Morality – Is God Needed?

A while ago I shared a post from Cross Examined titled “There’s No Need to Apologize.” Someone had left some comments addressing different parts of the article. This post is the final post of a series where I’m addressing an individual’s comments.

The individual’s comment is:

“Positing a God solves no problems of explaining morality”

Out of all the comments that he has had, I think this one is the hardest to understand why he said this. It’s like saying, “Positing physics solves no problems of explaining gravity.” Physics is exactly what explains the force of gravity. Whereas God is exactly what explains the existence of morality.

But first – what is morality? Morality, or morals, are beliefs that can be considered “right” or “wrong.” It could also be understood as discussing the rightness or wrongness of any particular behavior. Morals do not address “good” and “bad.” “This taco is good,” is not a moral statement. “Helping the poor is the right thing to do,” is a moral statement.

There’s a well-known argument to explain this truth. It’s called the Moral Argument. The argument addresses moral values and duties, but since the individual didn’t comment on the part of moral duties, I won’t either.

  1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

What this argument does NOT say is that people cannot act morally unless they believe in God. People who believe in God can absolutely be moral (sometimes more moral than Christians). That notion is a non sequitur that’s used to claim that the argument says something that it doesn’t say. Atheists use this tactic to get off the point and claim that Christians are calling the atheists immoral. The argument only says that objective moral values and duties cannot exist without the existence of God.

So, to tackle the first premise: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

The atheist may say that God isn’t needed for objective moral values to exist. But if objective morals exist apart from God, then why, then, do they exist? Some may say they don’t, but that’s Premise 2.

Some might say that morals exist, but not objectively. But there are two questions that come up with that argument. First, why does appear that they are universal (they exist worldwide)? (More on this in Premise 2) And second, whose morals are correct? For instance, you may think killing is morally reprehensible, but I may think it’s morally admissible. Who is correct?

As soon as you claim that you are right, then you are stating that there is an objective moral standard to which everyone should abide by. You and you alone have decided how everyone else ought to live.

Some might say that society should define their moral standards. But you’re faced with a similar problem as before: Whose society? Again, as soon as you defend that one particular society has better morality, you’re declaring an objective moral standard that you think everyone else should live by.

Some might argue that objective morality is a result of evolution. But if it were a result of evolution, why should we live by our current morals? If the next evolutionary stage produces the new and improved morality, why should we believe that the morality we live by right now is the best? Right now we believe that we shouldn’t kill humans, but what if a more evolved species landed on Earth and believed that it was okay to kill humans? If a more evolved, human-killing species actually did on Earth, would we sit back and say “Oh, well they’re more evolved than us and their morality is superior to ours. Therefore we submit ourselves to our own demise.” Of course not! We would fight back because we believe that murder is morally wrong.

No matter how you go about it, morality without God doesn’t explain why objective morality exists.

On to premise two: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Let’s face it: Everyone believes that objective moral values and duties exist.

There isn’t anyone on the planet who thinks murder is okay. In other words, nobody would say “Murder is permissible under any circumstance.” They may believe murder is permissible and justifiable under specific circumstances, but it’s wrong for every circumstance. For example, Adolf Hitler thought it was okay to murder millions of people, whether they were Jews or political enemies. However, he didn’t think it was okay for someone to murder him. That’s why he was always surrounded by security, always wore a 10-pound bullet-proof hat, and had a bunker that was 10 stories below ground. Likewise, cannibals don’t even believe that it’s okay to murder. Even though they’re cannibals, they don’t cannibalize their own tribe. Whether they don’t do it because they’re related or because they know their tribe could disappear, they recognize that it’s wrong.

On September 11, 2001, the world watched in disbelief as hijackers crashed passenger airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and attempted to hit another target. Someone deep inside everyone in the world said that these events are objectively wrong. The only people that this didn’t shock was the group that sent the hijackers. Yet that group still thinks killing is wrong because they think it’s wrong to kill them!

This belief is spread universally across our world. It supersedes and is independent of:

  • Culture – Murder is wrong regardless of where you live in the world.
  • Ethnicity – Murder is wrong regardless of the color of your skin or your family ancestry.
  • Religion – Murder is wrong regardless if you’re an atheist, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.
  • Location – Murder is wrong on land, in water, in the sky, on Earth, on Mars, etc.
  • And time – Murder has always been wrong in the past and it’s reasonable to believe it will always be wrong in the future.

Since they’re universal, they’re objective. Therefore objective morals exist.

Conclusion: God exists.

Interpreting morality without God doesn’t explain why morals exist. In explaining why they exist apart from God, we’re faced with whose morality ought to be followed because everyone’s is different. As soon as we state whose morality exists, we declare superiority over all of humanity and dictate that everyone should follow what we say is right.

So when you try to explain morality apart from God, all you do is set yourself up in God’s place. But in doing so, you admit that the existence of morality demands the existence of God. You may think you’re God, but you’re not.

Therefore, God exists.

Look for the other posts:

Something from Nothing

The Importance of Value

Random Process

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