Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 2015: Questions on morality

Is religion or a belief in God required for morality?
Is a person who believes in God more moral because of that belief?

Click through to explore these concepts and more with the questions for June...

  1. If people can just forgive other people without requiring anyone to die, why can't God?
    1. Perhaps you are thinking God is or requires perfection and thus there needed to be atonement via blood. There are several issues with this:
      1. According to the Bible, God invented the concept of blood atonement. There is no indication that any of this is a logical requirement and no reasoning that would lead to such a conclusion. Indeed other "perfect" gods have been invented that do not have this requirement.
        For what it's worth, God apparently also invented humans and the concept of sin, so it does all seem a bit rigged up front if I'm honest.
        In case you're not aware, it is commonly known that Christianity tries to convince people they are sick in order to sell them the "cure".
      2. If God is perfect, wouldn't that be more reason for him to be able to forgive without requiring others to suffer?
        Or in other words, if we followed God's example and required something or someone to die before we forgave someone, would that be more moral or less moral than just forgiving them?
      3. Is it fair for a perfect being to create imperfect beings and then judge/penalise them for being imperfect?
      4. If God cannot look upon sin, how or why did he create sin, or the conditions for it?
        For a God who is apparently so intolerant of imperfection, it certainly appears that he created (or was influential in creating) a lot of it.
  2. If someone does good because of a "fear of God", or because of a promise of a reward, how is that morally good?
    1. Isn't that just obedience?
      Morality involves some form of moral agency, which means we need to be able to make moral decisions on our own. If we instead derive our morality solely from God, we would instead be merely deferring any moral decisions to "God" and would not be acting as moral agents ourselves.
  3. Wouldn't it be much better to do good simply because it's the right thing to do, without expectation of reward or fear of punishment?
  4. Are good things good because God declares them to be good? or does God declare them good because they are already independently good?
    1. If the former, then presumably God could declare murder and rape to be good and that would make those things morally good. It also makes the concept of 'good' meaningless and arbitrary.
    2. If the latter, then God is not required for a moral standard, since goodness can be defined independently of God.
  5. Is it morally right for a human or animal to suffer for the sins of another?
    1. If so, why?
    2. If not, why is the Bible full of examples of this, with the major one being Jesus?

In case it is not clear, where I refer to God I am simply referring to the concept of God as (not very well) defined within Christianity / Christadelphianism, in order to point out inconsistencies or inadequacies with the concept.

I personally hold the position that if there is a being worthy of the title "God" it has not yet been detected in any meaningful and reliable way and perhaps cannot be detected, and would thus be entirely irrelevant to human existence. Many people claim to be walking, talking, "god-detectors", but so far no one has ever demonstrated such an ability under controlled scientific conditions. When other claims fail these same conditions, we label them fraudulent, and false. Why are people so hesitant to do the same for the god claims?