I am seeing some extremist Christians claim that all morals come from God, and specifically their God, or Jesus. They say that morals have to come from somewhere, since otherwise there would be no Absolute Truth and if there weren’t, nothing would be good or evil. Agreed, there have to be some universal values that all people in their right minds would subscribe to. Relativism is a difficult issue for philosophers today to deal with. I try to call on people’s conscience and their moral values to see that things like killing are wrong. Don’t we all hold a framework of values, though heavily influenced by our education and experience?
If morality came from God, then each and every Christian (or Muslim or whatever) would be perfectly moral and each and every non-believer would be a total sinner. Not just because non-belief is a sin, but because he or she couldn’t possibly know any morals. Then, I’d conclude that all non-believers are killers, thieves, sexual offenders, and everything else considered immoral. As a non-believer – well, I’m an Idealist philosophically and virtually all Idealists believe in some Absolute Spirit, but not as in one particular religion -, I tend to disagree.
If ethics originated from God, and only those that claim allegiance to this God are truly moral, further, how can one know that this is true? There are so many religions in the world, so how do we know which one has the right morals? A conservative Christian I’ve been debating with, comes up with the reasoning that Jesus is worshipped by 1.9 billion people, that the Bible is the bestseller of the world, and that our calendar is based on Christianity. However, this is only because Christians were successful at missionary work, bringing their religion over the entire world. Furthermore, it is only *now*, in the last few centuries of the second millennium and the early years of the third millennium accoridng to the Common Era, that Christianity is the most common religion and the religion held by the most developed countries in the world (which is not to say that all underdeveloped countries are non-Christian). In the eight centuries before the Common Era and the first four centuries in the Common Era, the Roman Empire was considered the centre of the world, and, ironically, it collapsed shortly after it had universally adopted Christianity. I’m not saying that Christianity is wrong, I’m just saying that it’s chance that this religion is the most common one in the world at this moment.
Religion has always been an important part of culture, and hence, has influenced morality everywhere and throughout the ages. That is not the same as to say that morality comes from God, let alone this particular God.
Jerry Billings, in his article Ethics Without God, Or God Without Ethics, points out perfectly well how it is impossible to say that ethics come from God, cause firstly, many atheists and agnostics are also moral, and don’t need a God for that, and secondly, if morals came from God, one couldn’t judge without God that this God is the right God, so a non-religious person could never judge whether the Christian God, or any other deity, were a good God. That points out why it’s just chance that Christianity is viewed to be the good religion in large parts of the world, while it may just as well be any other religion or no religion at all.
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