Morality Without God

I came across an argument on the internet the other day that stated that Morals could not exist without a God.

The idea being that Morality is intrinsically tied to Religion because of the authority of God.

I’m not going to argue the benefits of religion, atheism, or anything in between. Let’s stick to morals.

Merriam-Webster defines Morality as, “beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior” and defines ethics as, “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad”

There is also the philosophical discipline of Ethics witch, “deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior: a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong”

It’s extremely easy to get lost in a doctorate level of research into Ethics and Moral Reasoning. Let’s stick to a derivative definition that says Morality is the beliefs about what is right and wrong and Ethics are the rules around right and wrong.

Where do morals come from?

  • If morality is the purview of God than it should be unchanging and perfect.
  • If it’s the purview of man, morality is in constant flux.

One of the statements above is false.

Yep. Good job, it’s the first one. I don’t care what your stance on God is, humanity is flawed and it’s humanity that interprets God’s theoretical Morality.

It could even be argued that the changes in what we see as Right and Wrong are due to our own faults and not God’s.

If we take God out of the equation we have to assume that either Morals have a evolutionary survival benefit, or a societal benefit.

So that means that Morals come from one of two places:

  • Humanities interpretation of God’s morals, or
  • Humanities ideals on what is best for ourselves and each other

Either way Morality is the domain of humanity. Either we decide for ourselves or interpret God, the end is the same; Humanity chooses.

Aren’t Morals set in Stone?

No, and consider yourself lucky. The morals of the past included all kinds of crazy things. At several points in history it was considered Right to own people. It was proper to cut off genitals to protect royalty. In the days of the Witch Hunts you could be killed for being single and attractive.

Morals vary from society to society. What is considered Right for some is considered disgusting by others. We don’t eat Cats, Dogs, or Horses but in some societies that is considered ok. Stop to think logically and figure out why a Cat or Dog is morally superior to a chicken, pig, or cow.

But everyone in my society has the same morals

Nope! Ask a friend who’s a proud vegetarian and then go talk to someone who’s a proud carnivore and tell me everyone in your society has the same morals.

Conclusion

Morals can exist without God. It’s up to us to think about what is Right and Wrong and not just accept what someone else says.

Doubt and critical thinking are the best friends of Morals. Always think how your actions affect others and how they affect the world.

If we all do this we’ll live on a much better planet.

What are your thoughts of Morality?

Éric

 

Sharing is awesome!

1 thought on “Morality Without God”

  1. Although I don’t believe in any gods I believe morality “ages” with a society. Consider a child and a hot stove. The child is told to keep well away in case of a problem and because they may hurt themselves by accident. The child can’t understand the finer complications of rules thus they are applied on a universal level. As the child ages the risks go down and the awareness of the child increases to a point where they start cooking.

    Society works much the same way. Let’s take premarital sex which is an activity most of us have engaged in. If you go back 100 years sex before marriage is quite rightly shamed! Without the benefit of birth control, condoms or antibiotics permiscuous sex holds numerous life long consequences ranging from children to disfigurement to death. Hence the application of a universal rule “no marriage = no sex!”

    As our society “aged” we now have birth control which mitigate children and condoms to safeguard disease and as a second contraceptive. Should those fail many STIs can be treated with drugs making the risk minimal and we have solutions should condoms and birth control fail. Compare to a century ago sex has moved from risky behavior to a reasonably safe endevour if undertaken correctly. Like the child with the stove a universal rule is no longer necessary rather they can be replaced by a series of safety guidelines.

    Our morality can evolve and reflect that paradigm shift.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.