Religion says that God is the reason morality, as in justice and love, exists.  So if you say there is no God you may be moral but you have NO reason to believe in being moral.  NO.  NONE.

We are going to evaluate that argument.

The NO-NONE is very harsh and extreme.  If you say there is no God you may be moral but you have no clear or concrete reason to believe in being moral is not the same as saying you have no reason to be good at all.  The person who cannot give a good reason for saving the drowning child is a moral person period as long as they discern that the reason they have is enough.

The NO-NONE is blackmail and is not moral.   God belief is blackmail for if God is God he is the God of morality which forces you to dig your heels in and shout that NO-NONE. 

If you assert the NO-NONE then why are you not taking responsibility when an atheist listens to you and does moral harm for you demoralised him?  Religion if it really believed it would tell the atheist, "We forbid you to advocate morality to others.  You are a manipulative controlling hypocrite even if you don't see it and hypocrisy is a terrible evil."

Moral arguments for God make bad assumptions

One assumption is that morality is all that matters or comes first.  It does not matter one whit when the avalanche is about to fall on you and kill you.  The physical comes first and is more real than any moral value.

Moral is a summary word for honesty, love and justice etc.

Religion says there is no justice without truth.  And that justice and love need to be there together.  And that it all fits.

But what if we had to choose between a virus that turned justice off and one that turned love off?  Well as religion says love is about respecting a person's dignity, justice then commands love. There can be no love without justice.  So justice has to be chosen.  It will be a horrible result but you cannot win and who wants to love child abusers the same as doting parents?

A perfect God of love and justice then is ridiculous.  The hypothetical is not a brain experiment but shows what we are like and what is in us even if it is untapped.  Morality is separate from God if you can erase love and affirm fairness and should.  God cannot be perfect if one virtue can go and God has it.  It goes for it is not as important.

The next assumption is that God is all that matters or comes first.

So which is it? 

They answer both.  They argue that the two, God and morality, are really the same thing.

The fact that our psychology cannot see a personal relationship with God as a personal relationship with morality is sidestepped. 

The argument is only for hypocrites. Rather than godly, the argument is an idol. God is an idol for believers need the argument and its lies in order to imagine they believe.
Believers in God say that "if there is no God then everything is permitted.  If people did not believe in a God who values only the right things they would not have any reason to be moral. Not having God to decide or discover what is moral, means you will end up with a DIY moral code. It will be self-interested, inconsistent, fluid and subjective at best. And even then it is still bad and potentially even more deadly."

That is easily answered. 

# They could say that if there is a God everything is still permitted! If there is no God there is only permission in a rough sense so it would be permitted in the full sense if there were a God like that.   If there is no God to permit then how can we say everything is permitted if there is no God?  Permit implies a God is letting you do it.  You can say, "Everything is permitted and also not permitted.  Permitted is meaningless.  Just do whatever, I do not care."That shows that morality is not as important as we say even if there is a God.

# A God has the power to make sure your murdering turns out to be for the best after all.

# If we make up our codes that does not mean they have to be mostly manipulative!  We prefer people to be competent and fairly manipulative to people being incompetent and not manipulative.

# The argument is threatening.  How can you have a morality that you are threatened into?  Morality should be about spontaneous goodness!  The moral argument descends into moral chaos that is in denial about how useless and harmful it is.

The Moral Argument for God

Who gets to decide if something is moral, immoral or neither (neutral)? Man or God? Or neither?

One way to state the moral argument for God is that to be a consistent atheist or sceptic about God, one must affirm that the child abusers and terrorists of this world do not really do anything 'wrong'. If there is no God then there is no objective truth about the good and the bad - there is only opinion about what is right or wrong.

But look at that carefully. Belief in a God who grounds or is the source of objective morality does nothing to stop the problem in practice. If it deals with it, then it deals with it in theory only.  And not in action or practice.

If God is the mathematician that does not necessarily mean that man can do maths as well. Maths then would only be any good to God personally but no good to anybody else and everybody else has to make do with opinions about calculations. One person thinks 2 and 2 is 4.5 and another thinks it is something else.  A moral God may not be relevant to those of us who want to be moral or thought to be.

Many today believe that we cannot really know what is good or bad or even if they are real.  One can have all the opinions about them one wants but they remain just opinions.  It is possible to argue that one can only opine about what is right or wrong in any situation while still holding that good and bad are real. If you have opinions about the weather it does not follow that you think the weather is whatever you want it to be or think it is. No the opposite follows. You are searching for objective truth about the weather - it might be in the wrong way but you are searching. If our assessments of actions that are good and bad are opinions or feelings, they are still attempts to find objective moral truth.

Trying to ground morality in God is trying to get away from the fact that we are stuck with an attempt at objective morality whether we have a faith in God or not.  Why not just say as long as you try it does not matter how?  If you can do it without God then trying to involve God looks silly and unnecessary.

If you say for example that sacrificing babies to statues of Molech is neither right or wrong you are saying the person condemning it is unjust and unloving.  See the point?  You can distort what morality says but you cannot turn your justice and love function off.  Plus your fear of and hate for the person who condemns something you want affirmed such as murdering your enemies will still arise.  You will morally judge them.

So where does morality come from?  Us?  You can say that.  You are forced to treat 1 and 1 as 2 though in a sense that comes from us.

It comes from the universe we may say.  We are part of the universe.

But it does not come from a God or need a God or want a God. 

The moral sense or faculty is there involuntarily and what we do with it is up to us.  Morality if it is based on love and justice asks to be freely embraced.  But that is not what we have.  We have something that in an undignified fashion we have, we just have it.  Thus in that sense morality is not of supreme importance but is a necessary evil in how it involves force.

Deep down, people know all that but they don't trust others with morality and suspect their perception of objective morality can be skewed and twisted. So they hope to bring God into it to manipulate people to have largely the same view and approach to morality as themselvs. If you take your morals from your version of God and other people follow that version that should open the door to people being in agreement.

Real morality is about the intrinsic value of the person - it does not matter if you believe in God or not. You will value and that is all that counts. You cannot avoid doing it. Trying to say human value has to come from faith is just bigoted and in fact downgrading the human being even if it does not look that way.

If the moral value of an action comes from outside it, then it is not intrinsic to the act. God has to force the act of hitting a baby for fun to be wrong. But will that work? No - if it is not wrong cannot really be made wrong. And it makes a victim of the perpetrator for it cannot be done without the threat of punishment.  

And a morality that is about forcing and punishing in that way is gibberish. Human nature does not want a morality that forces.  If you force somebody to be fair they remain unfair as persons.
Do not try to ground morality in God for it cannot be done. The God-belief is a danger to our standards of right and wrong.  We are blind to how much harm this has done.  It is a contagion.  Any side issue like only robs us of how good we can be.  We lose the focus a bit and we suffer and others suffer.  God-belief is an intrinsic danger - and it has bad results too. Those who say it is essential to believe in God before one can believe in any of these standards are lying for there is nothing on this page that hasn’t been constantly said to the Church by its critics over the centuries. Belief in God is bad for us therefore to promote the belief is bad.
If good is independent of belief in God then no big deal should be made of God by believers. It would mean that good is good whether there is a God or not. If nothing at all existed it would be good that there is nobody to suffer.  And it would be bad that there is nobody to be happy.  We have enough trouble trying to work out right and wrong without religion adding to the difficulties and making a laughing stock of our efforts. And what about the wars over religion and how God is to be served?

If your value is to feed the poor that is good. If it won't become your value unless you believe in a God who commands it then there is something wrong.

You shouldn't need a belief as a crutch to give you the value. It means you don't value it at all but have to find a way to imagine that you do. What happens when the scales fall off your eyes? The belief is made more important than the value. Yet reason says a belief cannot be more important than liking to help the poor.

So we see what is happening is believers in God are reasoning, "Morality is all that matters in the end.  God is that which matters and must matter to us totally.  Therefore God and morality can be treated as virtually the same."  This does not work and a vicious circle like that is really just a lie so whatever it gives us it is not morality.
Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch Publications, East Sussex, 1995
The Future of Atheism, Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett, Robert B Stewart, SPCK, London , 2008
Ethics: The Fundamentals, Julia Driver, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2007


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