Turek and Geisler Say 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist' But They Believe in God's Morality and the Bible
Christian Authors Claim to Prove God
"I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist", jointly proclaim Christian authors Frank Turek and Norman L Geisler ~ but they do have faith in their ability to prove the existence of God.
Turek and Geisler believe in a theistic God ~ the God, whom they find in the Bible.
Turek and Geisler also believe in 'objective morality', and that this is evidence, which can help them to prove that God really is there ~ a 'morally perfect' God!
But, are they right?!
Does 'objective morality' exist?
Is the God of the Bible the epitome of moral perfection?
Does God exist?
Let us consider the supposed evidence and the apparent proofs; the ideas, theories, opinions, beliefs, etc; the arguments set forth by Turek and Geisler.
Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler say:
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist' - From Amazon
Paperback ~ Published 2004 ~ Written by Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler
Frank Turek and Norman Geisler - Christian Authors, Debators, Presenter
Frank Turek and Norman Geisler are co-authors of the book: 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist'. (The foreword is written by David Limbaugh.)
Both men take part in theological debates and Frank Turek also delivers presentations, based upon their book, where he provides their 'evidence' for the existence of God.
This evidence comes in several parts, but he concentrates on three of them: cosmological, teleological (both scientific arguments) and moral (a philosophical argument).
In their book, Turek and Geisler devote an entire chapter to the general subject of 'morality': 'Mother Teresa vs. Hitler'.
Turek and Geisler cover a huge area of theological philosophy in their work ~ far too much to cover here.
This article deals with morality:
~ Philosophical moral arguments for the existence of God.
~ General opinions on morality
~ Other Christian arguments and opinions on the subject of morality.
Some relevant videos are available below.
Author: Catherine Soanes ~ Published: 2006
'Morals' in the Oxford Dictionary
Let us first look at the definitions, uses and etymology of the word 'moral' ~ as given by the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
1. Morality is 'concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour'.
2. Morality is 'concerned with, or derived from, the code of behaviour that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society'. It relates to 'the nature of ethics'.
The word comes from the Latin term 'moralis' ~ from 'mor', meaning 'custom'.
Is morality a code of behaviour related to society and customs ~ or is it based on God and / or religion'?
Apparently, we do not need the Bible to know right from wrong - but it contains many rules and commands!
Christian Morality: According to Turek, How Does Morality Prove God?
Here are some of Turek's assertions, from the 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist' video:
'There is moral evidence for God'
'Everyone knows basic right from wrong.' **
'There's no way to know what evil is, if you don't know what good is, and there is no standard of good, unless there is a standard beyond yourself'
'God's unchanging moral nature is the standard of measurement'
'You don't need the Bible to know right from wrong ... it is written on your heart ... It comes from God'.
To summarise ~ Turek's 'moral argument for the existence of God':
1. Every law has a law giver
2. There is an objective moral law.
3. Therefore there is an objective moral law giver
Since 'every prescription has a prescriber', the existence of objective morality points to the existence of God ~ a personal God, who might be 'sinned against' ~ because 'moral obligation has to be personal'.
** With regard to 'everyone knowing basic right from wrong', Turek and Geisler note that our reactions to eventualities help us to identify right and wrong. This seems to be true. It is, indeed, easier to identify something harmful and 'bad' ~ wrong or immoral ~ if one can empathise with the person who is suffering. Thus empathy can help our sense of morality to develop.
It does not logically follow, however, to say that 'moral Law is revealed in our reactions'.
Rather, our reactions may result from empathy, which may then affect our moral development, causing us to develop moral standards.
For Turek and Geisler, though, this ability to ~ apparently instinctively ~ know right from wrong indicates that 'theism' is real and true.
But, as Turek, himself, asks: 'Which theism is true?'
The Bible - King James version
Theism: The Beliefs of Turek and Geisler
Turek and Geisler accept 'Theism' ~ but what do they mean by this?
They believe in God, as described in the Bible ~ the Monotheistic God, found in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Trinity, discovered in The Gospels, etc.
They consider both the Old Testament and the New Testament to be true.
Turek and Geisler state that they have been 'conducting a seminar .... [where they] proceed logically .... all the way to the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God."
These quotes clarify their opinions / beliefs:
Quotes from Turek & Geisler's Book:
~ 'We claim that there is strong evidence supporting Christianity.'
~ 'It is true that the theistic God exists'
~ 'We believe that the evidence ... shows that the Bible is true beyond reasonable doubt.'
Quotes from Turek (in Turek v Hitchens video):
~ 'I .. carry the cross for theism.'
~ 'Reality is best explained by theism.'
~ 'I think that the evidence we see all around us, and within us, leads to a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, personal, powerful, intelligent, moral creator ~ ie a theistic God.'
What Else Does Frank Turek Say?
As noted, Frank Turek claims that 'without God', there can be 'no objective morality' ~ and it is this 'objective morality' which, apparently, points to the existence of God.
A lack of 'objective morality' would mean that:
~ 'there is nothing wrong with ... anything'.
~ Unless God exists, there is nothing wrong with murder, racism, slavery, rape, child abuse, theft, etc.
Without God, Turek indicates, one might opine that these are 'sad, inconvenient', etc, but this would only be an opinion; they could not be considered 'objectively morally wrong''.
Turek claims that the reason that 'we know they are wrong' is ' because there's a God'.
He comments that 'If there is no God, then you cannot say that the holocaust was objectively wrong' ~ it would just be one opinion against Hitler's opinion. 'If there is no objective morality, then Nazism is not wrong'.
Geisler and Turek, in Appendix Two of their book: write: '... the supreme moral obligation is love ~ not tolerance ... ... sometimes love requires you to be intolerant. For example wouldn't it be unloving to tolerate murder, rape, theft or racism?'
More Turek quotes:
God is 'absolutely morally perfect ~ and personal'.
'If we were perfect we wouldn't need Christ'
'Men love darkness rather than light'
'We need a saviour.'
When he talks about God, he is talking about the God described in the Bible.
~ Geisler and Turek consider God to be 'absolutely morally perfect.'
God Creates Man (Adam) - Michelangelo
Evil - and God
Some disbelievers say that God cannot exist, because, if he did, (and God is good, and God is love, and God is the creator, and God is omnipotent, omniscient, etc) then surely he could not allow for evil within his creation. (Indeed, if he is the all-powerful creator, then mustn't he have created evil?!) The conclusion must be that, since there is evil within the world, then God cannot exist.
Turek disagrees. He claims that 'evil doesn't disprove God'.
To repeat an earlier quote:
"There's no way to know what evil is, if you don't know what good is, and there is no standard of good, unless there is a standard beyond yourself".
We should infer, from Turek, that, since society and individuals do know, and recognise, the difference between good and evil, then there must be 'an objective standard of good' ~ an 'objective morality'. This moral standard has to be God. Thus, God must exist and God must be the fount of all morality.
According to this logic, 'evil' does not disprove the existence of God ~ but, rather, it actually proves his existence.
Evil and God
By Christopher Hitchens ~ Paperback ~ Published 2009
Evil - and (Atheist) Christopher Hitchens
Since there is 'no morality without God', Turek argues that 'there can't be evil without God'.
He mentions that the atheist, Christopher Hitchens, claims that 'religion is evil'. (Turek quotes Hitchens using terms such as 'divine tyranny' and 'celestial dictator'.)
Turek implies that, since an acceptance of 'evil' indicates an acceptance of 'God', then it makes no sense for an atheist to state that anything at all can be 'evil'.
Thus, Hitchens must be 'borrowing from Christianity'.
(Hitchen's works include the book: 'God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything'.)
Christopher Hitchens: "Religion gets its morality from humans"
Christians, Atheists and Morality
Many Christians claim that there is no morality without God ~ thus atheists cannot be moral people. They may ask how, and why, atheists behave decently, when they do not believe in God.
Alternatively, other Christians may assure us that atheists can behave well, but only because they have a God-given conscience ~ thus, even atheistic morality originates with God.
Too many Christians ~ and other believers ~ are convinced that it is not possible for atheists to be moral. This is not true ~ atheists are perfectly capable of being moral human beings.
Those Christians, who do not already do so, need to acknowledge that Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.
Turek and Geisler Accept Atheist Morality ~ But ...
Frank Turek accepts that:
~ Atheists do know what morality is.
~ Atheists can be moral.
So, if Turek accepts that atheists, who, self-evidently, do not believe in the existence of God, can be as moral as any Christian, then what is the explanation for his (and Geisler's) argument that the existence of morality proves the existence of God?!
Turek believes that, while atheists can, indeed, be moral, they 'can't justify morality, because they have no objective standard' ~ that is, 'atheists have no moral justification.'
Apparently, atheists 'can argue about how we know what is wrong', but this 'doesn't tell us why it is wrong'. They can 'theorize about how we know murder is wrong', but 'atheism provides no immaterial objective standard' as to 'why murder is wrong'.
Geisler agrees: "You can be moral, but you cannot justify that morality', because, for atheists, there is no 'ultimate moral prescriber'." [Dr Norman L Geisler in debate with Dr Paul Kurtz]
Thus, according to Turek and Geisler, atheists ~ without any 'objective standard of morality' (God) ~ cannot, logically, explain or justify who or what is morally right or wrong ~ or why.
The 'objective standard of morality' exists, but atheists either reject it, or are unaware of it. Atheists can live by it, but without realising, or accepting, that it is, supposedly, evidence of the very God, whom they cannot, or will not, accept.
These quotes, from Turek, illustrate what he appears to see as the atheist enigma.
Without God, 'what authority tells us that murder is wrong?'
'How do you get morality from materialism?'
'Why is murder wrong, if there is no God' ~ 'if there is no standard'?
'Why not kill everybody, if there is no God'?
Is it true, that atheists may be moral, but that they don't know why they are moral?
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: 'Morality Without God?'
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is a Duke University Professor of Practical Ethics.
Two of his books are available from Amazon:
~ Morality Without God? (Philosophy in Action)
~ Moral Skepticisms
This excerpt is from a 'Publishers Weekly' review about the book: 'Morality Without God? ' ~ Quoted on Amazon:
'Sinnott-Armstrong defends nonbelief from accusations of immorality, both at the individual and the societal level by considering surveys and statistics on homicide, discrimination and charity, among other categories.'
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong ~ quoted from 'Morality Without God?':
"There really is no question of morality without God. There is just plain morality"
Origins of Atheistic Morality - Objective? Or Merely Opinion?
Where does atheist morality come from, if not from God?
'How do atheists know what is moral?' asks Turek ~ and he wonders whether the answer is supposed to be 'society'? Or 'evolution'? Or 'Grandparents'?'
Either way, Turek claims that, without God, 'morality' is not 'objective' ~ it is merely human 'opinion'.
We have already noted this example:
'If there is no God, then you cannot say that the holocaust was objectively wrong' ~ this is just one person's opinion against another's ~ Hitler's.
Turek's conclusion seems to be that one can have an opinion on the subject of morality, but, without God, one cannot 'know who or what is morally right or wrong?'
Ie. It is opinion versus knowledge ~ in the opinion of Turek and Geisler
Turek, Geisler, Morality and Atheism
While Turek and Geisler do acknowledge that Atheists have morals, they still ask 'why?'.
They believe that atheists cannot justify morality ~ because they do not acknowledge God as a higher external objective standard of morality ~ and they wonder: 'why shouldn't people murder, rape, steal to get what they want, if there is nothing beyond this world?"'
It is interesting to note that Turek and Geisler ask why atheists shouldn't / don't commit serious crimes, just because they do not believe in an afterlife.
This, quite clearly, illustrates that these two authors have no real comprehension of morality ~ certainly not of atheistic morality.
One also has to question whether it really is true, that atheists cannot justify morality, simply because they do not accept / believe in God?
Moral atheists are concerned about not causing harm; not causing distress; not making the world a sadder or more traumatic place for their fellow men.
Why would decent human beings want to murder, rape, or steal from their fellow humans, simply because they do not buy into a specific myth?
This is tantamount to saying that it is bizarre that Christians don't do certain things, since they don't believe in Odin or Apollo.
It is not bizarre that Nordic, or ancient Roman, religion is irrelevant to the lives and behaviours of modern Christians.
Similarly, it is not bizarre that Christian opinions are irrelevant to atheists.
Atheistic morality is not concerned with Christian beliefs. Heaven is an irrelevance to them. They do not need God as a justification for morality ~ they have their own ways of justifying their behaviour, based on 'social evolution' and intelligent and empathetic thought.
Atheists are certainly not seeking obscure ways to prove the existence of God. Atheists do not believe in God, so they have no interest in proving his existence.
They 'know' that they can be moral, without God ~ and the statistics prove them right! Surely this is proof against the belief, held by many Christians, that, without a belief in God, there can be no morality?
Paul Kurtz on Morality and Secular Humanism
Paul Kurtz: "Secular humanists are generally nonreligious, yet they are also good citizens, loving parents and decent people.
"They look to science, the secular arts and literature for their inspiration, not religion. They point out that religious belief is no guarantee of moral probity ..."
Paul Kurtz: "The ethics of secular humanism traces its roots back to the beginnings of Western civilization in Greece and Rome ..."
Paul Kurtz: “How can you be ethical if you do not believe in God?” protests the believer. Perhaps such a person should enroll in an elementary course in ethics .."
Book Review ~ Re: 'Forbidden Fruit', from 'Library Journal', on Amazon:
'The ethics of humanism is "forbidden fruit" because it is knowledge of good and evil without God as a grounding principle.'
Re: 'Forbidden Fruit', from About.com
'Paul Kurtz ... has made a case that neither religion nor theism are vital for the existence of a good life. ... 'Forbidden Fruit' contains his most extensive arguments on the subject. He covers issues like the value of theistic morality, the existence of basic moral principles, and the meaning of life itself.
"~ Explains how ethical thinking does not require theism or a god
"~ Explains how theistic ethics is not as solid as supporters claim ...';
Who was Paul Kurtz?
Paul Kurtz (1925 - 2012) was a university-educated American skeptic and secular humanist. (He gained his PhD at Columbia). Indeed, he was known as 'the father of secular humanism' and was given the International Humanist Award.
Writer, publisher, teacher, founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and important member of various other associations, he was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kurtz
Atheists Justifying Morality: Why are Atheists Good?
If it is impossible to justify morality, without God, and atheists do not believe in God, then the obvious conclusion would be that atheists could not justify morality.
Indeed, this is what Turek and Geisler claim.
How and why would morality seem right to someone, who cannot justify acting morally?
Perhaps some atheists can justify their morality, but just not to the satisfaction of Turek and Geisler?
Perhaps some atheists really are unable to justify their morality. But does it matter, if someone is not a proficient moral philosopher, provided s/he behaves in a moral manner?
Obviously, morality can and does exist and thrive, without a belief in God.
Of course, believers could ~ and do ~ argue that both God, and Godly morality, exist, with or without the belief of atheists.
Turek and Geisler have to believe that morality is objective and can be justified, because it is this moral justification that they claim as proof of God's existence.
But does morality really prove that God's exists?
Morality and the Atheist: Christopher Hitchens
" ..,. Our species would not have survived ... if we didn't have, as well as many selfish instincts, the need ~ and often for our own sake ~ to be of use to others, to combine with them, to take an interest in them, to care for them, and to worry when they're in pain.
"No supernatural authority .... is required for this. Morality comes from us ~ religion claims to have invented it on our behalf."
Continue reading on Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/messianic-jewish-in-national/christopher-hitchens-on-good-samaritan-and-god-free-morality-part-1-of-2#ixzz1XSQuT1ZK
Morality and the Atheist - Sam Harris
Well known atheist, Sam Harris, believes that science can tell us a lot about values and morals.
"Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors ~ ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics.
"But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can act so as to have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply."
Richard Dawkins ~ re the work of Sam Harris:
"I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals.
"To my surprise, 'The Moral Landscape' has changed all that for me. It should change it for philosophers too. ...
"As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris."
[Quotes from Amazon.com]
Morality and the Atheist - Richard Dawkins: Modern Morality Does Not come from Religion.
"If you look at the moralities that are accepted among 21st century people, we don't believe in slavery any more, we believe in equality of women, we believe in being gentle, we believe in being kind to animals.
"These are all things which are entirely recent ... They are things that have developed over historical time, through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion."
[Quoted from a video ~ see below]
'Darwinism' and Atheism
For some reason, many Christians choose to bring Darwin and 'Darwinism' into discussions on morality. (I do not find the term 'Darwinist' useful or helpful. I prefer 'evolutionist'.)
In their book, 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist', the authors ask: 'The Moral Law: What Do Darwinists say?'
I would not expect evolutionists to say very much at all, because they would not, surely, consider this subject to be very relevant to their studies. Indeed, Turek and Geisler affirm, unsurprisingly, that 'most Darwinists avoid the subject completely'.
Edward O Wilson has some opinions to offer, though ~ Geisler and Turek note: 'Wilson says that social morals have evolved because those 'co-operative' morals helped humans survive together'.
Humans seem to have a survival instinct ~ if not for themselves, personally, then for their genes.
Though they acknowledge that atheists can be, and often are, moral individuals, Turek and Geisler seem to be baffled by the morality of evolutionists: "Darwinists cannot explain why someone should obey any biologically derived 'moral sentiment'.
As noted earlier, they ask 'why shouldn't people murder, rape, steal to get what they want, if there is nothing beyond this world?'
Well, some people do murder, rape and steal, etc. It does happen. Evolutionists and atheists are not the only culprits, however. Indeed, I keep reading that atheists are less likely to commit crimes than are believers. Maybe the believers think that they can simply 'repent' and all will be well, whereas the atheists actually consider the inherent rightness or wrongness of their behaviour.
We might ask why Christians behave morally.
It is not 'morality', to behave well, in order to gain the rewards of Paradise and avoid rotting or burning for eternity, in hell. That is a combination of fear and self-preservation.
Hitler and Darwin - And Newton!
Is Charles Darwin really particularly relevant to the subject of 'morality'?
Darwin presented a scientific theory ~ the theory of evolution.
Newton also presented a scientific theory ~ the theory of gravity.
Hitler's criminal mind used and abused Darwin's scientific discovery and allowed it to contribute to his cruelty to others ~ and people suffered and died.
Some criminals have dropped heavy objects onto trains and onto people. The trouble-makers know that people could suffer and die as a result. The heavy objects will fall and cause destruction ~ because of the laws of gravity.
Should 'gravity' be blamed? Should Newton be blamed?
Of course not.
Similarly, neither 'evolution', nor Darwin, should be blamed, if a criminal mind abuses the theory of evolution.
By John Cornwell
Hitler - Cruelty and Evil Personified ~ Atheist or Christian?
Why did Hitler torture Jews and others?
From my reading, it seems to me, that many Christians believe that Hitler's evil crimes sprang from two related (Satanic) sources: he was an Atheist and he was a Darwinist.
The 'Darwinism' aspect is a red herring. Many evolutions exist ~ even Christian ones ~ but they do not attempt genocide. It is not the fault of either Darwin, or evolution, that Hitler's mind appears to have been somewhat warped.
Was Hitler an atheist?
Was Hitler a Christian?
It is hard to tell. One can probably find as many quotes indicating that he was a Christian as there are quotes suggesting that he was an atheist.
Did his possible atheistic tendencies result is his horrific cruelty?
Did his possible Christian tendencies result is his horrific cruelty?
Both questions are equally valid.
Do atheistic tendencies usually result in hurting and killing people?
Not usually. It has been shown that atheists are less likely to be criminals than anyone else.
What about Pol Pot and other tyrannical rulers, you may ask.
Well, many tyrannical rulers are very devoutly religious ~ and many supposedly atheistic tyrannical rulers actually behave as if they were devoutly religious. It is as if they have developed their own new personal extreme religion, with themselves as the god at the centre ~ consider Adolf Hitler's rallies, the adulation, the chanting, etc. After all, rulers being considered god incarnate or, at least, divine is not a rare phenomenon.
So, generally, atheists tend to be moral people, who do not want to hurt others.
Do Christian ~ or other religious ~ tendencies usually result in hurting and killing people?
Perhaps not 'usually', but let us look at the evidence: the Spanish Inquisition; the burning of 'heretics'; the Crusades; the ill-treatment of Jews!!!.
The ill-treatment of Jews!
Throughout history, many Christians condemned and hated Jews. Jews were insulted, forced to convert, expelled from their homes, tortured, burned alive.
Presumably, because Christians believed that the Jews had crucified their lord. They forgot that Jesus, himself, was a Jew!
One might wonder whether it could have been Hitler's Roman Catholic Christian upbringing, which caused him to hate Jews ~ even if Darwin's writings gave him some ideas as to what he should do about it.
I understand that there is another suggestion, which has little to do with religion at all ~ that, for some reason, Hitler considered that the Jews should be blamed for Germany being defeated in the First World War.
Hitler and Roman Catholicism
Here is a quote from 'Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII' ~ by John Cornwell':
On April 20, 1939, Archbishop Orsenigo celebrated Hitler's birthday. The celebrations, initiated by Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) became a tradition. Each April 20, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was to send "warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany" and added with "fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars."
Hitler and Mother Teresa
Apparently, we should all recognise, easily, that Hitler was 'bad' and that Mother Teresa was 'good.
This is why Turek and Geisler have related their chapter on morality specifically to these two individuals.
However, Christopher Hitchens seems to question Mother Teresa's morality. This shows that 'goodness' and 'badness' ~ morality ~ may not always be obvious to the beholder.
Turek and Geisler Wonder ...
Turek and Geisler:
'If there really is an absolute Moral Law as we have argued, then why so so many people believe that morality is relative?
"And why do so many people appear to have different values?
"Rationally, the reason lies with the failure to make proper distinctions."
Apparently, people ....
~ 'confuse what is with what ought to be. What people do is subject to change, but what they ought to do is not'.
~ get confused when looking at 'the absolute moral value, itself', and the known facts alongside which this value is considered for any particular example.
~ confuse the ends with the means.
I assume that these might mean that:
~ while Queen Elizabeth I felt that she had no choice but to have her cousin Mary executed, and thought that this was the right thing to do, it was actually morally wrong.
~ while some courts may have believed that it was morally right to have someone executed for murder, it may have turned out, in some cases, that their information was incorrect and that the victim was innocent. Capital punishment may still be conidered right ~ but only for genuine killers.
~ different people may want the same good moral outcome ~ eg good, decent, well-behaved, children ~ but use different means to reach these ends. One parent may explain right and wrong to their child and get the required result. Another parent may use corporal punishment to achieve their desired result. Both think that they are doing right, but beating a child is actually morally wrong, whatever the situation.
We should draw the conclusion that what people consider to be morally righteous behaviour may not be morally right, after all. Yet the morally right action / choice was actually there, all along.
The Biblical God - Moral Perfection? - Really?
Turek and Geisler consider morals to be 'absolute', 'unchanging' ~ and God-given, since 'an absolute Moral Law implies an absolute Moral Law Giver'.
They, thus, conclude that God exists ~ and that morality is proof of God's existence.
They believe that God is as described in the Bible and they consider the holy scriptures to be 'true beyond reasonable doubt'.
They believe that God is 'morally perfect' and that his 'unchanging moral nature is the standard of measurement'.
The result is 'an absolute moral obligation', which is 'binding on all people, at all times, in all places'.
When discussing morality, Turek specifically mentions certain obviously heinous crimes ~ including 'murder, rape, child abuse, racism, slavery, theft,' etc.
He believes that, without God's 'objective morality', there would be nothing inherently wrong with any of them.
From this, one should be able to conclude that murder, rape, child abuse, etc are always completely immoral and totally wrong ~ and anathema to God.
Apparently, we humans know that they are wrong, because God makes it clear to us. 'He writes it upon our hearts.'
As well as writing upon men's hearts, God has also written a book.
The Bible is, supposedly, the very word of God.
Since we have access to God's own book ~ the Holy Bible, which is 'true beyond reasonable doubt' ~ we should, surely, be able to find, therein, God's attitude to murder, racism, slavery, etc, etc, etc!
And we can! ~ So let's have a look.
Drunk with Blood - God's Killings in the Bible - Steve Wells
Also available for Kindle
Drunk With Blood: God's Killings in the Bible
Author: Steve Wells [see: http:
Murder in the Bible (and Genocide and Baby-Murder)
1 Samuel 15:1-7
God wants the entire Amalekite tribe wiped out ~ and makes a point of saying that children and infants should die by the sword. This would now be classed as genocide ~ murder on a huge scale ~ and particularly immoral and horrific, because of the innocents involved, even, specifically, suckling babies!
As well as murder, this probably includes child abuse, rape, theft and other crimes.
Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley ..... And Saul smote the Amalekites
Baby-Slaughter Ordered by god.
Rape (Kidnap and Murder) in the Bible
2 Samuel 12:11-12
King David's punishment, from God, for killing a man and taking his wife, is for his harem of wives to be publicly raped, and humiliated, in broad daylight:
This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'
How about this, from Judges 19?
Now .... certain sons of Belial ... beat at the door ... saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. And the .. master of the house, went out ..and said unto them, "Nay .. I pray you ... do not this folly". "Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you" ....
... so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning .... and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house ...
Judges 21: 10-23
Or this, from Judges 21?
It concerns some 'interesting' behaviour, from God's chosen people, proudly recorded in their scriptures:
They killed almost all members of another tribe ~ including little babies ~ but seized the virgins, who had seen their families murdered, and gave them to strange men, to sleep with them. But there were not enough girls to satisfy all of the men's needs, so they ambushed and kidnapped some more.
And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.
And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.
And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.
Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel ...
Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught...
Rape Condoned in the Holy Bible
Abraham Sacrificing Isaac
Judges 21:10 + 1 Samuel 15:3
This has to be child abuse ~ and child murder!
'Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.'
' ... smite Amalek ... slay both .... infant and suckling ...'
And what about the story of Abraham and Isaac?
Abraham ~ who seems to have had a close and special relationship with God ~ was going to sacrifice his beloved son to his Lord ~ on God's orders!
Isaac must have been distraught and terrified. How could he ever trust his father again. This would have been traumatising ~ that is child abuse!
... God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest .... and offer him there for a burnt offering ....
And Abraham rose up early in the morning ... and took .... Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering ... and went unto the place of which God had told him. .....
Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
..... And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
God Orders Abraham To Traumatize His Son
Racism in the Bible
Strictly speaking, I understand that the word 'racism' is considered to be largely meaningless ~ since we are all so closely related. However, people know how the word 'racism' is informally used ~ and it is used to denote negative attitudes, or even hatred, towards people, who are from different countries, nations, tribes, cultures, etc. etc.
There are so many tribes mentioned in the Bible, who are hated and fought against, that 'racism' is a regular occurrence.
But what about this?
There seems to have been sibling unrest over Moses's 'foreign' bride ~ whether she was African Cushite (Ethiopian) or Middle Eastern Cushite:
King James Version:
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
New International Version:
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.
Does Racism Rear its Head in the Family of Moses?
Slavery in the Bible
Exodus 20 + 21
Although there are areas in the Bible, where slavery is condemned, there are also areas, where it is condoned. God seems to be condoning it here:
.. all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings .. and .. they .. stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us .. but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
Moses said unto the people, Fear not ..... and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. ........
Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
.. if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges ... and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
There is another 'slavery' rule in Exodus 21:7
... if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
Slavery is Quite Acceptable To God
The Bible does condemn theft ~ which most would class as a much lesser crime than murder, rape, child abuse or slavery:
If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. ........ he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
~ Which brings us back to condoning slavery!
Murder is Wrong
According to Turek and Geisler's book, 'murder is wrong for everyone everywhere'.
But, surely, this depends on one's definition of 'murder'?
Who decides when a killing is 'murder' and when it is not?
Is it God? How do we know what God has decided?
'Wrongness', or guilt, may not always be clear.
People may be legally killed in war, or in self-defence, or as a state punishment. Is it not murder in such cases?
While most of us might agree with the general sentiment, I wonder, is it too simplistic to say that 'murder is wrong for everyone everywhere'?
'How Do You Know What is Wrong?'
If something harms an individual, or a society, without doing anyone any good, then one can only assume that this 'something' is 'wrong'.
This may be something, which causes pain or misery ~ particularly to the innocent.
If it is, self-evidently, harmful ~ then that must be bad.
Something that is 'harmful' or 'bad' is likely to be 'morally wrong'.
It may not always be that simple, but sometimes it is.
Being able to decide, and understand, what is morally wrong does not have to relate to a supernatural being.
Most humans are intelligent enough and empathetic enough to be able to do this, without reference to external forces.
What is considered 'harmful' can change from society to society and from time to time.
Innocence and Harm
'What Makes Something Right?'
If something benefits an individual, or a society, without harming any individual, or society, then one can only assume that this 'something' is 'good'
If it is, self-evidently harmless, but beneficial, then that must be good.
Something 'good', 'beneficial' and 'harmless' is likely to be 'morally right' ~ and not to be 'morally wrong'.
It may not always be that simple, but sometimes it is.
Being able to decide and understand what is morally right does not have to relate to a supernatural being.
What is considered 'beneficial' can change from society to society and from time to time.
Empathy and Co-operation
Murdering, raping, stealing, etc, result in pain, fear, sadness, terror, trauma, loss. Empathy enables us to feel and understand these emotions, in other people, as if they were our own.
Empathy, therefore, causes us not to want to harm others. Empathy helps to produce morality.
Furthermore, social cohesian and success will be increased, if members co-operate ~ trusting each other, supporting each other ~ not fearing each other.
Co-operation helps to produce morality.
In spite of the fact that most humans seem to have a conscience, or, as Turek and Geisler put it, they have knowledge of right and wrong 'written on their hearts', many people still do immoral acts.
We have acknowledged that murder, rape and child abuse are heinous crimes, but people still commit them ~ as individuals, or in groups.
Even wild animals seem much less prone to such behaviour.
Something seems to have gone wrong.
It is a major subject and it cannot be explained here.
We cannot say that the Biblical God is unhappy with such behaviour, though, because, in the Bible, he actively encourages it ~ he sets the bad example!
Biblical God - Setting an Example?
Does Morality Really Prove the Existence of God?
It seems unlikely that morality proves the existence of God. If this were the case, then one would expect that God's existence would be more obvious ~ particularly to philosophers and moral people ~ and almost everyone would believe!
Is God the Fount of All Morality?
As an agnostic, I simply cannot say whether there is, or was, a mighty power, which might be termed 'God', and which might be the origin of all morally good behaviour. It is possible.
However, Turek and Geisler are not referring to simply any potential 'God' ~ their God is, specifically, the one found in the Bible.
Is it possible, or feasible, that God, as described in the 'Old Testament, could be the objective origin of human morality?
I think that the examples provided, regarding God's supposed behaviour, in relation to murder, rape, child abuse, etc, indicate that God does not act morally. He certainly does not set a good moral example
If God does not act morally, then he surely cannot be the objective fount of all human morality!
Do Biblical Rules Reflect Morality?
The Bible contains many, many rules. Rules and laws might be expected to reflect morality ~ or, at least, a view of morality.
Would these Biblical rules parallel our own ideas of what is morally right?
Let us examine just a few of them ~ including 'The Ten Commandments'.
The Ten Commandments
Turek claims that we 'don't need the Bible to know right from wrong' because it is 'written on our hearts'. Presumably he is talking about our consciences, which he would assume are 'God-given'.
Though we do not, apparently, need the Bible, there are plenty of rules and laws contained within its pages ~ the most famous being 'The Ten Commandments', reportedly given directly to Moses, by God.
'The Ten Commandments' can be found in Exodus 20:2-17 and also in Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
Here is a brief resume of the 'Exodus' version, quoted from the King James Bible, with clarifying additions from the 'New International Version - UK'.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image [not make for yourself an idol]. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them ...
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [not misuse the name of the LORD your God] ....
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. ......
5. Honour thy father and thy mother ...
6. Thou shalt not kill [shall not murder].
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, ... wife, ....
More Biblical Rules and Regulations (Other Than 'The 10 Commandments')
Here are some more Biblical rules ~ just a few examples ~ taken from Leviticus and Deuteronomy (King James Version):
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Leviticus 18 + 20
~ thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife
~ the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
~ Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
~ If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
~ Neither shalt thou lie with any beast
~ And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die ...
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
If any man take a wife .... and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid ..... if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die ...
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
Thou Shalt Not ...
Lobster - An Abomination?
Abominations, Stoning, Etc.
Putting people to death, because of their sexual behaviour, seems to have been the norm in Biblical times.
In my country, stoning, and other forms of state execution, no longer occur. This sort of punishment would be considered immoral, in itself ~ even though it is a Godly order, from on high.
Even some American states still consider capital punishment to be morally acceptable ~ possibly even morally right.
What is a moral abomination ~ according to the Bible?
There are quite a few things!
According to Leviticus, for example, homosexuals sleeping together is an abomination.
But eating shellfish (lobster, crab, prawns, shrimp, etc) seems to be a greater abomination, since the word is mentioned four times in that connection.
Nowadays, eating shellfish is the norm. Yet God's Holy Word considered it unfit to eat.
That sounds like a major moral change ~ yet morals are supposed to be unchanging.
Most people reject this Biblical rules and eat shellfish! They disobey God's moral orders!
Are we / they abominably immoral to eat shrimps and prawns?
It is quite strange, is it not, that many Christians still consider homosexuality to be an abomination ~ even while they are eating lobster?
Four-Times Moral Abomination
Some Responses and Counter-Arguments
Though Turek and Geisler claim that there is 'a Moral Law' and, therefore, a 'Moral Lawgiver', not everyone would agree.
Certainly there are rules and laws, but the laws are decided, and passed, by people, not by God. The rules of Biblical society ~ with its stonings etc ~ would be considered unethical in many 'Judeo-Christian' societies, today.
Perhaps it is possible to suggest that God allows people to know what is right and wrong, so that they might make these decisions?
~ Well, believers in a personal creator God may think so, and may conclude that the human conscience is God-given ~ but that does not make it so.
Turek and Geisler write that 'An absolute moral obligation is something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places and an absolute Moral Law implies an absolute Moral Law Giver'.
But different societies and cultures, in different places, at different times may have concluded that different behaviour was morally right. They may have different values and may hold different opinions on morality.
Some societies may have decided that it was morally right to sacrifice their children ~ to God, or volcanoes, or whatever ~ whereas this would now be considered, by most modern societies, to be absolutely morally wrong.
Morals evolve within societies; there does not have to be an external, objective morality ~ or an external law-giver.
Although, at first, it may seem clear that 'absolute values are undeniable', this is not, actually, the case.
Richard Dawkins' Theory of Morality
Richard Dawkins' on our sense of morality ~ the desire to do good ~ to or for others:
"In ancestral times, we had the opportunity to be altruistic only towards close kin and potential reciprocators.
"Nowadays that restriction is no longer there, but the rule of thumb persists. Why would it not? It is just like sexual desire.
"We can no more help ourselves feeling pity when we see a weeping unfortunate (who is unrelated and unable top reciprocate) than we can help ourselves feeling lust for a member of the opposite sex (who may be infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce).
"Both are misfirings, Darwinian mistakes ..."
Richard Dawkins' book, 'The God Delusion', includes the following chapters:
6. 'The Roots od Morality: why are we good?'
7. The 'Good' Book and the changing moral zeitgeist'.
What conclusions may we draw?
Morality seems to exist.
Though there is much in the world that could be classed as 'evil' or 'wrong', generally, people want to live their lives peacefully and safely.
They pass laws which keep the peace, protect the people and retain fairness.
Most members of society agree not to murder, rape, steal, etc ~ and, in return, most members of society are not murdered, raped or mugged. This is how society has developed ~ evolved.
Einstein put it poetically: "... Man is here for the sake of other men ~ above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends"
Is there any logic in the Turek / Geisler scenario ~ about God being objectively and eternally moral? ~ Not if they are right about the Bible being largely true ~ with God as the central character.
Turek and Geisler believe that, without God, we could not say that murder, rape, child abuse, etc, etc, were wrong. We would not have the capacity to do so.
But, if God is good, and he represents the right moral response to murder and rape, etc, then the Bible indicates that neither of them are immoral, because God does not condemn them!
But we ordinary humans recognise that they are wrong, even if the God of the Bible condones them ~ and even if many Christians try their hardest to find reasons, excuses and explanations for God's immoral actions.
Thus, humans do, indeed, recognise morality and immorality ~ but this has nothing to do with God.
And, while we would like to think that murder and rape would be considered wrong, by all people, in all places, at all times, they probably aren't. They certainly don't seem to have been considered wrong in Biblical times, even by God and his favoured people.
Consequently, morality does not prove the existence of God.
Related Hubs - Some are Mine or Have My Comments
- Tsadjatko's Hub: I don't have enough faith to be an atheist
- The Destruction of the Babies and Children of Amalek ~ The Slaughter of the Amalekites
- Numbers 15 - The Execution of the Wood-Gatherer
- Genghis (Chingis) Khan ~ and The Bible
- 'God is Love' by Percy Dearmer ~ Analysis of a Popular Hymn
- Can Murder be Wrong if there is no God?
- Those "Disgusting" Scriptures
- Those Troubling Scriptures
- The God who Makes us Suffer "on a Whim"?
- Atheism, Religion, and Morality: A Serious Look at Our Social Values
- Sam Harris and the Moral Failure of Science
- God Given Morality?
Some Related Links:
- God - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Paul Kurtz on Morality Without Religion Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy
- The Myth of Hitler's Pope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Why did Hitler and the Nazis hate the Jews?
- Adolf Hitler's religious views - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The King James Version of the Bible presented from a skeptic's point of view.
- Morality without religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article ('hub') is copyright Tricia Mason. All Rights Reserved.
This item contains some quotes, from Turek's presentations, and also some from debates, involving Turek and Geisler ~ which are available to watch online.
There are also some quotes from their book, 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist'.
Where I indicate that one or other of the authors said or thought something, I have obtained this information either from the book 'I Don't Have enough Faith To Be An Atheist', or from videos that I have found online. The attributed comments will be direct quotes, or very close paraphrases.
Since the book was jointly written, it is likely that, where I have quoted one or the other of the authors, the opinions might relate to both of them.
I believe and hope that I have quoted Turek and Geisler correctly and also that I have presented their opinions correctly.
I have also quoted certain other parties, eg. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Paul Kurtz and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong.
I believe and hope that I have also quoted them correctly.
I apologise if I have made any errors.
Personal Comment - My 'Research' and 'Qualifications'.
As an agnostic, with a huge interest in theological debate, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching some very interesting videos, featuring Turek, Geisler and others ~ believers, atheists and those in between.
Debates between Turek and Christopher Hitchens or Geisler and Dr Paul Kurtz are entertaining, educational and thought-provoking.
['Debate: Christianity vs Secular Humanism' ]
['Debate: Turek vs Hitchens Debate: Does God Exist?]
I have watched (online) presentations by various Christians and atheists and have read several books concerning Christianity and the Bible, including parts of 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist'.
I have taken part in many related discussions, with interested and knowledgeable people.
I have also read a number of related 'hubs' ~ specifically one written by 'Tsadjatko' (link below).
I have a degree in 'Medieval and Modern History' ~ and 'Medieval History' involves a lot of study of Christian beliefs and behaviour.
I also have two teaching qualifications. For my PGCE, 'History' was my main subject, but one of my secondary subjects was 'Religious Education'.
Watchful Gods & Morality
An Interesting Post Script. 28th Feb 2016
An article has just been published about some research on gods, beliefs and morality. It seems relevant, so I am posting some quotes and a link to the article.
Do have a look.
Article: Believing in a watchful God makes you more “moralistic”.
By Sedsel Brøndum Lange.
February 28, 2016.
'Religious people who worship an all-seeing punitive God are more generous to their fellow believers, than followers of other types of gods.'
'New research suggests that a belief in a god that punishes bad behaviour makes religious people behave in a more ‘moralistic’ way.'
"People's views on their gods have a direct impact on the way they behave towards other people," says co-author Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor at Aarhus University, Denmark.
"... those who think of their god as moralistic, punitive, and knowledgeable, tend to behave more fairly towards others, even if they’re not a family member,” [co-author Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor at Aarhus University, Denmark] says.
'The ‘Big Gods’ theory says that a belief in a moralistic and punitive god made it possible for early humans to develop complex communities, because they regulated human behaviour, morality, and interpersonal skills.'
'Whilst it does not prove the ‘Big Gods’ theory, the new results do seem to point in that direction, according to Xygalatas.'