Morality and God

Topics: Morality, Religion, Ethics Pages: 5 (1787 words) Published: August 11, 2013
Can a person be moral and not believe in God
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PHI 103 Informal Logic
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Morality only exists if we believe in God; therefore if God doesn’t exist there is no morality. There have been so many evil acts committed in the name of God that it is difficult to maintain that a belief in God equates to morality. There are situations that happen every day where decisions are made based off of human rights that contradict the word of God. Morality comes from within, it is an understanding of right versus wrong and the ability to choose what is right. Knowing all this a belief in God is not a requirement for a person to be moral. (Mosser, 2011)

We are taught that morals are basically the difference between right and wrong. A child may be taught that stealing is wrong because it hurts the store owner and can ruin the child’s reputation. Or the child may be told that if they steal they will be punished because God is always watching. The child has learned the fundamental difference between right and wrong, even if the reasoning is different. This will allow the child to make moral decisions when they grow up whether it is based off of human compassion or fear of God. If we accept that the child understands right from wrong regardless of their reason, we accept that God is not a requirement to be a moral person.

If a person observes an act of violence or torture, they are morally required to stop it. In biblical times these acts were not only accepted but encouraged by the bible. Today, a person would not ignore these things simply because they did not believe in God. There are human rights that we believe each person is entitled to and someone with good morals would help out another person in need because it is the right thing to do. If it turned out that God does not exist, violence and torture would not suddenly become acceptable. (Mosser, 2011) Mass acceptance of a belief does not make it right. Ancient religions that believed in numerous gods have been pushed aside as fairy tales, for the more widely accepted belief in a single God. During their time those gods were prayed to just as fervently as today’s God. What was accepted as true back then is now known as a fable, and the laws of the day have been wiped away and replaced with our modern laws. These laws were put in to place to punish people who do wrong to others. They have become the moral balance. If you do wrong you will be punished, if you continue to do what is right you will live unmolested and enjoy your freedoms. God is not a requirement for someone to act morally, because there are earthly punishments for crimes.

There is no right or wrong without God because He determines what is right and wrong. Moral standards cannot be enforced without God to ensure that we are punished or rewarded for our acts. Someone who does not believe in God may change their morals to whatever suits them at the time. We have been given guidelines by God on what is morally acceptable, and informed of the punishment that comes with being immoral. When an individual does not believe in God they cannot be a moral person, because they have no moral standards. (Millard, A. 2000)

The Ten Commandments give us a basic understanding of what is right and wrong. These Commandments along with various scriptures from the bible determine which acts are moral and which are immoral. An individual who witnesses a crime but does not believe in God can simply decide that they are not responsible for stopping the crime. This may lead one to believe that if a non-believer does something right that they have morals. This is not the case, because they could just as easily do wrong and their conscience would have been just as clear. They have no moral compass to tell them that this act is leading them astray from God. (Riskin, S. 2007)

If one does not believe in God they cannot know right from wrong and cannot do what is right because...

References: King James Bible
Millard, A. (2000). How reliable is exodus? Biblical Archaeology Review, 26(4), 50-57. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214908737?accountid=32521
Mosser, K. (2011). Logic an introduction. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Riskin, S. (2007). Ten commandments audience? Washington Jewish Week. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220857354?accountid=32521
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