No God = No Morals; or, Gettin’ Preachy Wit It

Morality

Morality: God’s property. … (Photo credit: tdietmut)

Editor’s note: This post is the latest segment of my ongoing conversation with fellow WordPress blogger Bluepearlgirl’s World, whom I refer to in shorthand fashion as BW. I’m now responding to her comments that are available for viewing below my previous post, which you can read here. Much of what I now present to you is directed specifically at BW, but please know that I’m also speaking to a broader audience.

Alright, BW, get ready to pony up on that 50-cent wager: I live in Los Angeles County—though, to be fair, I’m originally from the East Coast, so make it 25 cents and I’ll call it good.

I understand that other people, like myself, are passionate about their deepest-held beliefs, whatever they are. You’re passionate, and that’s fine, but I think your passion is keeping you from simply understanding some basic points I was trying to make, regardless of whether you would agree with them. For example, in response to you saying that you were tired of constantly hearing “God talk,” I wrote that I can’t imagine that you hear much “God talk” in San Francisco—and you responded to that by insinuating that I was calling everyone in San Francisco immoral. That’s not at all what I was saying. My point was simply that San Francisco is a highly liberal town, and I’m pretty sure it’s not crawling with street preachers. That’s it. Am I wrong? Are there, in fact, a lot of people in San Francisco preaching the Bible and the Gospel of Christ? Because this is one time I’d be ecstatic to be wrong.

I did address the issue of morality in my last post, but I never said—or even implied—that all San Franciscans (is that the right term?) are immoral. What I said was that if there is no God, then a discussion of morality is a moot point—in fact, that without God, the concept of morality wouldn’t even exist, and we couldn’t be having a discussion about it.

Think of it this way (and I’m borrowing from C.S. Lewis here): If a fish has lived all its life in the dark depths of some giant trench in the ocean floor, then not only will it have no idea what “light” is, it will not even realize what “dark” is, because it will have had nothing (light) with which to compare the dark. The environment in which it lives simply “is.” Likewise, you can’t understand what a crooked line is unless you have some idea of a straight line. So if there was no God, from Whom morality originates, we would have no understanding of “right,” or of “wrong”; everything would simply “be.” You would have your preferences and I would have mine, but that’s all they’d be; you and I would never have a problem with anything the other one did—because we’d be literally incapable of having a problem with anything (there would be no such thing as “problem” behavior).

You contend, like many other liberals, that people can be moral without God. Perhaps you believe that morality comes from evolution, or from “nature,” or perhaps that whatever we call “morals” are simply those things that evolved in us to help our species survive (such as “don’t murder”). The problem with those ideas, however, is that what they’re talking about is not true morality: the “morals” they entail are not things that are objectively true, they’re not absolute rights and wrongs; they’re merely concepts that helped our species survive—and which are subject to change. These ideas, in fact, would seem to equate “morality” with “survival” … but what if I felt that my survival depended on murdering you? In that case, “don’t murder” wouldn’t be moral; “murder” would be moral, because it’s what helped me survive! Now you’ve entered the dangerous territory of moral relativity, where one day something’s right and the next it’s wrong. This is what happens, though, when you move away from an objective, absolute, outside-of-human-existence standard—something only God can provide.

I also contend that when it comes to morality, liberals try to have their cake and eat it too: they want to live a life without God, ignoring Him and the responsibilities we have to Him, while at the same time borrowing from the moral ethic He created, but only when it suits them. They want to be able to do what they want, but if they have a problem with something that others are doing (even though those other people should likewise be able to do what they want), they protest, making some sort of moral-based claim (“Gays have rights, too!). But wait: Their belief system doesn’t have an objective standard of morality, and they reject the God who does provide such a standard, so on what basis are they making such claims? On nothing more than their own opinion, which is based only on what suits their desires at the time.

It’s this type of mentality that leads many liberals to do contradictory things, such as acting passionately to protect animals and forests while giving their okay to abortion. Or telling Christians to mind their own business on sexual matters while at the same time pushing society to accept so-called “homosexual rights.” So, animals are more important than innocent human life? And liberals can push a radical sexual agenda but Christians are supposed to just shut up and accept it? Those are the kind of absurd inconsistencies you get when you have nothing concrete to build your life on.

ANSWERING A FEW OF BW’S SPECIFIC QUESTIONS/CONCERNS

Her quotes, followed by my responses:

“I just think you are talking one thing but preaching (and yes i mean preaching) something very different.”

Of course I’m preaching; it’s my job. Jesus issued the Great Commission to all His followers: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew chapter 28, verses 19-20).

“The Chinese empire … as well as some of the most complex cultures thriving in South America. AND before this time there was the Assyrians and the Babylonian and Mesopotamian societies not to mention the Olmec and the Sumarians. Are you really telling me that they must have had nothing to believe in because Jesus was not born yet? … And what about the Koran? What about Buddha?”

* What do I say about pre-Christian societies? They’ll be judged according to what knowledge they had available to them, as it states in Romans 1:19-20:

Because what may be known of God is manifest in them (people), for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

This also goes for those who are alive on this earth today but will die without ever having heard the Gospel, such as the people who live deep in the jungle and have never had contact with the outside world. God is fair, and whatever He decides will be fair.

* What do I say about the Koran, and Buddha, etc.? I say they’re wrong—not necessarily 100% wrong, but wrong on the most important questions and issues. How could you expect me to say otherwise? I’m a Christian; of course I’m not going to believe what non-Christians believe; then I wouldn’t be a Christian, would I? There’s also this idea that religion is like ice cream flavors: whichever one is your favorite, whichever works for you, that’s what’s true for you. No. That doesn’t cut it, because unlike something that is truly subjective, such as favorite ice cream flavor, there is an objective truth about existence: either there’s one God, or multiple gods, or no God; it can’t be more than one of those options. Either we got here by evolution, or God put us here; it can’t be both. If God is real, He’s either going to expect certain things from us, or He’s not—but it can’t be both. Religion, contrary to liberal philosophy, is not an “anything goes, whatever’s true for you” proposition; it’s as fact-based as meteorology or the rules of baseball.

“You have absolutely no knowledge of any of these ‘non believers’ around the world, so how could you know that they are soul-less?”

* My disagreement with them doesn’t mean I think they’re soulless, and I never said they are.

* I don’t think you can say that I have “absolutely no knowledge of any of these ‘non believers’ around the world.” You don’t know how much I know, or don’t know, or what I’ve studied and haven’t studied. In fact, I’ve done a fair amount of studying of other religions, because I believe that it’s my job to be prepared to engage in discussions with people of those faiths, but your comments inquiring as to what I think about other religions and holy books betrays another common liberal mistake: believing that Christians should be open to other belief systems—and by “open” I don’t mean “willing to consider the truth claims of other religions” (which I’ve done, and obviously decided against), but “willing to agree that all religions ‘basically say the same thing’ and are equally valid.” I’m sure you’ll think this to be harsh, but: They’re not equally valid. A simple side-by-side comparison quickly demonstrates that not all religions “basically say the same thing,” and that many of them hold to beliefs that are in stark contrast to one another. Further, the Judeo-Christian faith tradition is the only one that addresses the fundamental human flaw: sin.

“I do not like it when people push their ideas onto you as if there is a right to force feed anyone your belief system… and if they arent buying it, push it harder.”

I’m not pushing my ideas onto anyone, or force-feeding anyone, or condemning anyone; I’m using a public platform to state my beliefs—the things I stand behind and the things I’m against—and you can take it or leave it.

“The difference with us is that i do not think that i already have all of the answers and that is ok with me.”

I don’t think I have all the answers, and I love (being sarcastic here) how liberals like to shoot back at Christians with that type of reactionary accusation when Christians say something that liberals deem unpalatable—and you’ve done that to me multiple times already: I merely stated my beliefs, but somehow that made me guilty of calling all San Franciscans immoral, and people of other faiths soulless, and of being pushy with my beliefs.

“And let me ask you… a real christian, which one is it… The new testament or the old?

Both. The Old Testament highlights human sinfulness and the need for a Savior, and the New Testament tells the story of that Savior. Taken together, the two testaments comprise the story of God’s love for all people.

And don’t think I missed the subtle jabs at my faith you tossed in throughout your posts: that I follow a “dude” who “may have been a cult leader” and “may not have even existed,” that I believe in “a snake and an apple” and that the writings I follow “were written 300 years” after my “god died.” But that’s alright; Jesus said that would happen, so I’m prepared for it. Just want you to know that I know. 😉

But since you brought those things up:

  • Jesus definitely existed. We even have extrabiblical evidence of this in the writings of Jewish historian Josephus.
  • The snake was originally a serpent, with legs, before God cursed it with having no legs.
  • We don’t know what the forbidden fruit was.
  • All of the New Testament was written within the lifetimes of Jesus’s original 12 apostles, and much of it was written by those very men, who were eyewitnesses to what Jesus did and said.

Alright, I suppose that’s enough for now.

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