Without god there is no morality?
Posted: Posted March 25th, 2017
Edited March 25th, 2017 by Louis De Pointe du Lac
I believe the issue between a god and the existence of morality can be summed up in an age old question asked by Socrates:
Is something good because god says its good, or does god say something is good because it is?
If you believe the former then morality is defined simply as the will of a god. So in this case it is indeed true that morality cannot exist without one. This can be called the transcendence perspective where morality comes from something higher than our world.
If you believe the latter then you see morality as a separate phenomenon from god. One that he may be attuned to but still does not need him to exist. This can be called the immanence perspective where morality is a set of principles inherent to the fabric of existence not unlike the laws of physics.
Now in order for morality to hold weight on either side there would have to be benefits to abiding by it. The source of these benefits in the transcendence view would obviously be god in the form of his rewards and punishments. In the immanence view the source would be nature in that good is naturally preferable to evil in much the same way intelligence is naturally preferable to stupidity.
In any case if your going to assume there is such a thing as objective morality, I think both sides have their interesting points. Also the fact that people are still asking Socrates's question today says something good about their standing power.
Now I myself am not an objective moralist, but even if I were this is why I would still find the assumption that there is no morality without god premature. The immanence belief seems to be every bit as arguable as the transcendence belief. It's just that immanence morality has a different kind of anatomy.
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