Reasons for God: Morality

I think one fundamental truth in this universe that lead me to God was morality. The fact is that I am an absolute moralist. Even as an atheist/agnostic, I so wanted to be a relativist, but deep down I knew and accepted that some actions are always wrong, independent of culture or upbringing. And it was this realization that lead me to find God.

You will hear atheists claim that you don't need God to be moral, and that much is true. What many atheists refuse to address, at least in my experience is how they can claim one morality is superior then the other, by what objective basis is their morality better then someone elses. Similarly they don't address the fact that most people are absolute moralists anyway, thereby necessitating God.

This is how absolute morality necessitates God. If someone believes some acts are evil, as in always and absolute evil, like *bleep* or cold blooded murder, then they assume good and evil exists, and they are capable of distinguishing between them. The belief that evil exists, basically that some acts are absolutely evil or morally wrong, is only a consequence of absolute morality, and the only way to have absolute morality, is if there exists an absolute moral authority...ie God. Absolute morality, absolute evil, absolute wrong can only exist if there is an absolute authority to impose this absolute moral law. If the authority wasn't absolute, if he was temporal, then morality would be temporal, and not absolute. If there is no absolute moral law giver, then absolute evil doesn't exist. In which case, sometimes its morally OK to *bleep* or kill or steal.

There is no way around this. The only way some acts are always wrong, is if an absolute moral law giver exists to impose absolute morality onto us. If there is no absolute moral law giver, there is no absolute moral law. We are then subject to relativism, where all morals are equal by virtue of the fact that no human being exists in any manner that is superior to any other human. We sure like to believe we are better then someone else, we sure would like to believe that our morals are better then someone else, but that is all based on values, which is all opinion, and your opinion is not objective basis, its an opinion, and its personal, and is in no manner better then the opinion of someone else.

Very few people actually believe that sometimes, or in some cultures *bleep* is morally right, or that cold blooded murder is morally right. I have met a few that would claim this, but they are a minority. Most people accept that some actions against other humans are just always wrong, and in doing so, necessitate God whether they understand it or not.

god morality atheist morals other musingsthoughts

Responses (14)

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finalfight Mar 30, 12
You are right in saying that only through God, or a being like a god, can we be sure that we have moral laws that are absolute. This is not possible by humans, because there is always a bias. As history has well shown.

However if we are to believe in an absolute morality, which I do, it does not need God to exist. It needs him to be understood and properly enforced, but true right and wrong would exist either way.

The sad truth is, (from my perspective as a non-believer), that humans will forever remain in the dark on this matter. We can try to define some sort of moral system, but the best we can ever hope to achieve is a system that puts all people at ease with it. This sucks, but just because reality sucks is not enough for me to look for some other answer.

I respect that having God there as a justification for your views on right and wrong is relieving considering the alternative, but I do not believe that it is enough to definitively say "God must exist."

It feels almost petty asking this, but what is the absolute moral law handed down to us by God? It seems as though opinions among the Christian faith are rather diverse on some matters. Even with God's existence providing a guaranteed absolute morality, how can you be sure your version of the faith is the correct one?
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silverboner Mar 30, 12
There is no "true" right and wrong without God. Without an absolute moral law giver, relativism is the only thing that which can exist.

And my argument isn't that God must exist, its that people necessitate God by a belief in absolute morality (or absolute truth of morality). Absolute moral law cannot exist without an absolute moral law "giver".

I never said God handed down an absolute morality. Though I think we can be sure of some absolutes. Like stealing, cold blooded murder, premarital sex, adultery, and idolatry. What differing moral absolutes do you think exists between Christians? Example?
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finalfight Mar 31, 12
Premarital sex perhaps doesn't belong with the likes of stealing and cold blooded murder, but that isn't the issue at hand.

Issues like Contraception, Homosexuality, Abortion, Drug use, the Death Penalty, and Euthanasia all have denominations that support or oppose them. And these are just the bigger issues, there are a myriad of smaller issues that the different groups disagree about. There are dozens of these groups, and their existence is proof enough that they are practicing different beliefs, even if their differences are small.

Simply saying that God serves as an absolute moral law "giver" doesn't cleanly present us with a clear path of right and wrong. If God doesn't personally inform you of this moral law, then Christians are not much better off than non-believers in finding it.

Also, I am not entirely following your logic with a belief in absolute morality necessitating a belief in God. I understand that without God, or some equivalent, it is unknowable. How though, does this make its existence impossible? It seems to me that God's existence has no impact on what is or isn't moral. His purpose is to inform us of these things.
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silverboner Apr 2, 12
I am not sure why you think any disagreement between Christians is relevant. Many of those issues are pretty clear in the Bible. The few that are not strictly laid out, may not be absolutes or they can be derived from other absolutes or other accepted characteristics of God.

You are right though, that God's law doesn't dictate out everything in nice and easy terms of right and wrong. But to claim Christians aren't much better off in finding it, is ridiculous...assuming the Bible is God's word.

I didn't argue that a belief in absolute morality necessitates a belief in God. Just that a belief in absolute morality necessitates an absolute moral law giver. I am more then positive there are atheists and agnostics our there that have beliefs in absolute morals, that do not believe in an absolute God. But such is irrational, illogical, and its purely a lack of fore-thought or simply denial that they don't then also accept the necessity of an absolute moral law giver.

You are still under the erroneous idea, that absolute morals are independent of God's existence. There can be no absolute morals unless there exists an absolute being. God is not simply there to tell us about these things, that would imply that absolute morals exist without God, and that is nonsense.
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Mastix Apr 30, 12
I think you're wrong on the count of God being able to grant moral absolutes. Morality derives from the values held by a subject. They are therefor "subject"ive. Objects don't hold values intrinsically, they receive them from subjects. God, I don't think anyone can deny, is a subject. He is an actor, not a passive object. His values are no less subjective than ours are, in the strictest sense of the term. What he has, should he exist, is absolute authority. Not objective morality. But that would make him no more than supreme dictator. It wouldn't make him capable of dictating the moral axioms of a society.
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silverboner May 1, 12
I am not sure what claim you think that I made is wrong. I never said God's morality was objective. I just simply pointed out that for absolute moral law to exist, and absolute moral law giver must also exist. God very well may be a relativist, but I am unaware of any argument that would illustrate His relativism translates to a relativistic moral law for us. If God instills an absolute moral law, independent of us, independent of culture and upbringing and society, and it exists independent of us, as far as we are concerned it exists objectively, and doesn't qualify as relativism.

I agree with you that morals stem from value, and nothing has intrinsic value. Which is why I I leave open the possibility that God could be a relativist. However, if God applies the same rules to everyone, absolutely, then as far as we are concerned its an objective morality. I don't know of any way to argue that its relative. Maybe you can enlighten me?

There is one completely naturalistic philosophy that attempts to establish objective morality from inherent characteristics of humanity. If their argument holds, then such an argument applies to God as He would have created objective morality by creating inherent characteristics within humanity. Personally I think their arguments still have at least some basis in value, and so I would argue its still subjective, and cannot be objective, but that is my disagreement with that particular philosophical argument.
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Mastix May 1, 12
I think that "absolute" is seen as an opposite to "relative," at least philosophically. They're exclusive terms. I suppose if you interpret absolute as "transcendent" as opposed to "necessary" then I'd agree with you. I interpreted absolute to mean "necessarily so," which could be synonymous with objectivity. But if you take it to mean "transcendent" then you're argument is begging the question and simultaneously erecting a straw man. You're begging the question because "absolute as transcendent" already contains "God" in the definition (God is nigh interchangeable with transcendent). It's a straw man because you're basically saying that some atheists desire to prove this sort of absolute morality. I don't think they do or need to.

"I don't know of any way to argue that its relative. Maybe you can enlighten me?"

I'm not sure what you mean by this. It seems to me that "as far as we are concerned its an objective morality" already implies that its relative in actuality. "Treating it as objective" is not the same as "being objective." You'll have to explain that to me.

I think we're on the same page that morality is relative insofar as it varies based on what the person (or Divine being) in question values. But if you agree with me there, I don't feel like you've sufficiently toppled any atheist propositions. I feel like you're suggesting that "because an atheist can't establish absolute morality, he cannot state his values are better than anyone else's, therefor he needs God." But even if that holds, that doesn't prove God's existence. It just means that you need God to justify your morals as superior. Nothing more. It'd be like saying you need the Earth to be flat to sail off the edge of it. That statement is true, but it doesn't mean the Earth is flat.

In any case, I don't think an intelligent atheist believes his/her morals are superior. They defend their morality out of necessity; because they wouldn't want to live in a different moral framework. (That's actually not fair-- "atheist" has no content to it other than "lacking belief in God". It doesn't describe any beliefs about morality and could run the gamut of moral philosophies.) This means that they might want to convince others of their values. But that depends on rhetoric, not fact. Being convincing has little to do with objectivity. Being objective is sometimes convincing, but not necessarily. As a pragmatist all I want to do is to justify my beliefs pragmatically. In other words, that they get the results I desire. So my framework for convincing another person of the veracity of my moral beliefs is the results they get. This prevents me from ever believing them to be the True or Best moral values. There's no argument from authority.
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silverboner May 1, 12
When I am talking about "absolute" I am talking about it in the context of morality. Thus absolute means that morality doesn't change from culture to culture or from society to society or from context to context. Many atheists and non-atheists alike would claim actions like cold blooded murder or *bleep* is absolutely wrong. That is what I mean by absolute. So does that mean "transcendent" or "necessarily so"? It could be either depending on who is making what claim. However, and this is what is important, neither interpretation is necessary for my point.

And I NEVER claimed that atheists are trying to prove something so I have no idea why you think I am building that strawman. Again, my point, which remains unchallenged is that to invoke absolute moral laws, an absolute moral law giver is necessary. That is true whether you are a Christian, Jew, Atheist, Theist, Deist, or Agnostic.

As far as the difference between "treating it as objective" and actual objectivity, in many other cases I would agree with you, but here, I do not know of an argument that makes God's laws equally applied to everyone to be relative. Ignoring the many different claims as to what objectivity means, the most general concept is that it exists independent of the mind. Ignoring the arguments of "what exists", physical truths exists like brick walls, trucks, the speed of light, water, strong and weak nuclear forces. There are lots of things that exist independent of what we think or how we think of them. Some things do not exist independent of our minds, like value, human rights, justice, and some mathematical constructs.

If God imposes an absolute moral law, onto us, such a law is no different then a brick wall, the speed of light or properties of water. And that is why its equivalent to "true objectivity". From our perspective there is no difference between the speed of light and God's absolute moral law, as both exist independent of our minds and are quite simply put, just a fact of existence. If you think you can develop some argument that makes a moral law absolutely applied to everyone relative, then I would be open to it. But the only way I know how to do that, is to eliminate all objectivity, which is meaningless (and self contradictory).

If I am going to believe that an absolute moral law is relative, then I would have to believe gravity is relative, that strong and nuclear forces are relative, that brick walls are relative. And that is not a very useful perspective.

And I was never proving God's existence, only that one necessitates God's existence through declarations of absolute moral law. That was the main point of my blog entry. That doesn't prove God exists, its just noting that any appeal to absolute morals requires the existence of God or at least a god.
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moocoweatsfire Dec 3, 12
The belief that evil exists, basically that some acts are absolutely evil or morally wrong, is only a consequence of absolute morality, and the only way to have absolute morality, is if there exists an absolute moral authority...ie God.
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Sorry, this is where you lost me. What exactly is ABSOLUTE moral authority? I thought morals were defined by social norms, the interactions, experiences we have as humans. Our morality is a result of our biological evolutionary history. You use the example of *bleep*/murder as universal for evil and thus define 'absolute' based on this premise. Yes it is evil, yes humans should be able to differentiate from evil & good. But why should be labeled as God's absolute moral law? Morals can't be absolute - as they are constructed by humans, as we've developed throughout history.

The only thing close to absolute I can think is; is the declaration of human rights, but again; even said concept is man made and can vary from one culture to another; therefore it is relative. We can all (humans) come to understanding that this is the best moral contract to go for, but that doesn't make it absolute. Thus the allusion to morals requires a social forum/media, not the existence of a god - and there can be no such thing as absolute morality. Because morality is not absolute and can never be, the term absolute morality is a fallacy and undoes your argument.

Thus the term absolute moral authority in your context doesn't justify the necessity for a God ... it is just meaningless zealotry.
Last edited by moocoweatsfire :: Dec 4, 12
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silverboner Dec 4, 12
Absolute morals, are morals that do not change with time, culture, or circumstances.

An absolute moral cannot exist unless its given/enforced by an absolute moral being (which is thus an absolute moral authority, since an absolute moral stems from this being). If morals cannot be absolute, as you claim, then *bleep* and murder aren't really evil, they just happen to be the flavor of the month so to speak. Some other culture or time period might have them as righteous actions. And in fact, *bleep* your wife 150 years ago wasn't really wrong, it was a husbands right. So they cannot be evil if some culture thinks they are right.

You cannot claim that some action is absolutely wrong without invoking an absolute authority. You are not an absolute being, thus what ever you say is wrong, is merely only wrong for as long as you live. Absolute morals are wrong whether you exist, whether humanity exists, and continue to exist long past any one person or culture.

You cannot tell me *bleep* and murder is evil, and then claim that morals aren't absolute. They are only deemed wrong for as long as we agree, but in a different society like Rwanda Genocide, murdering some people was deemed right. You can't tell me it was wrong or that they were wrong because your opinion cannot weigh more then theirs.

So I ask you, are there things that you believe are absolutely wrong, no matter the culture, society, laws or time period? If you can think of ONE action that is always morally wrong, *bleep*, cold blooded murder, child abuse, stealing, lying, genocide, racism, ect...then you are adhering to moral absolutes which can only exist if a moral absolute law giver exists. And that moral absolute law giver has to be an absolute being, who's morals don't changing in time, otherwise the morals are just as temporal as humanities morals.
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moocoweatsfire Dec 4, 12
"You cannot tell me *bleep* and murder is evil, and then claim that morals aren't absolute. They are only deemed wrong for as long as we agree, but in a different society like Rwanda Genocide, murdering some people was deemed right. You can't tell me it was wrong or that they were wrong because your opinion cannot weigh more then theirs."
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This paragraph makes no sense at all mate. Yes I can tell you that x,y,z was wrong, but that is MY opinion - I don't value my opinion or hold my opinion higher than others. All humans are equal in value, however, the values and morals that they uphold differ.

" And that moral absolute law giver has to be an absolute being, who's morals don't changing in time"
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That absolute being is YOU - not anyone/anything else, it is you. You determine what you believe in, what you value, what you wish to uphold. No one else. Your morals and virtues are shaped by your experiences, your interactions with society and the environment around you. These morals are absolute - ONLY TO YOU; not anyone else. So if you're claiming that morals are absolute, yes they are, but only on an individual level. But if you're claiming that morals are absolute amongst humans; then I'm sorry, but that is simply a fallacy.
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silverboner Dec 4, 12
If you aren't going to make a claim that some acts are always wrong, then you do not invoke God. If you accept that your ideas of morality are not absolute, then you are one of the few that do not invoke an absolute moral being. But its pretty sad that you would accept that its OK for some people to *bleep* and murder and commit genocide. Accepting that your opinion is just that and is not any higher then others, then you have to accept that *bleep* and genocide are perfectly righteous for others, since their opinion is the same worth as yours, and they are as equally valid and moral. You can claim that their ideas of morality are not yours, but you have no basis to argue that they are wrong. They are as right as you are right. Thus, *bleep* or genocide, or cold blooded murder is OK for some people to commit, and those are morally righteous actions, as long as that is their opinion.

But no human is an absolute being nor can they have absolute morals. You live for 10, or 20 or 80 years and die. That is a temporal being, with temporal morals. They aren't absolute even to you because you are not absolute. Redefining absolute to apply to a temporal being is making the word absolutely useless as you have now contradicted its essential meaning, not to mention in a conversation about absolute morals, its confusing. T
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D-G Jan 2, 13
There is no such thing as absolute morality. Nothing is "absolutely wrong", it's just that some things are wrong in the opinion of just about everyone.

Generally speaking the majority decides what everyone considers to be right or wrong.
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Supernouva Jan 12, 13
And that's why the majority fails to see the corruption that occurs in every facet of society, and why society is gripped in fear, which will ultimately result in chaos.
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