Morality

For my first of what is bound to be a series of controversial posts, I am going to talk about morality. My sincere desire is not to offend here, but I will not hold back either. For many years I have been troubled by the problem of morality. As a Christian, I was taught that morality was a natural set of laws handed down by God, made inherent within us (Natural Law). This idea has been a cornerstone in traditional Western thought for a long time. Following 31 years in the church, 26 of those as an evangelical fundamentalist, I am weary of it. This idea that without God there is no reason to be good will be this week’s topic.

“Without God, a person has no moral compass, no reason to be good.” Do you know what this says? It says that the person making the argument believes humanity to be inherently bad. It says that they do not believe that empathy and a willing of the common good has been necessary for our survival as a species over many millennia to the point where it is now instinctual. Adopting moral behaviour so we can reap the benefit of eternal paradise and avoid the punishment of eternal hellfire dismisses the fact that we already employ moral behaviour because it is what best suits our societal needs … not to mention other implications.

What miserable, cowardly, irrational, violent, evil, and disgusting creatures we would have to be if this were true. If the reason to be moral and good is none other than to gain access to heaven, then humanity has no hope; for the belief that we are despicable and morally bankrupt without the acceptance of a benevolent creator removes any good point in living at all. What bondage, and what an immoral nature the Christian God must have. When children misbehave, a rational thinking parent does not set them on fire. Just as the disobedient act had a beginning and an end, so does the punishment (ie: grounded for a week). I want nothing to do with a group that worships a being who says “you didn’t believe in me or agree with what I said, so you get to burn for all of eternity.” Fortunately for all of us, there is no evidence that this God is anything more than an aberration of the human psyche.

I realize that that statement may be read as terribly offensive, but let’s be honest. The point of faith is to accept something as factual in the absence of evidence. (Taking a tack from the late Christopher Hitchens, I must say that I feel as though it would be rather unpleasant if the Christian God were to exist.)

You may read this and call me a bully for attacking people while I should just let them go about their lives and believe whatever they want. After all, they are doing no harm to me, right? Wrong. While non-believers the world over are met with vitriol, discrimination, and contempt from the religious community, the return of that sentiment here in my words is more than appropriate. What audacity to shove ones beliefs down the throats of others and go on the offensive at the mere mention that those beliefs may be considered untrue. What audacity to accuse non-believers of arrogance and narrow-mindedness while at the same time refusing to engage in anything resembling a two-sided conversation. Finally, what audacity to accuse a person of having no morals just because they do not take God on faith. Let me remind you, that although atheists like Stalin and Mao murdered millions, they did not do so in the name of atheism. Many, however, have been murdered in the name of God.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Morality

  1. Josh;
    “When children misbehave, a rational thinking parent does not set them on fire. Just as the disobedient act had a beginning and an end, so does the punishment” – I like this.

    But… I have trouble with you referring to God as an aberration of the human psyche… Because a belief in God isn’t at all a deviation from normal. In fact, to call it such is quite offensive to those who do hold beliefs in God (or other deities). Do you feel that a belief in God should be classified as a psychiatric disorder, such as a fugue state or depression?

    I know where you stand on the issue, and you know where I stand, so it’s not an argument of who is right… Just an issue of remembering that there are other view points 🙂

    Besides, people who believe in God don’t always adopt moral behaviour just because they don’t want to go to hell.. Sometimes we do it because it’s the right thing to do for the species as a whole.

    • Megan:

      I generally will not engage in comments, but I will make an exception in this case. I identified the offensive nature of that remark in the post. What I mean by aberration is a defect in focus, such as blurring in an image. Aberrations of the human psyche are common, in no way did I say they were deviations from normal, or somehow psychiatric disorders. Supernatural beliefs such as the belief in ghosts and spirits, in short things that require belief without evidence, are aberrations. They exist independent of known reality (ie: a child’s belief in Santa Clause). They do not imply any sort of psychiatric condition.

      In no way did I deny other viewpoints, and I think you missed the point. The point I made is that morality does not require God. Your last statement re-iterated that. Morality does not come from a God because the reasons for it do not require one. If you do what is right because it’s beneficial for the species as a whole, you have done it absent of a moral code sent from God. You may not believe in God’s Natural Law, but most Christians do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s