Monday, August 18, 2014

The Possibility of Living Coherent Moral Lives without God

My Response to someone who claims that God is not necessary in order to live coherent moral lives:

Thanks for this question:

  • You really haven't explained why the source of the universe (according to you) is so important that one is obliged to be subservient to it.
We recognize that we have an obligation to our parents. They have loved us and have sacrificed for us. It would therefore be reprehensible for us to reject them after we have received from them what we want.

If there is a God, He has provided for us far more than our parents. Not only has He loved us and given us the air to breathe and the food to eat, He has also given us our parents and everything that is good. But He has also died for us, offering us forgiveness and a place with Him for all eternity.

While many respond that they have no evidence of this, they will not even seek and pray for the truth. If they believe in a “God,” they conveniently prefer to think of him as an amoral energy force – a god who makes no moral claims upon them and has no expectations.

However, there are loads of evidence for His existence and benevolence, but few will even consider them. Instead, many scorn the weighty evidences offered them, as the Bible claims:

  • The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,  since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

Fittingly, when they reject God they also reject the only possible foundation for meaning and morality. Instead, you suggest basing morality on the foundation of feelings of compassion:

  • Some animals do get rights, and there are laws which prevent people from abusing or mistreating them. There are laws that deal with the protection of the environment too. Surely it is not in the interest of animals to suffer, and hence dealing with them as humanely as possible should be afforded. The basis for this can be found within the human experience of pain and the fact that animals too can feel it.

I gladly agree with your conclusion that our feelings of compassion tell us something about morality. However, our feelings cannot be the basis of morality. If we rape and murder and then feel guilty, our problem isn’t merely our guilt feelings or that we have violated a human law, but that our feelings inform us that we have violated a divine law. If law is merely a matter of feelings, we can find a pill that could get us through. If it is merely a matter of committing a crime, there are times and means to avoid the penalty. Instead, there must be Divine moral law.

Besides, if our feelings/intuitions are the source of morality and meaning, we must enshrine (normalize) all of our feelings – lust, hate, anger, selfishness. Of course, this leads to chaos and an always evolving moral code.

Well, what’s the matter with morals that evolve (are not objective)? Instead, of serving a higher moral truth, morality is then conscripted into service for us – a mere tool for our convenience. Who cannot become cynical about such an understanding! How can we be encouraged to sacrifice for such a code!

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