You know how it goes, without God (or Allah and all the rest) how can the individual have an understanding of right and wrong?
It goes a little deeper than that, but for this particular discussion, that’s about as far in as we need to drill.
My question is as follows, is there such a thing, and if so, do we actually need it?
Right then, some religionists (for want of a better word) would have you believe that without God, or Gods, in your life, then there is nothing to stop you from being the biggest, baddest bastard you want to be. But if you have faith in a higher being, then you have an ideal to aspire to. Their reasoning being that God being the omniscient, omnibenevolent, onmipresent, omnipotent bloke that he is, must by definition have absolute morality. God exists therefore so does absolute morality.
So… God is perfect? Really? There’s only one thing I can say to that.
Perfection is an unattainable ideal. There is always room for improvement. And anyway, God can’t be perfect as shown by the famous paradox. You know the one:
“What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Or to put it another way:
“Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot move it?”
You see? Both yes and no to this question shows that God isn’t omnipotent and therefore imperfect. So why would we be expected to believe that any moral code based on him is perfect either?
Morality isn’t a matter of absolutes anyway, it can’t be, it can only be a matter of degree and circumstance. For instance, if I were to ask you whether it’s right or wrong to steal, I’m sure most of you would say no, it isn’t.
And what if I asked you if you were okay with murder.
Again, I would surmise that most of you will say no to that as well.But what if I qualified those questions?
- Is it morally acceptable to steal… If you have a starving child and no other means of getting food?
- Is it morally acceptable to murder someone… If they are an immediate deadly threat to your (or a loved one’s) life?n
Not quite so cut and dried now eh?
Having said that, I’m sure most of us would agree that theft, murder and other such crimes are generally immoral acts, there can be a need to measure the consequences of the act against the possible consequences of not acting. And no, I am not going to go into apologia for rape, paedophilia, etc. These are crimes which we can all agree are monstrous. But that’s by the by, we are talking about absolute morality which in general usage isn’t the same as absolute immorality.
Humans are imperfect, we can all agree on that I hope, regardless of our religious stance. But we all (or at least most of us) agree that needless violence, greed and cruelty are wrong. That’s right! Even us Atheists aren’t into murder/rape parties every weekend.
We are, each and every one of us, a product of our environment and upbringing.
I was raised as an Atheist, but the moral code instilled in me by the thoughtful guidance of my parents, schooling and even some of my peers has, I believe, allowed me to grow into the the good and decent man that I like to think I am. Not perfect, but simply the best I can be. My moral compass may not be perfect, but now, here, today it is good enough for me.
God has never figured into the equation and neither has his alleged absolute morality.
I don’t need it…