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God and morality
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Author:  Nooj [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  God and morality

NB: I wrote this on another forum, but modified it a little.

Does God have reasons for commanding what he commands? For example, why did God command us not to steal, instead of commanding us to steal instead.

One could say that stealing is inherently wrong, and so God couldn't tell us to do something that was against his nature. But what can be wrong other than what God judges it to be, and so how can something be 'inherently' wrong? By saying something is inherently wrong, aren't we saying that a standard of right and wrong exists independently from God e.g. God could never make stealing a moral act. The implication is that God does not establish whether something is right or wrong.

But if he commands us not to steal because there is a reason why we should do/not do it, those reasons stand apart from God. So if Satan told us not to steal because of that same reason, his commands would be just as moral as God's. We follow the reason, not God.

The other option is that God commands what he commands for no reason at all, in which case God's morality is arbitrary.

^
Thoughts?

Author:  Athanasius [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

God is reason itself. Hence there can be no reason that is outside of God. Reason is not separate from Him anymore than matter existed outside of His commanding it into existence. We re neither Epicureans, who believe there is no order aka modern atheist, nor are we Platonists who believe reason and order are outside of God. God is life, order, reason, etc.

To the degree that we have been "born again" we have been renewed in our full human nature. I.e., reason has been put back into our nature because God has been placed back into our nature.

CDL

Author:  SlowButFaithful [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Nooj wrote:
One could say that stealing is inherently wrong, and so God couldn't tell us to do something that was against his nature.

This style of thinking is backwards. God reflects the perfection of every ideal: truth, justice, wisdom, etc. One of these perfections is 'goodness.' Because goodness is an attribute of His nature, He cannot 'do' or accept something that is not good -- such as stealing, which causes harm to another person. His commandment to not steal is a reflection of His own nature, not the other way around.

Author:  Cyprian [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Hebrews 6:18 "...it is impossible for God to lie..."
God cannot lie, because God is Truth. That is God's nature, and by definition, cannot be other than His nature. That which is in accordance with God's nature is moral. That which is opposed to it is immoral.

All the commandments are expressions of the nature of the Triune God.
There is no moral standard "outside" of God. The nature of God Himself is the foundation for morality.

There is nothing arbitrary about the commands of God.

Author:  Athanasius [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Cyprian wrote:
Hebrews 6:18 "...it is impossible for God to lie..."
God cannot lie, because God is Truth. That is God's nature, and by definition, cannot be other than His nature. That which is in accordance with God's nature is moral. That which is opposed to it is immoral.

All the commandments are expressions of the nature of the Triune God.
There is no moral standard "outside" of God. The nature of God Himself is the foundation for morality.

There is nothing arbitrary about the commands of God.


Dan,

Do you think this is the crux of the nonsensical claims made by Atheists that "We are moral too"?

CDL

Author:  Cyprian [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Most atheists which I have read do believe there is a standard of morality. Some say it is based in culture...or some sort of "social contract" that we have made with each other...others believe that somehow through the process of evolution we have developed a "somewhat" universal code of morality which has help the human race survive. Generally their point is that we don't "need" a God out there in order to believe in right and wrong.

In the end, however, all other systems fail. If when I die, it's all over and I am plunged into the darkness of black night forever, with no consciousness, no heaven, no hell, no reward, no punishment...if there is, in fact, no God in whose moral image I am created, then, hey, why not take my chances on getting what I can in this life...even if, in order to get ahead, I have to push you down! Why should I be concerned if the human race survives another generation or not? What difference does it really make whether it does or not? Why does anything matter at all?

Author:  Cyprian [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Actually, here is where the Christian has it all over the atheist. The atheist says he doesn't believe in God...but, because the Christian IS right about the atheist (he is, in spite of his beliefs, created in the image of God), he cannot help but act like a Christian...that is, he just can't seem to live consistently with his atheism. He keeps insisting he has morality, when, in fact, a consistent atheist wouldn't need morality at all. He keeps getting angry if I steal from him, or trick him, or deceive him, or cheat him. He just keeps acting like there really is a standard "out there" that we should both live by.

Author:  Nooj [ Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Cyprian wrote:
In the end, however, all other systems fail. If when I die, it's all over and I am plunged into the darkness of black night forever, with no consciousness, no heaven, no hell, no reward, no punishment...if there is, in fact, no God in whose moral image I am created, then, hey, why not take my chances on getting what I can in this life...even if, in order to get ahead, I have to push you down! Why should I be concerned if the human race survives another generation or not? What difference does it really make whether it does or not? Why does anything matter at all?
Some would say that doing good actions for the sake of them being good is enough. If God abolished heaven and hell and the afterlife, do you think religious believers would stab their neighbour in the back, start raping and pillaging etc?

Some atheists are Buddhists and believe in a system of rebirth where actions in this life have a consequence in the next. So that motivates some into acting the way they do. There's a variety of reasons why atheists hold the moral positions they do, for more detail you'll have to ask one of us individually. I can only really speak for my own views.

I don't think moral indifference is an inevitable position of atheism, just one option that a person chooses to hold. I think religious believers are equally susceptible.

SlowButFaithful wrote:
Nooj wrote:
One could say that stealing is inherently wrong, and so God couldn't tell us to do something that was against his nature.

This style of thinking is backwards. God reflects the perfection of every ideal: truth, justice, wisdom, etc. One of these perfections is 'goodness.' Because goodness is an attribute of His nature, He cannot 'do' or accept something that is not good -- such as stealing, which causes harm to another person. His commandment to not steal is a reflection of His own nature, not the other way around.


I don't understand you. When you say God cannot accept something not good like stealing, how do you know that this action is not good?

You state that it causes harm to another person, so is that why stealing is not good?

Author:  Cyprian [ Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Quote:
If God abolished heaven and hell and the afterlife, do you think religious believers would stab their neighbor in the back, start raping and pillaging etc?


No, for this reason: there really IS a God and we really are created in God's image. Thus, moral categories are ingrained into the creation itself.
My statement only makes sense in an atheistic worldview.

As far as Buddhists and Hindus are concerned. You are correct. I was speaking of the particularly materialistic atheists.

Author:  SlowButFaithful [ Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: God and morality

Nooj wrote:
SlowButFaithful wrote:
Nooj wrote:
One could say that stealing is inherently wrong, and so God couldn't tell us to do something that was against his nature.

This style of thinking is backwards. God reflects the perfection of every ideal: truth, justice, wisdom, etc. One of these perfections is 'goodness.' Because goodness is an attribute of His nature, He cannot 'do' or accept something that is not good -- such as stealing, which causes harm to another person. His commandment to not steal is a reflection of His own nature, not the other way around.


I don't understand you. When you say God cannot accept something not good like stealing, how do you know that this action is not good?

You state that it causes harm to another person, so is that why stealing is not good?

Now you want to argue the definition of 'good'. Start here. We have to agree on terms to have a rational discussion.

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