Sunday, 7 June 2009

goddidit Morality


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...

6 comments:

Jay said...

saying "goddidit" is the same as saying "it's magic"... except "goddidit" is socially acceptable right now

Chris Clark said...

i also hate the concept of "goddidit" as a blanket explanation for everything. i also don't agree with the christian mentality of "you don't need to understand anything, just put your faith in god and it will all sort itself out." in other words, please turn off your brain (that was given to us by god anyway) and sing beautiful songs about how god is so powerful, and your life will be taken care of. why even bother getting out of bed in the morning? god should take care of it all for me.

there are many christians i know who are not that idiotic, and will explain that it goes much further than this and is much more complicated, but the boiled down root of it all still sorta comes down to "there is a point when you just won't understand and won't have proof, and from there you need to have faith in god."

science: has questions that may never be answered.
religion: has answers that may never be questioned.

Chris Clark said...

btw i like your blog. i have a similar one: godisnotscience.com.

Anonymous said...

"christian mentality of "you don't need to understand anything, just put your faith in god and it will all sort itself out"

Speaking of science and answers and all. So, based on the notion that all answers are from the world around us, in the ancient world when slavery was almost universally accepted, does that mean slavery at that time was OK? If a 1000 years from now the world almost universally accepts genocide as a means of population control, will that then be OK? If not, on what grounds does one argue that it is wrong?

Tigerboy said...

Empathy.

That same sense of empathy and fair play which can be observed in two year olds and other animals.

GCT said...

"So, based on the notion that all answers are from the world around us, in the ancient world when slavery was almost universally accepted, does that mean slavery at that time was OK?"

What does this have to do with empirical observation? Either way, I suggest you get your own house in order considering that the Bible supports slavery.

"If a 1000 years from now the world almost universally accepts genocide as a means of population control, will that then be OK?"

Why go into the future. Your Bible was an advocate of genocide already and has not repudiated it. Perhaps you should defend it.

"If not, on what grounds does one argue that it is wrong?"

Reason and rationality, two things you seem to know little about.