HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Fusing God and Objective Morality Empowers Ministers of Religion too much

Do those who say that you cannot really believe in morality unless you believe there is no morality or moral values unless there is a God want to respect God or do they want to turn a moral ideal, an ethical standard, into God?
 
The latter do not really respect God but are manipulating faith in order to keep people moral. That would be idolatry. If morality matters and God can be abused to make it matter then it follows that God and morality cannot go together. Morality is independent of God.
 
If the moral argument is wrong, all believers are turning God into a ideological idol. Then morality would require not only that you think morality and God are separable but in hostile opposition. Jesus was guilty of that for he said that" No one is good except God alone" (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19, Matthew 19:17).

To say God and morality go together so that to deny one is to wholly deny the other is to say three things:

Good is objectively good.
 
This good is real because it exists only in God.
 
You cannot know this good except in so far as God reveals himself and forms relationships with us.
 
You cannot trust everybody who claims to know this good and preach it.
 
The objective good is only put into practice by those who get grace from God to help them learn it and live it.
 
Morality is about two things: reciprocity and empathy not God. Anybody then who brings God into the equation is looking for power and does not really care about real morality. If there was a choice between reciprocity and empathy which one would we have to choose? Reciprocity for it is about treating others well who treat you well because they treat you well.
 
If we had to reject one thing and the choice was reciprocity, empathy and God obviously God would have to go.

Religion says that good cannot exist unless God exists and God is good. Translation: “Good is objective or real and objective or real good is God.
 
Therefore there is no objective good without God.” That circular argument proves that trying to base morality on God cannot work. It is not logical and is the same as arguing that morality is true for God says so and if God says it then God is right. A circular argument messes with words to make it look like an argument. A circular argument is necessarily man-made and also anti-rational. Just like a lie leads to more lies a circular argument can start a whole religion!
To say morality is objectively correct and true is to say the moral person knows what is right and wrong. It is knowing not believing we are talking about. But how do you prove that a person really knows? If you don’t know, that does not mean they don’t know or know. Morality even if objective is given to you by people who know it is true. This gives them power over you for they can say they know what is objectively right and wrong if you don't. If you know say abortion is wrong and others only think it is wrong that means your will comes first. Fact always comes before belief. Objective morality then gives power and authority to men by default.
 
If you think murder is wrong and ask what you mean by saying it is wrong most of us end up concluding that it is wrong because the leaders of the community do not allow it. The community is part of this too for they make the men the leaders and follow them. But if you think it is wrong just because a man or the community says so that means that obeying the community is more important than human life. Even if you hold that murder is inherently wrong whether forbidden or not, the vast majority of people ban murder just because it pleases the community. In the right conditions, they will kill for there is little restraining them anyway. Keeping in line with what other people think you should do is not a solid way to behave.

 
If there is no God, then there is no legitimate authority that preaches and acts in his name or which got authority from him. If there is no God, then there is no way man can ground a definition of God. Do not give man power by honouring his ideas about God for it is man that will benefit from it not God.
 
The notion that there is no real good in a person unless they do it for God is common. It is the reason why some say the problem is not if a person can be really good without God or if there is no God but is about getting an answer to, "What does good mean?" If you do not know what good is in the first place you cannot really be good no matter how much good you do. Something similar to good is not the same as good.
 
The argument is really about trying to say that all values, truths, morals and decisions do not have value in themselves. The value is derived from a God who is and who represents those values. The notion that value has no value unless there is a God to value it is bizarre. A calculation cannot be correct just because somebody says so. If it is right it does not need a person to agree with it. What we really have here is people being afraid that each person is going to define morality for themselves. They try to solve the problem by letting only one person, God, do that. Good and what it means is not defined and controlled by us but by God. It is manipulative and hypocritical to try and take away your right to define and to give it to one person. It is given to God not because he is God but because he is a person who is thought to be stronger than us and who, unlike anybody else, can be used as the link between us all.
 
He is the convenient person. 

One attraction of saying that you can define good for yourself is that you can define yourself as good no matter how much harm you do. If good is independent of what you think it could be that you are not really good and nobody else is either - another horrible thought. If you define good as what suits you, you define others as bad especially if they somehow hinder your life. So it sounds bad to say something is good just because you value it.
But letting somebody else define good for you is no better! The same problems will arise. And to make that somebody else out to be God enhances and reinforces the problems.
 
It would be hypocritical to boast how you won't define good for yourself and let God do it when that is no better or even worse than doing it yourself. If it is degrading to create your values as you choose then it is more degrading to give that privilege to another in your stead. Why give it to them? And moreover you degrade you and them for it is degrading for them too.
 
Charlatans and those who are deluded by religion both try to protect themselves from evidence or proof that their ideas are wrong. They make sure their claims end up being non-testable. Those who say there is no morality if there is no God and who then give you a God whose existence and love is not testable are not going to give you a very convincing or deep morality. If you get a dose of non-testable stuff, there is nothing stopping you from coming up with different non-testable stuff.


Some non-testable claims are more beneficial than other claims. That masks their dangers and bad implications.

It is better to assume that morality is somehow binding in itself than to assume it is binding only if there is a God. You don't need to know how the doctor helps but only that she does. It is better to assume for it is simpler and dodges any risk of people giving strange commands and saying they come from God and he has a plan so we must overlook the seeming oddness. So the attempt to fuse morality and God is itself not the best idea and so it is doomed to fail. It gives you a hypocritical moral code not a moral code.
 
Feeling free is testable. But whether we have free will or not is not testable. So if we assume free will, we should assume a version of it that gives people dignity - assuming there is such a version. It should be assumed for man's sake and not for the sake of believing in God. To believe in free will so that you can blame man not God for evil is terrible. And if God comes first then that is what you should do. This is proof that there is something far from right with the notion that God and objective morality are somehow the same. It takes away the attraction of believing in God.
 
What is particularly twisted about efforts to ground morality in God's commands or nature, is that it puts power in the ministers and prophets who claim to speak for God and know what he wants. It is egocentric despite the crafty veneer of kindness and love. The morality that is offered by religion is horrendous in many parts - for example, allowing the wanton killing of animals for food and praising and loving a God who has set up nature in such a cruel way that one animal torments another to death. For all their talk about grounding morality in God, they have no real concern for it. They just care about it suiting them which means they do not really care about morality at all but about themselves.
 
The God-belief is a danger to our standards of right and wrong. Those who say it is essential to believe in God before one can believe in any of these standards are lying for there is nothing on this page that hasn’t been constantly said to the Church by its critics over the centuries. The Church ignores the truth for it gets away with it for the sheep are dependent on her. Belief in God is bad for us therefore to promote the belief is bad. To say we must believe in God to be moral implies that the evil doctrine that "an act is never good in itself but needs a God to approve of it to make it good" is true. This is because it implies that even child rape, for instance, would be good if God allowed it. If good is independent of belief in God then no big deal should be made of God. It would mean that good is good whether there is a God or not. We have enough trouble trying to work out right and wrong without religion adding to the difficulties and making a laughing stock of our efforts. If believers say an atheist can be moral, but has no basis for really believing in morality, the atheist is really being accused of superficial and shallow morality. That is not morality. The atheist cannot have a truly moral motive for doing the good things she does. 
 
Belief in God is not about morality but about religious self-interest of the worst and most devious and hidden kind. God is just worshipped as a cover for self-interest. Believers don't like morality so they invent a God or morality in order to motivate themselves to behave. God is a moral crutch - and people will be hit with this crutch should they see through religious people.
 
God is only of use to religious people as an inventor of moral rules. If there is no God then they are the inventors and we are empowering them by serving God. If God is an inventor, how do we know that we are not mistaking the inventions of men for his?
 
Even if you think God has revealed moral values to you and moral rules, YOU are still responsible if they are not from him, if they are wrong and if they do harm. People trying to make out God and morality are the same are trying to dodge this infinite and tremendous and frightening responsibility. That makes faith in a God who is the definition of morality and moral value intrinsically evil and risky. For a believer to go and enjoy a lovely meal is an insult to others. If you are going to condone, intentionally or not, or risk condoning, God's pretended right to tell us what is ethical and how he lets a little baby suffer and you go and enjoy yourself that is vile.
 
Both atheists and religionists can teach that something wrong is right and refuse to backtrack. It is more dangerous for a religionist to do that because he can use God's mysterious ways and superior wisdom as a loophole. The temptation will be too great. He can say that God decides from his perspective as ruler and observer of the universe what should be done and we don't have the knowledge or expertise he has to contest what he demands. A person can make moral rules non-testable by saying they are God's decisions and use that to mask the fact that he is just a stubborn twit who doesn't want to admit it when he is in the wrong. He could even use God to mask it from himself as well.
 
Those who fuse God and morality and turn God into the definition of morality deny that morality is chiefly about happiness and well-being. You are asked for example to hold a loving attitude towards others even if you can do nothing at all for them and Satan rules the universe and threatens to torment you forever unless you turn your heart nasty. Can you imagine how that opens the door for atheists and believers to wage evil in the name of morality and still be seen as heroes? At least we atheists don't have faith in God which will only block recognition of the extent of the problem. Some say the atheist should not say happiness is what matters most in morality for if there is no God then you might as well say that drinking water five times a day is what matters most.

If God is not the same as objective morality and is not essential to objective morality then there is no justification for worshipping him when he lets evil happen to little innocent babies. He loses importance. It becomes objectively moral to condemn him.
 
If people use their power to decide like a God what they are going to regard as good or evil, the state will soon end up doing the same thing and will deliberately do evil while pretending to be well-meaning. You may as well let individuals do it as let the state do it and vice versa.
 
It is thought that it is a good thing if man creates moral laws and human rights for that means only man can protect them. That argument has a fatal flaw. What if man creates a moral law commanding that all 55 year olds be executed so that younger generations may thrive? Man should DISCOVER moral laws and human rights and BECAUSE he has discovered them he can PROTECT them. Man using God to invent morals and rights is out. Man using God to protect morals is cheating. Man must do it and man alone and on his own authority.
 
If we are deciding like a God what morality is going to be or not be and pretending we don't that makes us bigger hypocrites than what we already are. It could be that the person's whose values match God's does not have them because they match God's. It could be by luck that there happened to be a match. It does not prove the person is innocent of defining goodness for herself. Even if the arguments about God and morality are right, it does not follow that any believer really cares. Religion says that man is estranged from God so if that is true it would be surprising if anybody cares.