If your moral code requires God then you do not have a moral code
If human beings are nothing more than very advanced animals, well — there’s no such thing as “morality” with animals. At best, there may be some activities that they have instinctive aversions to, but you certainly can’t say a Wolf that kills its own pups or a cat that toys with a mouse before he kills it is doing anything morally wrong.
I guess I should preface this by saying I do believe in a creator/creative force God and I do believe that it’s hard to deny that there is a current in existence towards the good. This is exactly why I find this point to be so vapid. There are clear selfish incentives towards being good, right here, right now, and all a moral code requires is an understanding of what’s good, why it’s good, and why it’s important to live according to that code, and none of those things rely on a conceptualization of a personified or semi-personified God.
The logic behind my moral code is this: regardless of whether there is an afterlife our time in this life is limited. This defines the supply. My creative and productive potential defines the demand. As a product of which my life has a clear, definable value (and considering how great the creative and productive potential in everyone and how limited the supply of the life of each individual is, the value of each person’s life is quite considerable). As I involuntarily spend this value as time passes, if I’m not getting value in exchange I’m getting screwed. As I can control whether I get value out of my days, I am presented with the choice of whether or not I’m going to get bilked in this deal. This is why it’s important to live according to my moral code.
More specifically, the charge is to think. We are not animals because we have minds, the ability to overrule our instincts with reason and rational behavior. As I understand it, the idea of the soul is just an attempt at explaining who am I, the person behind the controls of my body. Subsequently, I don’t believe in souls. I believe in the mind. My mind, not some ghost inhabiting my body, is how I identify value and morality, my mind is where all of the thoughts and feelings and actions that define me originated, and it’s my choice to use my mind over my feelings and base animal instincts that makes me a moral person in line with my moral code. My only moral absolute is that no one should ever sacrifice his or her mind to anyone, to themselves, or to the passage of time. The value given up needs to be exchanged for like value.
Note that at no point was God a necessary premise of anything, and yet the moral code is objective.
What’s disturbing about the perspective that God is a necessary premise of non-subjective morality is that it sees morality as being even worse than subjective, it sees it as being arbitrarily forced on us. Think about the logic behind this point of view. If it turns out that there is no God (as they understand it), then all morality is subjective, which is another way of saying they see God’s moral code as being objectively baseless. Subsequently they see morality as a baseless code arbitrarily forced on them by an external force with the threat of the worst torture anyone can imagine.
What’s worse is that they see morality as meaning surrendering their minds and acting against their objective judgment. If you think that without God morality is subjective, you believe that the moral code is not rooted in observable world. Subsequently you believe that you have to take things into account that you can’t know or understand which overrule the conclusions you would otherwise make based on your observations. So instead of using your mind and following your own judgment, you’re supposed to surrender your mind and judgment to others (most of whom admittedly rely on far from objectively reliable sources).
This means they see morality as actively imposing immorality by crushing the thing that separates humans from animals. And that’s pretty messed up.
I think that this moral perspective does an injustice to God and to Christianity. God gave everyone a life and a mind, and we’re wasting our lives and minds because some dude told us that that’s what God wanted us to do? Let’s think about this for a second. God creates us, gives us minds that enable us to do amazing things bringing glory to God’s creation, and then forces an objectively meritless arbitrary moral code with the threat of eternal torture? Because he love us?! If you saw parents who saw their kid built a skyscraper and responded by being pissed off he wasn’t sitting around feeling bad about himself, would you consider them to be good parents, or even non-sociopaths? This is how these people see their God.
That’s not how I see God. I do not see God a person. I see God as a creative force that made existence exist when there was nothing. I think everything is part of one thing, which is God/existence. I see God as loving us and giving us more than we will ever comprehend, and I see it as being a proverbial slap in the face of the Lord to not enjoy, understand and make use of all of the things God has given us to the best of our ability. It’s not the reason I think it’s wrong to live that way, but it still strikes me as bogus, to say the least.
- No Moral Code Without God? (godlessblogger.com)
- The Stupid! It Burns! (moral edition) (barefootbum.blogspot.com)
- Morality: ‘We can send religion to the scrap heap’ (newscientist.com)
- The Science of Good and Evil (thedailybeast.com)