Is God Necessary for Morality?

by leavingwt 73 Replies latest jw friends

  • PSacramento

    RE: doing good because God demands it as opposed to doing good for "goodness sake".

    Well, if you read the NT and understand it, you will see that it i the INTENTION behind what we do that we are judged on, in other words:

    A believer doing good for want of recompense will be judged "less righteous" than a non-beleiver doing good because it is the right thing to do.

    To say that a person needs God to be moral is incorrect for there are mamny moral people that never believed in God yet do what is right, of course that definition of "what is right" had to be instilled there and if so, where did it come from and if it was just "naturally" there, where did it come from?

  • designs

    Better question: Is Religion necessary for Morality

    1800 years of Western Christianity, or Islam, or Buddhists what have you shows its a bad formula. They'll slit your throat in the Name of ______ X

  • PSacramento


    While I have never been a fan of organized religion, I don't blame "religion" for what PEOPLE do and allow to be done.

  • designs


    It, a religious structure and ideology, can have profound influence on individuals and cultures, even nations. I enjoyed watching the series on The Tudors, King Henry VIII, the Holy Emperor of Spain and the Popes and Cardinals who dominated European thought. One word or edict and thousands went to war and killed each other, all professing belief in the same Trinity, some brotherhood in Christ that was. So yes I 'blame' the whole lot, especially the policy makers. Born Again smorg againers, what a bunch, and we're a long way from getting rid of the influence in our culture and politics. Islam and the new Crusaders are at it again.

  • PSacramento

    Dude, blame the sheep as much as the sheppard.

    Those people used religion to further their own aggendas, if the people were to dumb to see it then, well..."buyer beware" ?

    While I can almost exucse those people of those times, we, in OUR TIMES, have no excuse and yet, we see it everyday, people being led like sheep to do horrid things in God's Name, even though it is clear that it is NOT in God's name but for the motives of those selected few in power.

    If WE as modern and enlightened people still blame "religion" for what WE do and ALLOW to be done, we are no better than medivel peasants that "didn't knwo any better".

    Of course they did know better just as we know better.

  • ZeusRocks
    definition of "what is right" had to be instilled there

    Actually no it doesn't. Right and wrong is not instilled in any single person. It is learned through interaction as we develop things like empathy.

    Humans are social beings, and thus our every action has consequences that affect not only ourselves but those around us. This is an observable fact and there for any thinking being to comprehend and evaluate.

    From the time we are born there are certain things (like homan contact, not being left alone for long periods of time etc) that help us in the first couple of years as our brain develops which alot of the time determines the extent of our perception of what is good and bad as well as our level of empathy toward others. If you look at the classic example of children who were either lost or abandoned and raised by animals, they have no sense of morality in human terms. Their morality is learned from the animals through observation and interaction.

    At what point in our evolutionary development did God install our morality, so that none of our closest animal relatives have it?

    God did not instill our morality, because if he did, he gave a higher moral code than he has.

    There are lots of animals that display morality within their social groups, just as we do. Whether people like or not, the fact is we are animals as well regardless of whether a god exists or not. Morality isn't some airy fairy notion, it is simply a standard of behaviour within a social context. Apes, dolphins, dogs etc are all social creatures and their survival, much like ours depends on standard of behaviour that would ensure their survival.

    I want to be happy and avoid pain. Because we are the same species and our brains are pretty much wired the same, I would also assume others want to be happy and avoid and suffering. Bearing that in mind, even though I have my own goals in life and other peopl have theirs, it is hoped that we would want to pursue that life without causing any pain and suffering to others and vice versa, hence the reason we have laws in place to help weed out those that would want to intentionally cause disharmony.

  • moshe

    Thousands of years ago, before the invention of prisons and home door locks, society required the immediate death penalty, amputations and torture for a whole range of crimes against the tribe, in order to protect the tribe. I find it revealing that God never bothered to come back to change these old laws even after society had rejected them as immoral, even barbaric.

  • lifelong humanist
    lifelong humanist


    Donny, this has been one of the most intersting topics I've had the priviledge to read on JWN - thanks for starting it off. Due to committments, I've not had time to comment, so, I'd like to do so now. But first I'd like to also thank the posters that have already made comments on this thread - several posts have been excellent, and a credit to the posters thinking abilities.

    Personal morality, in my mind, is entirely different from a 'learned' morality as taught by parents, school teachers, religious upbringing, etc. Each human being has the ability to consider his/her actions and reactions to life's countless challenges before responding to any given situation. How a person reacts is governed by his/her experience, take on the subject, emotions involved, love or affection, and what people refer to as 'fellow-feeling' - some say empathy. I just like to think of it as trying to do the 'best' thing in whatever set of circumstances a person finds him/herself in. While some moral people would act first of all in their own best interests, I think the more moral person would also stop and consider carefully any/all others involved before acting or avoiding any action that could harm others.

    I know some people that I'd consider highly moral people that believe in a god. However, in my experience, the people that to me demonstrate an open, all-embracing morality are more likely not religiously minded. Seems to me that this suggests that believing in a god is not necessary to encourage people to believe in a high standard of morality - indeed, godless morality seems to be of a higher, fairer and altogether more caring variety. It certainly appeals to me. This is what I try to do each day.

  • designs


    Nice observation, people had to break from the Bible's approval of slavery to bring an end to the practice.

  • PSacramento

    Ok, fair enough points, so where did this notion of right and worng or of "fair play" as some call it, come from?

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