring up, that the ten commandments are in black and white and nothing in between.
I did study many years in Sweden where education is very good and I do indeed know what happened to people hiding jews etc. I just think you missed the point of the whole question asked. There are better examples explaining this.

There are better examples than "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." That one can reasonably be interpreted as prohibiting malicious lies, at least if the wording there is a proper translation of the original commandment. Sounds like an excellent rule to me, unless it is meant to be taken as a complete prohibition against lying.

But those are minor details; your point remains, and it's a very good one. Inflexible moral absolutes are bad. The actions they prohibit are wrong in many situations, but in others are justifiable.

I would also argue that a position claiming the only valid system of morality is one of moral absolutes created by God completely devalues morality. To base these laws purely on God's authority requires them to be completely arbitrary; it can't get much more meaningless than that.
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02-08-2011, 09:03 PM
RE: Morals and Ethics without the christian god
Plato sums this problem up well in his Euthyphro:

"Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?"

In other words, is what is morally good commanded by the Christian god because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by him? If it is the latter, then slavery, genocide, rape, misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc. are all morally good because at some point in the Bible, Yahweh has commanded it. If, however, we consider the aforementioned to be immoral, then that only leaves the former conjecture: morality exists independent of a deity.

Furthermore, how have we as a species, in general, developed the notion that things such as genocide, slavery, and rape are immoral if we get our morality from a god who commands such acts? The fact that we find these things immoral demonstrates that we have a notion of morality that exists independent of whatever a fictional deity commands in an ancient book.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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03-08-2011, 09:43 AM
RE: Morals and Ethics without the christian god
(30-07-2011 11:34 AM)theophilus Wrote:  The claim that all morals come from God doesn't mean that only those who know God have morals. God has given all of us an innate sense of right and wrong.

Your knowledge of right and wrong is in fact a gift from God, whether or not you acknowledge his existence.

I have a few things to point out.

First, this doesn’t solve Euthyphro’s dilemma. Is something good because God says it is good, or does God say something is good because it is inherently good? If it is the former, then this is a “might makes right” argument. If it is the latter then clearly God is not the arbiter of what is moral and immoral. Also, attempting to solve this problem by invoking the "nature" of God only shifts the problem to God's nature.

I’m just curious, though. Is this the same God who commits, condones, and/or commands genocide, infanticide, murder, slavery, rape? The same God whose notion of “forgiveness” involves a human blood sacrifice? Because if we agree that morality is about human well being, I think we can all conclude this God is severely lacking.

If the argument is that we can’t understand this morality fully because we aren’t omniscient like God, then this leads us back to this argument; one does not need any belief in a god or gods nor asserted divine scripture or work to determine, in a way that is practical to our every day lives, that which is morally acceptable behavior. So you might as well shed the chains of religion and disregard human interpreted texts written by other humans.

Also, I suppose for the sake of argument I’m willing to concede that if we can’t understand the morality of God, then we can not conclude any action committed, condoned, or commanded by this god is bad. However, this also means we can not conclude any action committed, condoned or commanded by this God is good, either. So we must then concede that, while the bible asserts the goodness of this God, there is a possibility this God is in fact malevolent. And if an all powerful, all knowing god has created a situation in which slavery, murder, rape, genocide, or human blood sacrifices are needed at all then I think it is safe for me to conclude, (albeit based on my non god like understanding), that this God is malevolent, until such a time as this God presents himself and an argument which sufficiently and validly justifies such atrocities.

But even if we disregard the seemingly malevolent nature of this deity, why does it matter what it is asserted this deity commands? The existence of this deity has not met its burden of support in any way shape or form. So to assert that a being that has not been demonstrated to actually exist is the authority on morality is inherently valueless because it is ex nihilo. Whereas, our faculties as human beings for analyzing and evaluating real consequences resulting from real actions in reality, and reasoning whether these actions and consequences are copacetic to our value systems is inherently valuable because it is built from observable, testable data and is thus far superior to any asserted morality from any asserted god or gods that have not met their burden of support.
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