Is Morality possible without God


#81

That would only be true if God was just a being among other beings and just happened to be the most powerful. But that is not how Christians think of God.


#82

This objection would have more traction against a Divine Command Theory of morality, but it doesn’t follow against a Natural Law theory of morality. From a Natural Law standpoint, you and I should be able to come to agree about many things by referring to a common reference point, like human dignity and fulfillment. Or, if we don’t necessarily agree, give us at least a common reference point for discussion and debate, rather than just talking past each other.


#83

You’ve missed it - willfully I think.

I don’t care what you want to call “god” in this case. It can be a theistic figure, “natural law”, whatever.

The non-negotiable is that it must have a transcendent quality in order to invoke codification and compliance so that entire societies can function.

Please be absolutely certain, I don’t give a rip about anyone’s individual take on morality. I’m much, much more interested in what we appeal to as an authoritative basis for a common morality.

Don’t shift the goalposts. I’m not talking about “humans” being another sky-fairy. “Human Well-Being” is the sky-fairy you’re alluding to.

It dies to the same critiques one uses to dismiss god, in case you weren’t aware. You can’t measure it or objectively observe it. It’s another sky-fairy and you don’t like it when folks point that out.

I don’t blame you. No one likes seeing their personal “god” get picked on.

Unfortunately… Tough. This is the “Apologetics” part of the forum.


#84

History also reveals the same evils attending religions. Morality is certainly possible without religion and it is very possible that written traditions within religions have their basis in human morality that is in turn reflected in religious texts. In fact, many evils have been committed in the name of religion as well as many good works. The difference between the evils committed in the name of religion and the evils committed in the 20th century by atheists such as Stalin and Mao, the atrocities committed by Stalin and Mao weren’t guided by or attributed to any doctrine or philosophy. They were simply abuses of power on the part of madmen. The writings of Marx were never cited as a call to exterminate or torture people, whilst many religious writings, philosophies and edicts do in fact call for such things. So, as a pragmatist, I would give religion credit for a lot of good work and credit for unleashing a lot of evil. Morality or lack thereof is a human affair. If this world was in fact created, it seems upon inspection that whatever created it doesn’t see good or evil, as they are existential imperatives to one another. Light is only known in relation to dark, high is only known in contrast to low and so on and so forth. If all was good, or all was bad, everything would stop, and as X.J.Kennedy pointed out, a heaven where everything worked as it should and all was good would be more of a mechanistic hell than a paradise. I imagine that this is in part why the human condition is attended by an itch that can’t be scratched,
and if we were in fact made, then it is implicit in our design and therefore a reflection of the mind of the maker, who knowing all things likely missed no details even as they relate to the probable outcomes of free will. If not, then we are the product of a frustrated tinkerer and certainly not omniscience.

All the best!


#85

But couldn’t we then appeal to evolution as the authoritative basis for morality? Those morals which lead to survival are good, and those which lead to extinction are bad.


#86

So you’re comfotable with teleology/final causes in nature?


#87

How does evolution objectively provide why something like rape is wrong? Serious question. In fact, I’d argue that consensual sex is something of an oddity in the animal kingdom…


#88

And what final cause, what purpose would that be? Survival? But evolution doesn’t give a whit about survival. In the end it may very well be that everything dies. So is that the end goal of evolution, that everything should die? Perhaps evolution really isn’t deciding what lives, it’s deciding what dies.

In the end though, evolution really doesn’t care. It has no goal, merely a function. The goal, if you perceive one, is only an illusion.


#89

It doesn’t. But you didn’t allude to an objective basis for morality. You alluded to an authoritative one. And that which decides who lives and who dies would certainly seem to be authoritative.


#90

I asked because you’re the one who suggested using evolution as a basis of objective morality, but that would require teleology.


#91

As pointed out in the above post, I didn’t suggest that evolution is an objective basis for morality. I was responding to Vonsalza’s appeal for an authoritative basis for morality. There’s a a difference I think.


#92

But in what way would it be authoritative considering all value judgments about it, even “life good” and “extinction bad” would have no objective ground, from your perspective?


#93

The value judgment, “life good” and “extinction bad” are intrinsic to life itself. Existence is good, non-existence is bad.Therefore those attributes which lead to life are good, and those which lead to death are bad. If this isn’t true, then by what measure would God be considered an objective standard for good and bad?

In other words, even if you use God as the objective standard for good and bad. Why?


#94

While we could nuance this out more, I agree with the basic premise. But again, this is a qualitative assertion about nature, a value which can’t be empirically tested, a metaphysical assertion, and even a bit teleological. Are you comfortable with that?

Take what you said above and then combine it with my position that God is subsistent existence itself, unactualized actuality. Insofar as each thing exists, it’s a similitude, a little image, of God, who is it’s origin for existing. And the better a thing insantiates what it is, it becomes a better image.


#95

Awesome, then I’ve only got to point out one thing-

The authoritative moral basis must appear transcendently objective so as to facilitate compliance. If it lacks this quality, the moral object is deemed arbitrary and readily violated.

Scroll up. That’s pretty much what I opened with.


#96

If the Christian (et al) is right and God exists then both the Christian and the atheist can behave morally. If the atheist is right and there is no god then neither the Christian nor the atheist can behave morally as there would be no justification beyond personal preference for saying one actions is moral and another is immoral.

The fact that there are many religions, and that even within religions there are disputes about what is or is not a moral act is really irrelevant. That there are any number of wrong answers doesn’t mean there isn’t a right one. Like a teacher grading a test - the correct answers aren’t altered by what the students believe. If, however, there is no right answer then one guess is as good as another and the concept of right and wrong answers is farcical.

If there is no God, and therefore no external standard of right and wrong, then what is the argument that I should ever do anything not in my own best interest? Why is the question “What’s in it for me?” not the appropriate guide in deciding how I should live?


#97

Would you accept morality if God was evil, A God who keeps you in eternal fire for no reason?


#98

Whether or not there’s a God to provide you with an objective morality is irrelevant. How do you as a human know what that morality is? Even if you have a book in which that morality is written down, the scenarios that life presents you with are seldom black and white. So someone will have to interpret that book, and decide how to apply that morality in every possible situation. And that will make it subjective, and by your own measure, without justification. So any morality that you may think you have, is worthless. It may align with God’s, and it may not, you don’t know.

What your left with is to live by your own subjective morality, and hope that in the end it aligns with God’s. But you will never, ever know. So my standard of morality is just as good as yours.


#99

This is not actually an argument that your morality is as good as mine, it is an argument that morality does not in fact exist. If everything is subjective then you have no real basis to condemn any action as immoral; all you can realistically say is that you would have made a different choice. I mean this quite literally: in an “everything is subjective” world, choosing to murder a person instead of helping him is not morally different than choosing chocolate over vanilla. They are all merely personal preferences and there is no question of morality involved.


#100

No, not quite. If there’s a God then there’s still an objective morality, and my moral standard is correct in-so-much as it aligns with God’s, just as yours is. The problem is that neither of us can judge the morality of the other.

You do realize that it’s always been that way. Your moral standard, whether you regarded it as objective or not, was only true in-so-far as it aligned with God’s.


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