Debate:If God does not exist, can anything be morally wrong?

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I see this question as developmental. Morality, by my definition is having evolved or developed enough to expand your definition of self-interest to include others', as your definition of self includes self in family, self in community, etc. Then, what is moral is making decisions based on what is best for most, rather than selfishly pursuing only narrow self-interest, even when that is uncomfortable. Applied to the homosexuality debate, Why in the world would it be necessary to defend or justify something that is part of nature, something people (and other species) are born to? The answer to that is threefold: a). Some social conservatives use the bible to justify discrimination and intolerance against gay people. This is the case even though we did not all agree to be ruled by the bible, that the bible says different things about homosexuality (the Eunuchs shal inherit the earth), and that much of what is in the bible doesn't fit in a modern world (hence we don't smite people for mixing fibres in their garments, burn a sacrificial bull at the altar, condone slavery, or stone people for the 'abomination' of eating shellfish). b) Some social conservatives use twisted science to condemn gay and lesbian people, even forgetting that women are included, and looking only at so-called 'research', such as the discredited ex-gay ministry, which reinforces their belief systems. c). Those same social conservatives actually CAUSE homosexuality to be a critique of 'traditional values' (although there is NOTHING non-traditional about homosexuality in and of itself-- it's been around since before tradition!) by pushing homosexuality into the shadows by using the bible and twisted science to advocate for discrimination and intolerance against gay and lesbian people. There is nothing new about wanting to abridge the rights of people we are not comfortable with, and there's a self-reinforcing dynamic of systematic mistreatment of people who are different, leading to defensive behavior, leading to stereotypes, which are used to justify further mistreatment. There is also nothing new about blaming a group of people we are uncomfortable with for all society's ills. It's reassuring and provides a simple answer-- even if it's the wrong answer.

Alexxjm --Alexxjm 15:22, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Contents

NO

Aside from God, might makes right. God dictates morality. --BenjaminS 16:18, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

How do you know? God said so? Sounds arbitrary to me.User:Cthx

It really depends how you define morality. If morality is what is right and wrong, as set down by God, then of course no morality exists if God does not exist. However, many people would give morality a broader definition. For example, most atheists would say they attempt to hold to some set of morals which they believe to be right. ~ SharonS Talk! 16:30, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


I couldn't agree more SharonS. In debates, everything hinges upon what definitions you use. I personally would define morals as the "natural law inscribed on a man's heart" As the Bible dictates that God inscribed this law, no morals would exist without him. However, Athieist definitions set apart different definitions, which would provide different answers. BlackholeStorm

umm..no....IF he did NOT exist do what you want and the guy with the most toys wins... --Wally 19:47, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

I am an atheist. I do not believe in God or any afterlife. However, I have morals. In fact, I feel that I am more moral than people who are moral just because god says they should be moral. What I do simply for the good of mankind you do only out of fear of burning for eternity in a lake of fire. I am also free from the prejudices against other religions, atheists, and homosexuals that comes with following a religion. There is no God, but I do not kill and steal. CBarber


i very much agree with CBARBER execpt my views are slightly different. I am not atheists. I feel there is somthing out there but I have yet to know the truth. But though I do not follow one set religion i refuse to allow myself to be controled by any. I have my own morals and Ideas of human dignity and no religion is going to make me change that. If there is a "god" of some sort morals are still up to the individual person. STILLCONTEMPLATING

God does not dictate morality, as he does not exist. Religious 'morality' is not morality at all, as you are following a moral set out of cowardice and fear than because you actually feel it to be right. God is dead, meaning that the Christian morality is no longer practical or reasonable to follow as enough people have freed themselves from it, seeing as it is truly the most foolish moral code ever set forth by man. I think that even if a god exists (which he does not), it would still be up to people to decide what was right and what was wrong and to define them. Also, seeing as there is (unsurprisingly) no debate set up in which I can voice this opinion and still be relating to the subject of the debate: Christians, much like conservatives, are almost always stubborn, irrational, foolish, cowardly hypocrites.

There could be no standard of Morality withouth God. I could still sit here and say whether something is right or wrong, but that would just be my opinion based upon my personal preferences. Then everybodys morality would be subjective to whatever they prefer. Morality can only be an objective standard when God's in the picture who is infinite and unchanging. -- Ultimahero. March 3, 2008

Couldn't have put it better myself. Dford 14:37, 29 May 2010 (EDT)

Not in a transcendent way. People can make up their own social conventions about what they personally think is right and wrong, but there's nothing that says it's really wrong. By definition, on atheism, all we have is nihilism.

Yes

Morality is stored in our mind, and then we act according to this morality. People who believe in God get a morality through Christian education, the Bible, church, etc. People who don't believe make up their own morality. In my opinion (this goes to the censors out there, who already deleted this once, when it clearly DID NOT violate any Commandments or whatever) God does NOT interfere with morality in any way (unless you believe he taught morals to people long ago and they teach it to you now). Still, morality only depends on those who use it. _Ace

Man is still answerable to his fellow man. A morality dictated by God is replaced by a morality dictated by the community. Myk 16:29, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

In other words majority rules... might makes right. --BenjaminS 16:44, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Ummm.... no? Might makes right is a little over simplistic. Look back in to the origins of religion and you will see that the moral code was based on how best for a community to survive. ""Fragile communities fragment when people steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, etc. God telling people what is right and wrong... that is might makes right. Morality not from God is people deciding what is best not just for themselves, but for the community. Myk 16:59, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Your view that "God telling people what is right and wrong... is might makes right" reveals a very limited view of God and implies that His motives are those that a selfish man would have were he to be given infinite power. Who would be better qualified to inform creatures who are limited in understanding and moral character than the infinite God who created them? Surely His wisdom is far superior to ours and although He is indeed mighter than we shall ever be, His credentials for informing us of what is right and wrong flow not primarily from His infinite power but rather from His infinite knowledge and perfect moral purity. We would do well to listen to Him. God (I am talking about the God of the Bible here, not the god of one's own understanding or definition) is by definition Holy, Right and Good. These things cannot be defined or have meaning apart from the Creator of the universe. --HSDad 17:41, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Everything that God supposedly tells us to do in books like Leviticus are the very same kinds of rules that the leaders of a society would come up with to best survive. "God says" not to lie with with the same sex, because you can't get children and proliferate the society unless you procreate with the opposite sex. Same goes for lying, stealing, killing, etc. Those 'morals' are made for a primitive society that has to struggle to survive and are mostly irrelevant. For example, I'm sure all here have disobeyed at least some of God's morals he set down for us. Have you ever:
  • Eaten bacon, pork, or ham? (And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.)
  • Owned or used a mule? (Do not mate different kinds of animals.)
  • Grown more than one plant in a field or garden? (Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.)
  • Worn polyester or any synthetic fabric? (Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.)
  • Shaved your sideburns or trimmed your beard? (Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.)
  • Stolen or lied?
  • Married or attended the marriage of a non-virgin? (If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.)
  • Gotten divorced and remarried? (He [Jesus] answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.")
  • Had a brother who died with no children and not married his widow? ("Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother.")
Quite obviously, these morals set for us by God are terribly outdated. This leads me to believe that anyone who answers 'no' here is a hypocrite, since they are obviously not following ALL of God's morals, or else they would be in jail for disobeying society's morals, such as not stoning women to death because they had sex before marriage. Hargrimm 23:14, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

^What I don't understand is why you are talking rules out of only the bible also there is deeper meaning in every saying and you are definetly interpreting it the wrong way. You must take rules from all 4 books which are Bible, Quran, Torah, and Zabur. Ofcourse, I myself have only read 2 of the 4. Aside from that debating on this will not let you know what the truth is infact it just makes arguments and you wont know the truth until you die. People can say god exists or he doesnt exists but thats just your opinion is it not?

In the absence of God's morality, what incentive does a man have to do anything other than that which gratifies himself? Why should anyone care about the good of the community?--BenjaminS 17:11, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Examine the golden rule and you will see some form of it in almost every religion and philosophy from Aboriginal beliefs to Zoroastrianism. Life is not necessarily defined by personal hedonism. --Mtur 17:25, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
It doesn't take much intellect to realize that that which benefits the community benefits the members of that community. Including your straw man hedonist. Myk 17:33, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


I don't believe in god but I still believe everyone should be a good person no matter what. Just because god doesn't exist doesn't mean anything. You shoudl treat others how you want to be treated. What goes around comes around. AtheistKathryn 20:46, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

But how can you know what "good" is without God? Anything else is just something made by a flawed human being. A perfect moral code can only be created by God. ~ SharonS Talk! 20:49, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
If you wish to take that stance, one could argue then how could man be imperfect? One of the biggest criticisms of Plato's forms was that imperfect cannot be derived from true perfection (an absolutely perfect being cannot create imperfection, it's not in their nature), thus if God is truly perfect, then humans must be perfect, yet Christians argue that is not the case. ColinRtalk 04:59, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

I do not recognize the existence of god. I do however have morals, thanks to Aesop, the legitimate father of morals. --TrueGrit 23:17, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Assume God does not exist, and that my parents, me and all the other religious folks are simply wrong. Since there is no way to prove the non-existence of God, the (by assumption, falsely) religious amongst us still have a code that they follow that they regard as "morality." Rather than being derived from God, that moral code likely was derived either from other men or possibly arose as a result of certain fundamental qualities of mankind as social beings (social "animals" I suppose). If that were the origin of morality, would the resulting rules no longer be "morality." It's a semantic game at that point, but I'd have to say that, in substance, there would still be rules of conduct that we would each choose to follow. In such a world though, I fear that the moral relativists would be right to assert that no particular morality has any primacy. --JesusSaves 03:15, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

there is no such thing as a perfect moral code. a moral code works only for the society that it was formulated for, however all moral codes across the world contain the same basic structure which must be in place for humans to live as a society. wanton killing of other members would lead to a breakdown in society as would stealing, adultery and other activities that reduce the trust of other members of the community. this is fairly solid proof that morals come from societies in general and that god has no say in the matter. these basic rules of society again come into play when animals coexist, wolf packs, tribes of chimpanzees and gorillas, schools of fish, and many other examples. if anyone wishes for a longer, more convincing argument on this subject, i recommend 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins, chapters 6 and 7. --Bolly Ottihw 21:21, 17 April 2007 (EDT)

In the assumption that god does exist and that he did write our moral code (i.e the ten commandments) then how is it people defy these codes on a common occurance. This would suggest that us as people aren't relyant on god to dictate our morals then it would be natual to assume that you cold have morals without god. --concretemuncher

Yes, there can be morality without the existence of god. The logical interpetations of laws based on universal maxims shows logical proof that specific acts (bound by duties) are immoral on the basis that, when applied to a universal status, logically self-defeat themselves. I'm basically reprising Kant here - I'm surprised that this concept came up without at least mentioning Kant once. Granted, I don't necessarily think Kant is the best moral system, and wonder whether there CAN be a perfect moral theory, however it does provide the framework that a morality can exist based on the rules of logic and reason, and thus one can (in theory anyway) conceive moral maxims based on their logical propositions. Royalcrown 10:02, 5 November 2007 (EST)

"Why have morals?" I ask this question, not because I think morality is pointless, but because morality is not a universally recognized value and is thus not an inherent value. It is a subsidiary value, leading to something else. I have heard people state that without God, might makes right. Does the existence of God change that? As I mentioned, not everyone has the same concept of morality; from this one might assume that the lack of a universal and objective moral observer would lead to each individual choosing his/her own definition of morality. This is flawed. For the sake of argument, lets assume that God exists and is a perfect entity. This, however, does not account for the imperfection of man. God may have his word, but will every single human interpret that word in the same way? Consider this scenario: You hear a voice that you are absolutely certain is the word of God, but it tells you to commit horrible atrocities (im not saying that God is evil, this is hypothetical, cool off). Would you carry out the will of God, or would you side with your personal moral conflict? The latter debunks the argument that God defines morality, because you obviously have some conception of morality that you consider superior to the word of God. If you answered with the former...welcome to Al-Qaeda. 9/11 was the result of men who were absolutely certain that God willed them to slaughter thousands of innocent individuals. For them, God defined morality. Who are we to say that our perception of God's will is superior to anyone else's? None of this is to say that morality is invalid, ultimately subjective, or pointless. Nor is it to say that the belief in God negates the belief in morality. Personally, I like morality. I think our social structure needs moral fiber to maintain stability and the equitable distribution of happiness. But that's just it: we need morality, not because we require divine favor, but because happiness is the universal and inherent value for which morality exists to serve. Every action we do is instinctively geared towards increasing happiness (this is admittedly a complex conjecture, and, if you want more details, I suggest John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. It's a good read:) The atrocities of 9/11 were immoral, not because they were against God's will, but because they're result was a massive net loss of happiness (pain and suffering). If god does not exist, can anything be morally wrong? Absolutely. --Theroamingfoot 23:52, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Immorality can be found even in non-Christian societies. Anthropology has proven that there is a taboo on acts such as incest and murder even without Western or prominent religion. [User:Tegan]

It is possible to consider morality as a characteristic of a culture. The definition being a standard of conduct that helps the culture to operate with minimal conflict. In small groups it leads to rules like "dont kill Fred, because Fred fishes and we all like fish, so leave Fred alone" or "Fred hasnt caught a fish in a month , so lets eat Fred instead ! ". Many moral codes are ultimately pro-survival of the group. Markr 12:57, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Yes, i think that my position to an extent has been set out by others i accept morality as a function which must be assessed on a case by case basis, and which is achieved to a much greater extent by personal questioning and rational inquiry rather than by blind acceptance of rules. Much greater evil has been achieved by obedience rather than rebellion. Think about it, the Nazi regime survived for so long because people obeyed blindly and didn't think for themselves, the horrors which came about by Stalin was because of blind acceptance, same as the horrors contained in the old testament of the bible (see especially the books of exodus/Leviticus with every second person seemingly being put to death, not to mention wars etc throughout the whole of old testament (assuming them to be true - which is highly questionable)and the crusades etc etc etc. Morality exists for numerous reasons without god: the common good, personal benefit- what goes around tends to come around-, rational reality (i.e. there is no need to inflict unnecessary pain on others because you have felt pain and it is unpleasant, therefore there would be no reason for you to do that, assuming the person is not a sadist)etc etc..also see utilitarianism and kants work on ethics.. I am really more concerned with morality being assumed to exist within the context of a christian god who tortures or lets his children be tortured for an unending amount of time because they didn't want to hang out with him or didn't know he was there (was he absent) for a limited amount of time. Not to mention the fact that morality coming from god (which is what the question suggests) denies absolute morality because whatever god feels like calling "good" is therefore good, showing that morality from a christian standpoint is in fact subjective being based upon Gods whims/rationale. Maybe this is best summed up by considering an imaginary position, imagine that God comes to the conclusion that child molestation is good and must be carried out making it "moral" by christian standards, however we know that this is clearly not moral and not beneficial to anyone involved, however christians would be obliged to obey. Or how about something closer to home like killing someone for trimming their beard. This is contained within the bible and is clearly not moral. The real question i suppose is "If (the christian) god does exist (and is the measure of morality), can anything be morally wrong?"

Questioning the Question

If God does not exist, then all material in the bible, all theology and all material written by an army of believers is of highly dubious origin. At the very least it is 'informed speculation'; at its worst it is dangerous nonsense. That could (but does not have to) potentially mean that all 'morality' derived from a fear of hell, damnation and/or a vengeful god is invalid, and therefore irrelevant or even subversive. Many of our 'Rights and wrongs' are derived from this belief system, and our morality is the code which encapsulates the 'rights' (as opposed to the 'wrongs'). The 10 Commandments for example are an encoding of such values, which appear to rely for their validity and upon their enforcement upon a belief in an aggressive and vindictive deity.

However, there are alternatives. Humanists also derive moral codes without the need for a supporting deity. Transhumanists who believe that after a technological singularity has occured, human beings will transcend the form that we currently inhabit, are intensely concerned with ethical issues. God is nowhere in these debates; they are all about how we have a responsibility to the universe, the earth and our fellow creatures, both now and in the future. This is not about being 'right' or 'wrong', it is pragmatism and it is the responsible use of intellect and the application of prudence and common sense.

This means that morality based purely on a belief in God is highly fragile, for if someone chooses NOT to believe in God, their moral code fractures and they can basically behave with impunity. In medieval times where theological & scientific understanding of the world was in the hands of a few, and the horizons of the common people were limited, and the idea of God was an understandable extrapolation of the patriarchal system of family and local government, a god-based morality might have worked extremely well.However, a simple belief in a universal God in a world where we are citizens of a global community with different sets of core beliefs, different religions and therefore different moral codes, does not work at all, and, it can be argued leads to the very situation we find ourselves in today, with disillusioned sections of society who do not accept conventional moral and ethical norms of behaviour.

--CatWatcher 17:44, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Part of the reason for a moral code is simply to be able to function as a society. With no moral code whatsoever, our future as a race would be radically limited. Even without a biblical code to adhere to, we would have most likely developed a set of rules (do not kill each other, steal, etc) otherwise there would be none of the co-operation required for us to survive as a species. As a race, we are so inter-dependant on each other (for example, even the most powerful need people to work to provide food for them) that some basic morals are required so as we can co-exist and ensure our survival. --Fingermouse 17:28, 10 April 2007 (EDT)


Morals are clearly man-made. They change with the times. Six years ago, the idea that Americans would torture people would have been morally abborent to us. Now we don't blink an eye We cheer for more, like the Romans at the coluseum

Common Good

So then as your own deity you can transform morality to fit your own worldview? You also seem to say there is no right or wrong to base common sense on. Then as a Humanist you can create your own morality to whatever you feel will benefit your universe. I would question where you feel responsibility toward something greater, such as the universe, while at the same time rejecting something else greater than yourself that is acknowledged by your fellow creatures.--Roopilots6 19:38, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

No man or woman is an island. There is society, and there is consensus. Whatever makes society work, and perform its functions will be an effective moral code. Different societies will do it differently. It is not an individual choice. Look at it this way. In England we drive on the left; all other European countries drive on the right. This is purely convention and is completely arbitrary, but we do it to allow traffic to flow smoothly. It is also convention that we do not murder, pillage and rape. However, there are (and have been) occasions where moral codes have allowed these. In war we are allowed to murder people. Pillaging was a common event in historic times: the Romans, Greeks, the Vikings all engaged in it. Rape was a feature of life in medieval England; at one time the Lord of the Manor had the right to sleep with any new bride. All of these people had gods, and their behaviour was condoned by their theology. The fact is that some theologies (such as that of the Aztec's) required murder. Abraham was quite willing to kill his son, because he expected his god to require a sacrifice.

Morality = the set of conventions which allow a particular society to operate, that's all. --CatWatcher 20:04, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Of course?

Anyone can come up with a moral code. The problem is that since its source is only human then it will subject to anyone wanting to change it. Inalienable rights will no longer exist since they merely come from people who will give or take them away whenever it's politically beneficial to whomever is in charge at the time. That would not be good for morale, would it? But of course, the question begins with the word if. If you are a godless individual then morality will be something you can change whenever it will benefit your behavior. A person who acknowledges God will not be able to play free and loose with morality set in stone. So then, who would you tend to trust your children with?--Roopilots6 19:20, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

I think I would trust my children with people who I know and have grown to trust, regardless of whence came their morals. Myk 19:44, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Anyone can come up with a moral code, and many do. However, society invents moral codes for its effective functioning and continued survival. It is not in our collective interest to have murder, mayhem and thievery rife. We need at least a consensus of behaviour from most people to have society function effectively, and in the main the moral code is devised to do just that. However, there are some biblical moral codes, such as 'an eye for an eye', which we have dispensed with because they are now deemed inappropriate. To kill a member of someone's family because one of their family has killed one of yours may have worked in biblical times, but not in today's society, where families are nuclear, and the code would end up destroying two families. Even the bible recognised this, when it was superseded by 'turn the other cheek'. Moral codes need to change according to circumstance and need. If there is an absolute code, backed up by a deity, things can never change, because there is always some sacred text which is held inalienable. A hard & fast code tied to a supreme deity also runs the risk of subversive re-interpretation of the code by deviants with vested interests (witness the re-interpretations of the Q'uran by radical scholars). We have seen how this can happen, and should not think that it is impossible to happen in the West. The existence of the US is testament to the fact that there were radically different interpretations of biblical moral codes in the 16th & 17th Centuries. In reality whatever moral code exists, and whatever its basis it will always be coloured with political expediency.--CatWatcher 19:46, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
So you say that you would do away with having inalienable rights? Just because people have their own liberal interpretations of moral codes negates their usefullness? --Roopilots6 20:16, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
You keep on bringing up inalienable rights? What do inalienable rights have to do with God? One can believe in the inalienable rights of freedom of expression and self determination without acknowledging God. Myk 20:37, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


"Inalienable" (or "unalienable") is a term in English common law. Property rights were alienable (could be sold) or inalienable (could only be inherited). Inalienable here simply means something which is taken to be fundamental, and therefore unquestionable. The concept of inalienable rights was criticized by Jeremy Bentham and Edmund Burke as groundlesss. claiming that rights arise from the actions of government, or evolve from tradition, and that neither of these can provide anything inalienable. In the piece above I was pointing out that some people hold their sacred texts to be unalienable, that is they cannot be questioned. This is a very bad thing, especially where sacred texts are in conflict with one another, as it denies discussion and negotiation. --CatWatcher 04:34, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
It can be argued that those who accept Christianity are far more dangerous in straying from their morals than others, since any sin (aside from blasphemy) is forgivable. This, in effect, grants Christians a free pass to do whatever as long as they ask for forgiveness. I know the common responses, that repentance means making an effort not to commit such sins again, that Christians should want to live like Jesus and try not to sin, etc., but the fact remains that Christianity gives its followers the right to do almost anything they please. ColinRtalk 04:57, 5 April 2007 (EDT)


But not only Christians - any religion can be guilty of this. Look at the way that radical Islam has subverted the Q'uran to its own ends. It is the presupposition that there is a text 'revealed by God' which is the problem. By the very nature of language and human development, words change meaning over time, we constantly interpret and re-interpret. What words mean to one generation, may mean something completely different to another. The word 'gay' used to mean, light, jolly and carefree. 'Groggy' was a description of a course-grained material (grossgrain), not a state of semiconsciousness. If you suppose that a deity has revealed to you a text for all time, then because words change in meaning, it is clear that each generation will, by necessity, be forced into creating their own meanings from that text. This is where the danger lies. Let us assume that the 'revealed' word is the word of God. It is absolutly clear that not all re-interpreters of the code do, or even in principle ever could, agree; many are in conflict with each other, and some appear to be in direct contravention of the fundamental tenets of their faith. How can an ordinary person possibly be expected to decide what is right and what is wrong in this maelstrom? The fact is that we don't; moral codes are informed by, but not dictated by, religious beliefs. Moral codes are basically human social constructions, and are shared understandings of what is required to live peaceably, and ensure the continued survivial of our genes and memes into the next generation. A believer might claim that their 'god' has inspired them to do this, and I can't argue with that, as it is their belief. However, that does not explain why atheists, pagans and other non-monotheists would choose to live their lives according to the same shared moral codes as them. --CatWatcher 05:24, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Christianity does not give its followers the right to do almost anything they please. Nor do Christians have a free pass to do whatever. Anyone that hides behind a label they think will protect them from harm are mistaken. Chances are that they have abandoned all morality their religion requires of them. It seems that everyone here lives in some sort of Christianized society here. So that when the God word is invoked only the Christians are thought of. The Inalienable rights of morality that are common to all such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness don't need to come from God. You can let those things be given or taken at the pleasure of your local autocratic official by invoking the common good. Since there is no such thing as a moral right or wrong. When people are unable to discriminate between good or evil they will not recognise any moral wrong. A Humanist doesn't recognize any higher authority and may change the morality at their pleasure, whatever that may be. From the 1st Humanist Manifesto to the Amsterdam Declaration. The Christian can't do this since their original texts don't change. If you're a Humanist, what moral rights do you have that are guaranteed permanent? Or considered to be inalienable that won't be changed with a subsequent manifesto?--Roopilots6 12:27, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
For the love of all that is good and decent, now you're saying a humanist can't recognize good and evil? These are not concepts that require a God! You are slandering large portions of the world population.
  • Humanists can change their morals at a whim
  • Humanists can't recognize good and evil
It's a shame your concept of God-given morals doesn't include one about civil behavior. Mine does, and my morals don't come from God. Funny how that works out. Myk 12:34, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Right, but it's all right when Christianity is being slandered here. I don't object to different viewpoints, even incorrect ones, without accusations of slander. I'm being as civil as anyone else on this. If you are a Humanist, you still haven't answered my question. It's an honest question? But if you won't then yes it would funny indeed.--Roopilots6 16:02, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, no, it's not all right for Christianity to be slandered. You have made too points which are deeply offensive to people and aren't true. That's slander and it is uncivil. As for your question, please define "moral rights" and I'll give it a swing. Myk 16:17, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Human rights are basically moral rights. But how do you claim to derive these rights from? I claim inalienable moral rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness being endowed upon me by my Creator. Freedom of speech and religion as well as the right to defend oneself would be moral and human individual rights. Are yours from God or an institution? If from God then they can't be taken away by others. If from an institution such as a government then they can be taken away in an instant. What is the guarantor of your rights that are human and moral? If God doesn't exist then moral rights and wrongs can be considered relative to the whim of those in authority over others. So that an individuals morality of right and wrong will be rendered meaningless. Savvy?--Roopilots6 19:06, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I derive those rights based on a couple things. The fact that, in general, my fellow man knows that the benefit of the community is to his benefit as well. And, failing that, that my fellow man knows that if he denies those rights to someone, that those rights will be denied him.
More importantly, morals are not rights. They are responsibilities. They are the responsibility of everyone that lives in a community.
And while the Declaration of Independence, which acknowledges a creator, enumerates those rights in a general way, it also dictatates that: to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. And that it is the Constitution of the United States, which does not mention a creator, which delineates and enforces those rights. Both documents, of course, are products of the Enlightenment. You should learn about the Enlightenment. Myk 23:19, 5 April 2007 (EDT)


If you consider this hypothetical you will be committing the unforgivable sin. You will not be able to take back this mistake so for the sake of you immortal soal do not go any further.Rebiu 14:33, 6 April 2007 (EDT)


Yes

Ever heard of "treat others as you want them to treat you"? In other words don't do things that you know will hurt people. Sounds like a damn good moral code to me, and it's universal as well.

Jesus even said something like that, but you don't have to be religious to live by this rule.

Middle Man

I totally agree. Jesus said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (I'm not a Christian and I don't believe God exists, but that doesn't mean that I can find nothing of value in the Bible). This idea is part of all major religions, and is equally at home in secular thought. --Beanbag 15:51, 15 June 2007 (EDT)

Does morality exist, in the Christian, Biblical sense, that certain things are good because God tells us they are good, or does God tell us to do things because they are good? If God did not exist, would we still believe that it is wrong to take something that is not yours, or to kidnap and torture someone? I believe that the answer is a resounding "yes." I have never read the Bible. Before this year, I had never attended church. Yet somehow, I have managed to be a fairly good person, with stronger ethics and a better head on my shoulders than most of the people I have met at church. How can this be? The answer is simple. I derived my moral code from my good sense of how the world -- being what it is -- works, and what is beneficial or harmful to humans -- being what they are. The Bible and other religious works can be used as guidelines for living a good life, but I don't believe that any of them are inerrant. Humans, in general, have a degree of consciousness and intellect that allows them to make judgments on a moral statement, i.e., whether it is true and useful. Now, it's all well and good to say that we have the ability to make those kinds of judgments, but to whom, if anyone, do we owe responsibility? Well, as self-aware beings who feel emotions such as fear, happiness, sadness, and pity, and who live in communities and socities, we have an obligation both to ourselves and others. We are obligated to take care of ourselves and to live a good life, and we are obligated -- to the best of our ability -- to others to ensure that they have what is necessary to live a good life. Sorry if that was rambling an incoherent... I usually shy away from debates, so I'm not accustomed to proper debating style. :) Anyway... discuss. GrandSoviet 13:53, 29 June 2007 (EDT) i think that if the bible was the one true moral authority (and God being omnipotent) then empathy would not exist, because it would be unnecessary and humans would just do as the bible instructed without having conflict. Since that is obviously not the case Christianity cannot have its cake and eat it too. Ultimately i believe that this all goes back to the concept that Good isn't Good without Bad. If bad things did not occur then good would just be the way things are. I think that the argument that its a test from God has become recognized as ludicrous. superstudent12:31, 9 October 2008

I'm a materialistic atheist and thought it might be interesting to point out how science can address all the issues on this page. Yes, I believe morals are real and exist even if you claim God as a typical conservative might define him is not real. They are created by natural materialistic mechanical properties of the universe we live in. They exist, and are created on at least 3 different levels which are each important in their own way to us. They all tie back to the all important question at the heart of this issue which is what is right, and where does it come from? The simple conservative answer it that it comes from God. I think that answer is actually correct even though I'm a atheist because I translate the classic definition of God into one which is consistent with my scientific knowledge. Which brings me to the top level source of all morality. That's Evolution and survival. To me, the universe is my God (not the first cause of the universe, but simply the entire universe as it exists and has it has always existed). And that God created me by the process of evolution. And that God instilled in me, a desire to survive - a purpose of surviving. I care, because I was built by a process (my God's work) that designed me to care about my survival. I am around, because I am part of something that has manged to survive - which includes both the human race (all people), and the entire ecosystem of the earth that supports us, and the rest of life here. We do what we are built to do, and we are built to survive as part of this ecosystem we exist in. All forms of morality, and all questions of what is right, ultimately have grown out of this top level process that exists in the universe and which created us. But, as is well documented in other parts of Conservapedia - creating a morality based on survival can lead to great evil. So how can I justify that survival is the source of all morality? The great evil emerges when the idea of survival is used to justify great selfishness. That's where the mistake is made. Humans can not survive by being selfish. Hitler is the poster boy for failure to understand that his best odds of survival, was not created by his great selfishness (kill all jews just because he didn't like Jews). He died, alone, in his bunker, with most the world hating him, for having made such a huge error. The true powers of evolution killed him for his mistake. I would say God killed him for his mistake. But that is only the top level of morality. Moving on, I have to introduce the next level. That level is created by the way the human brain works. Humans are reinforcement learning machines. These types of machines have an internal generated reward signal that creates the machines personal motivations. This hardware, which was built into us by the process of evolution, is what creates our personal needs, motivations, and drives. It is what forces us to run from the things that cause us pain, and seek out the things that cause us pleasure. It's what love is - the desire we all have to seek that which causes us pleasure and that which helps us avoid pain. The very long and slow process of evolution, adjusts in humans, what our base motivations are - what we naturally love and hate. What base motivations we have, in general, exist in us, because they have worked over the eons to keep the human species alive. Not just to keep the individual alive, but to keep the human race as a whole alive, and to keep our selfish genes alive. So though with our ability to reason, and do science, we have uncovered that our desires grow from the top level need of survival, what really motivates each of us individually, is not survival directly, but instead, the built-in drives that happen to have been created in us by our genetic heritage. Most humans have very similar drives and motivations. We hate to not have food, to not be able to sleep, to be too cold, to be too hot, to have our body damaged, we like sex, and many smells, and the taste of many foods - all because these desires are built into us at birth. But we are not all the same. Some people have a few innate likes, and dislikes, that are different - and even hard to understand - like homosexuality. Is homosexuality bad for survival? Clearly, if all humans had such a drive, the human race would die off in a few generations, and that would be counter to the need to survive. But we don't fully understand why some people are born with this drive. A answer that could be quite simple, is that it's genetically difficult to build into the sexual drives needed for survival, while never getting the "programming" wrong and misdirecting that drive to the same sex, instead of to the opposite sex. In other words, as long as the drive is towards the opposite in the majority of people, the fact that our genetic system of reproduction produces a same-sex drive at times is mostly harmless. The needs to have a sexual drive, and the need to have variation in reproduction, might be far more important to the survival of our species, than the need to not have some percentage of the population turn out to be homosexual. But what we can speculate, is that since it's here in such numbers, it exists for some reason, which is beneficial for our survival as a species. But all this is simply pointing out that though our high level purpose is survival, each of our brains are built with a far simpler purpose - which is to serve the innate desires and drives which are genetically built into us. When those innate drives make us do things that work well at surviving, our innate drives tend to be passed on to future generations. When our innate drives fail to keep us alive - which is what happens when someone eats themselves to death at an early age - the simple process of evolution works to prune those drives from our population. As individuals, we are slaves to our innate drives, far more so than we are slaves to the our God and the process of survival that created us. So what is "Right" for an individual, is really defined by what innate drives they have genetically built into them. We say, people must follow their heart. This really means that people must follow their own innate drives - if not, they will never be happy. But if your individual drives are at odds with the views of the society you live in, life will always be difficult for you. Finding personal happiness will be hard. Which brings us to the third level of morality - and the one that's really the most important here in Conservapedia. The human brain is not just limited to dealing, and serving it's innate drives. The human brain is a learning machine that has very strong adaptive powers. It adapts to the environment it is placed in. That's the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate. A very important part of that adaptation, is the way we learn secondary reinforcers. We _learn_ what we need to love, and hate, in order to best serve our prime innate motivations. This learning is not a choice we have - it's not part of our free will as we might say. It happens automatically whether we like it or not. It's a subconscious effect that exists in us. We learn to love our family because of what they have done for us - such as feeding and protecting us for years as we grew up. Our subconscious learns what we must do to protect the things we love. If we grow up in a family that rejects anyone that doesn't go to church, we too learn to love going to church - because the act protects our standing in our family - which is so important to our prime needs. Though we might have such thoughts at the conscious level where we debate such things with ourselves using the logic and language - the real work happens subconsciously shaping our secondary motivations without our awareness of it happening. It just does. We absorb the beliefs of the people that have been (and which we believe will continue to be) important to us. These beliefs become almost as important to us, as our innate prime motivations. And they form the third and most important level of morals. They are in fact, the best description of our morals - they are our prime beliefs that guide our decisions and actions in life. These beliefs are not the beliefs that are genetically created in us by evolution, but instead, the beliefs we learn from our society. A typical religion is filled with these sorts of learned beliefs about what is right and wrong and Conservapedia is filled with these beliefs - beliefs that are so important to a large set of people, that it motivated them to create Conservapedia. The ultimate answer to what is a "good" belief, and what is a "bad" belief all ties back to what helps us as a person, as a race, and as an ecosystem, survive. The answers are seldom easy. But one simple way to find "good" answers, is the way evolution finds them - by the test of time. The longer a belief can survive, the better it must be for helping survival. Our beliefs are subject to the same forces of evolution that our genes are. Good beliefs help people survive - who then share them with their friends and family - who survive to pass them on. We can roughly measure the power and value of a moral belief, by its age. Religions beliefs tend to be very old. And that age is the proof of their value. They are beliefs that have helped many people survive - they are here today - because of their survival value. There are many beliefs from the Bible however that haven't survived into our modern times. Times change, and beliefs that once worked to help survival in the past, can stop working as society changes. But religion in general is still going strong, and though some of that can be explained as momentum (good ideas from the past can take a long time to die out after their value fades) most of what survives has to be seen as "good" simply because it has survived - it's passed the ultimate test of time (so far). Why a given belief is good, is often too complex for us to really fully understand (I could say God's ways our beyond our understanding and be consistent with my definition of God). So to sum all this up. Yes, morals are real whether or not you choose to believe in a first-cause God. They are created by the process of evolution acting on three different levels. The top level being the pure survival of the fittest. The second level, is the innate drives built into us by our genetics - which themselves evolve by the forces of evolution. And the third level, our learned behaviors - our beliefs - our memes - passed from human to human (our memes) which also live, and die, based on their powers of survival, and more important, their ability to help _us_ survive as individuals, as societies, as a race, and as an living ecosystem here on earth. What we each chose for our own morals are not so important in the grand scale of things. But if we choose the wrong ones, we will each have to answer to our own God. CurtW 7 December 2009

Morality Would Be Redefined

Under atheism, "morals" could exist, but than being defined as what is "right" or "wrong" according to a source of objective truth, "morals" under atheism would be something akin to "keeping the peace" or "a pleasant or peaceful society for all of mankind", and may or may not be moral relativism. This could include a communist government, which considers democratically-run industries an end to greed and poverty, or a libertarian government, in which you can practice your personal beliefs but not force them on others. While there is no God according to atheism, and no system of right or wrong, an atheist society can focus on what is needed to keep the peace and call it "right" and anything contrary to peace can be called "wrong". Thus atheists can believe in "morality", but the term would have to be redefined. -danq 17:37, 10 January 2011 (EST)

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