"Where do you get your morality from? It must be God!" Debunked.
This is a hub addressing the "proof" of God's existence which starts off asking the question "where do you get your morality from?" and "how do you know what is wrong and what is right?" and then concluding that because most people don't know, "it must be God."
But logic has an answer, and it's not God.
Because the monotheistic religions teach that certain things are right (helping the poor) and certain things are wrong all the time (murder), they also teach that there are moral absolutes, and these come from God who bestowed them upon us.
"You know it's wrong to kill"
Because obviously it is not always wrong to murder or kill.
- If a bear attacks a group of campers, you would say it was not wrong to wound or kill that bear.
- If a person attacks a group of campers with malicious intent you would say it was not wrong to wound or kill that bear.
- If by murdering one man I could save 7 billion people, I would murder that one man, even if it was myself.
- If by killing ten men I could save 10 million, I would kill the 10 men.
Utilitarianism is moral, moral absolutes are not. (see link)
Murder is not always morally wrong. It's a fallacy to say it is. Thus, the holy scriptures (bible etc.) and their deontological views are morally flawed and shouldn't be considered a source of moral guidance.
Lying is also not always wrong- lying to save a life is moral,
Theft is not always wrong - theft to feed your family is moral
Coveting your neighbour's spouse is not always wrong if you knew that everyone would be happier if you re-married with him/her.
So how do we know what is moral?
How do we know what is right and what is wrong? Our upbringing. How did our parents know what was right and what was wrong? Their upbringing. This goes up the family tree into history. And chances are, your great ancient's views of morality were a lot different to yours today.
Society, through trial and error learned what was right or wrong.
Do you know what is completely wrong with the argument "where does your morality come from?" - "it must be God"?
It's wrong because we have so much proof that we call historical documents showing that humanity started off with barbaric, evil customs and then through trial and error learned what was right and what was wrong . Through positive and negative reinforcement learned what was right and what was wrong.
If God is the source of our morality. Then 1000 years ago there wouldn't have been widespread malicious murder, pillaging and rape. 2000 years ago there wouldn't have been worse widespread malicious murder, pillaging and rape. 5000 years ago, there wouldn't have been even worse widespread malicious murder, pillaging and rape.
Only 200 years ago we were still enslaving our own race, calling them a different race entirely. Only recently has this barbaric behaviour stopped. Only recently did we realise that women deserve equal rights to men.
If you look at the history of man, the further back in time you go, the more brutal we acted. If you suggest that God dictates our intrinsic morality, then you suggest that humans will always act the same, no more barbaric now then they were 5000 years ago, no more civil. After all, why would God's power over us falter? He is all powerful after all.
And what changed? What developed over history so that humans became more moral every century and millennia? Society.
Evolution of Social Values
At least we learn
With every tragedy, every horror, every war waged and fight fought, we built upon our society and their rules. We changed so that we might survive better, because we all want to survive. Because we all don't like feeling pain, or being stolen from. If there was a way to reduce the overall crime rate, we understand that the chances of us being affected is lowered too. Forgetting altruism, an arguable social evolution, our morals come from selfishness on a fundamental level.
Religions formed, and used fear in order to control people, making sure they didn't misbehave, telling them they would burn in hell and suffer all pains if they would. This worked. This really did work. Humans were able to control themselves using fear tactics. The reason "thou shall not kill" and the other commandments were invented?
Because humans could see that if none of these bad things were happening, then none of these bad things would happen to them. It is a selfish motive. It is our need to survive and reproduce, or at least no feel pain, that makes us moral.
Humans learn from mistakes, their own ones, and other people's. We were not born moral, we were born more or less as a blank slate. After that we learn. We learn how to behave in order to survive. We understand concepts, we understand that if everyone in a group doesn't commit crime, then no one, including you yourself will be a victim of crime.
After this, large societies with policing systems formed. Punishment for crime. Education. Teaching children morals like not hurting others and treating each other like you would want to be treated arose.
WIth education and science came the questioning of religion, the ancient spell for behaviour.
Laws and punishment were necessary. Now we have "If you forget the simple principle that committing crimes will increase the crime rate and thus negatively effect you or your children in the future, and you decide to be selfish, then you will be punished by a real, physical authority very soon" for those who are tempted by crime.
Selfishness and crime still exist, humans are prone to external stimulus, they can go insane, they may have been mistreated, or they may have been taught to disrespect the law or morality, or to be opportunistic. These people may commit crimes. Sometimes they are desperate. As I've already said, some people steal to feed themselves or their family. Is that selfish and immoral?
So where do I get my morality from? From my parents and the understanding that morality makes the world work better, and if not caring for every other human being, it at least improves my own situation and my own survival chances.
This is all forgetting Altruism
Altruism is a proposed characteristic of humans that states that we will perform actions that do not directly benefit us. For example, give to charity. Forgetting all of the selfish reasons people give to charity, such as getting a better reputation, feeling better about themselves etc. It has been shown that some people will do things that will not make them look or feel better, out of the philanthropic need to better the world.
This is a great and hopeful concept for humanity and it is one that I believe in.
I can hear the religious cheer and shout, screaming "You see! You see! God DID make all humans good" but let's not confuse things now, if our morality was dictated by a God, we would always be moral, if by a gene, then even people born with altruism could become mass murderers due to the effects of nurture.
Comment Hall of Fame
This section is to highlight shameful overlooks on my part when I created this hub, featuring additions that commenters have suggested that I agree with. Their name and link are included in case you wish to follow these clever hubbers in the future. Do not be shy about posting opposing beliefs, because I will make a counter-argument section if needs be. The more views the merrier, that way we can achieve a better conclusion :)
"the motivation for doing charitable acts by certain (not all) religious folks is fueled by some sort of greed, not morality, because in their mind they have something to gain (perhaps a spot in heaven?"
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