The Instigator
jesussaves
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
KhalifV
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Can We Be Good Without God?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
KhalifV
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,223 times Debate No: 59816
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

jesussaves

Pro

As a Christian, I have noticed that many non believers can also be moral. Don't get the wrong idea. I truly do believe atheists can be moral. Why do they know morality? It is written on their heart. They know it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc. You don't need to read the 10 commandments to know those.

My point is that atheists can know morality, but they can't justify morality. With an atheistic worldview, a society where people kill is no different than one where people give to the poor. It is just a matter of opinion. Or is it?

Who defines it? Is it just opinion? Does culture define it? Does our government define it? If it is just an opinion, then we have no right to condemn the Nazis for what they did. If culture defines it, well, we are just maybe part of a different culture. In some cultures they take care of their children and some they kill them? Which is better and why? If government defines morality, once again, we can't condemn the Nazis.

With that being said, I have many atheist friends who are great people. Some of them are the nicest people I know. They base their lives on what they call secular moral systems. For example, famous atheist Matt Dillahunty builds a secular model of morality.

You start with some "obvious" presuppositions" according to Mr. Dillahunty, such as life is generally preferable to death, health is generally preferable to sickness, and pleasure is generally preferable to pain. However, that is a fallacy. He is just appealing to opinion. So what if more people prefer life to death?

Some atheists believe we can have objective moral standards while others believe it is all relative. How does matter and energy define morality? That is all their is if their is no god.

But God has written it on your heart. You know right from wrong. Without God, everything is permitted. Once again, I have not once stated atheists can't be moral; they just can't justify it. Think about that.
KhalifV

Con

You're first round was kind of vague.
In this round, I just want to put a few thoughts out there and see your responses in order to sufficiently gauge your position.

Consequentialism-
"Consequentialism, as its name suggests, is the view that normative properties depend only on consequences."
On Consequentialism acts that promote well being are good.
Deontology-
"Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules."

On Deontology, certain acts are said to be moral or not moral, however these acts seem consequential.
Like in Christianity, when killing is forbidden, it's because the world will be better that way.

The objective aim of morality seems to be to maximize well being.

" Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, usually defined as maximizing total benefit and reducing suffering or the negatives. "

So if I am correct in deducing that the aim of morality is to increase well being, then Consequentialism, specifically Utilitarianism, seems to be a good way to account for morality.

Next round I will elaborate and get into the worst nightmare of theological ethics......the Euthyphro dillema, DUN DUN DUNN.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://plato.stanford.edu...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
jesussaves

Pro

You have certainly used some big words, but no real evidence of how we can be good without God. I want to know how you as a human being can know right from wrong. unless there is a higher standard than humanity.

Morality has more to do with just well-being of others. I can certainly do many things that many people would consider wrong without hurting anyone. I have told lies in my life. For example, I once lied to my parents about studying for a test when I didn't. That lie didn't harm anyone. Is it still wrong?

I assume you would say yes. Why? Because as I said before, it is written on your heart. You know right from wrong.
KhalifV

Con

Pro has really missed the point. I wonder if he actually read my argument.

Through reason and rationality, I can analyze ethical systems and deduce a common goal, which is well-being.
You can't just dismiss my arguments because the words are big.

You on the otherhand have provided no evidence for the claim "it's written on my heart".
I hope you don't literally mean that.

If you lying did not hurt anyone, then it was not immoral.

Constructive Dillema:

I. Is something good because God commands it so or does God command it so because it is good?

II. If something is good because the God commands that it is so, then what is morally reprehensible to us can be good.

III. If God commands that it is good because it is good, then the good is greater than God.

IV. So, either the good is arbitrary or good is greater than God.

Pro has argued that good is arbitrary, so good must be greater thhan good.

http://wiki.ironchariots.org...

If it's the case, there can be an objective morality without god, then the resolution is negated

Debate Round No. 2
jesussaves

Pro

Without God, everything is arbitrary including morality. When you hurt someone, who's standard are you breaking? Atoms? Matter? Energy?

"Morality is about the well being of others." Well what about all the wrong things I can do without hurting someone? Imagine this: I have a rich neighbor with millions and millions of dollars. One day he isn't home and I go into his house and find a really expensive piece of jewelery in his house and I decide to take it. Maybe he was never going to wear it so I didn't hurt anyone.

Here is another scenario (I admit I actually did this when I was in 3rd grade). When I was in school, parents were required to sign your tests to prove to the teacher that you showed it to them. I decided to forge my mom's signature because I flunked a test and didn't want her to know. I ended up getting away with it. Who did I hurt? Myself? No I didn't. I actually helped myself.

As you notice, there are many wrong things I can do without hurting others. Morality isn't a conclusion that we draw based on evidence. It is something that is written on our heart. I admit it seems like people have different ideas of morality but some people just choose to ignore their conscience.

Something isn't morally wrong because it harms someone; it is simply because God said so. Atheists can be moral. They just can't justify it according to their worldview. I know many atheists who say that morality is relative and we simply decide what is moral or not. If that is the case, I can't condemn Pol Pot or Adolf Hitler.
KhalifV

Con

Pro's scenarios are not immoral because they did not cause harm.

Pro says: " Something isn't morally wrong because it harms someone; it is simply because God said so "
This is divine command theory:" Divine command theory is a meta-ethical theory which proposes that an action's status as morally good is equivalent to whether it is commanded by God. The theory asserts that what is moral is determined by what God commands, and that to be moral is to follow his commands."

Once again, there are many problems with this.

Let me reitterate.

Objection 1: Constructive Dillema:

I.
Is something good because God commands it so or does God command it so because it is good?

II. If something is good because the God commands that it is so, then what is morally reprehensible to us can be good.

III. If God commands that it is good because it is good, then the good is greater than God.

IV. So, either the good is arbitrary or good is greater than God.

If DCT is true, then god could make torturing babies moral. Then in such a case, morality is arbitrarily defined by god.
If he can't, then good transcends god.

Objection 2: Autonomy

" Michael Austin draws attention to an objection from autonomy, which argues that morality requires an agent to freely choose which principles they live by. This challenges the view of divine command theory that God's will determines what is good because humans are no longer autonomous, but followers of an imposed moral law, making autonomy incompatible with divine command theory "

Objection 3: What god?

Many gods have been proposed throughout history. Some religions contradict others, so it's impossible to know what religon is right, if any are right. If god X commands one thing to be moral, and god Y commands something contrary, to be moral, then we are in trouble.

Objection 4: Free will(II)

P1) Free will is a prerequisite to being a moral agent
P2) If an omniscient god exists, humans have no free will.
C1) Humans are not moral agents
C2) Divine command theory is non-sense

P1: Imagine an evil scientists who creates a robot to torture and kill people.
The robot is programmed to do the acts and can't not do them. I would say the scientist is immoral, not the robot.

P2: Problem Of Free Will(Non-gods):
P1)An omniscient god knows the future.
P2) An omniscient god can't be wrong.
P3) An omniscient god can predict your actions and can't be wrong.
P4)An omniscient god knows your actions.

C1) You don't have free will.

Both conclusions follow.

If humans are not moral agents, then a moral theory is incoherent.

Objection 5: No exceptions :(

P1) What god commands is moral
P2) God can't command something to be immoral and moral at the same time
C) Things that are moral are always moral

We run into big problems on this framework.
You can't kill anybody EVER.
You are not morally justified in killing Hitler or Stalin to save millions of lives.

If a man came to your door with a chainsaw, and asked to see your young child, you are not justified in lying to him.

Moral absolutism is crazy.

Utilitarianism is a good moral system:
.Mill’s Proof of Utilitarianism (Straightforward Interpretation)
P1. The only proof that an object is visible is that people actually see it.
P2. The only proof that a sound is audible is that people actually hear it.
C1.The only proof that a thing is desirable is that people actually desire it (analogical inference,P1, P2).
P3. If the only proof that a thing is desirable is that people actually desire it and each person actuallydesires happiness for herself, then each person’s happiness is desirable for herself.
P4. Each person actually desires happiness for herself
.
C2. The only proof that a thing is desirable is that people actually desire it and each personactually desires happiness for herself (conjunction, C1, P4)
.
C3. Each person’s happiness is desirable for herself (modus ponens, P3, C2).
C4.The general happiness is desirable for the aggregate of all persons.

It is rational and intuitive.
We naturally regard well-being/ joy as desirable and pain as undesirable.

We act in a utilitarian way all the time.
If someone broke into your house, I'm you wouldn't let them kill you and your family on the basis of murder is always wrong.

Utilitarianism encourages people to act in a way that makes the most number of people happy. What could be more intuitive?


Conclusion:
1.I have shown why divine command theory fails
2. I have given reasons as to why we should accept utilitarianism as an ethical theory.
If the common aim of morality is well-being, then utilitarianism must be true and thus atheists can justify morality.

http://www.sjsu.edu...
http://www.academia.edu...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by YT 2 years ago
YT
Morality does not need to be justified by religion. Morality has more to do with people who value social order, and who have pride as being human.
We are social animals. In order to live safe in society, we abide to the rules and we expect others to abide as well. Unconsciously we have pride in behaving in a moral way.
There are of course some people who abide to the rules because of fearing punishment.
For people who claim to have morals because of religion is like saying "I don't steal because I could get punished". I would regard such a person as very immoral.
Talking about the Abrahamic religions ( Judaism, Christianity, Islam), alot of immoral behaviour such as genocide has been justified in the name of religion. Hence Religion has been used to justify immoral behaviour as much as moral behaviour. Making the argument weak that religion is a requirement for morality.
I am sure those Catholic priests who molested children found excuses for their crimes through "Faith"
One good example where religious faith had nothing to do with morality.
After the earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan, there was hardly any looting or rioting. Most Japanese are Shinto and Bhuddists, and although spirituality is taught, there is not much talk of morality through those religious faith.
On the other hand, we know what happened in Louisianna after Hurricane Katrina.
Posted by DonRCavalier 2 years ago
DonRCavalier
Throughout history Man has killed, maimed, and wiped out whole communities of other Men, Women, and Children in the name of their Religion...they were "Believers." What other animal species on Earth kills each other in such large numbers this way? Morality is Man's natural instinct to protect himself and his community/family from harm and to promote well being in order to prosper as a species.

In this sense Religion destroys morality, not the other way around.
Posted by AlexanderOc 2 years ago
AlexanderOc
How do atheists justify morality? The same way we justify eveything else "God" did, Evolution.
Morals are just an evolutionary trait that was made to benefit the species.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
jesussavesKhalifVTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's first round was a jumble, and he set himself up as "Pro" despite being Con. He never really set up a cohesive resolution or framework to support it. In contrast, Con actually got into ethical theory and showed that one could be good without god--though he was Con in the setup, I think he successfully rebutted Pro's case, which lacked rigor. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Vote Placed by YaHey 2 years ago
YaHey
jesussavesKhalifVTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: S&G: A few errors, especially in the second round. Con showed the superiority of secular morality and that those with no God can still be good without one. Only Con used sources