Sunday, 7 June 2009
One of the most repeated mantras in the apologist's arsenal* is that atheism can not explain morality. This is, of course, not true, as we can point to the behavior of other animals, reason, etc. But, for this post, I wanted to turn the question around and point out the "goddidit" doesn't really explain morality either. How does one explain morality from the theist's perspective?
We often take it for granted that religion is an explanation for things like morality, but we end up really explaining nothing. One issue that we find is Euthyphro's dilemma which is still a thorny issue for theists. But, that still doesn't explain morality.
Did god simply put morality into us? Is that why most of us seemingly have innate moral feelings and do not murder? This, of course, for the Xian contradicts not only free will, but the idea that we are sinners.
Does god create the moral laws that we follow? Some might argue that god gives us our moral laws, and therefore morality is explained, but it really doesn't explain morality. The other issue with that is that god has given us faulty laws if one reads the Bible. Why would a perfect being with perfect morals intentionally give us less than perfect guidelines for moral behavior? Wouldn't that be immoral and thus self-refuting?
In summary, I find no reason to simply accept "goddidit" as a sufficient accounting of morals and moral behavior. It has to be fleshed out more and the inherent contradictions need to be explained and accounted for.
*"Arsenal" is a rather weird word to use for such an impotent set of arguments, but I could not think of a better word...