The Instigator
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
64 Points
The Contender
BobHiggs
Pro (for)
Losing
38 Points

Morality only truly exists without God.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 16 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,460 times Debate No: 6328
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
Votes (16)

 

InquireTruth

Con

My opponent has asserted in the comment section of another debate that morality only truly exists without God. I will let him go first.
BobHiggs

Pro

Morality (according to thefreedictionary.com) is defined as "The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct."
Now, morality may be able to exist with the presence of God. I did not say it couldn't. I did say that morality in its truest form exists in the absence of God.
When religious people do something good, they usually do it because they feel God wants them to do it, and they usually don't do wrong because they feel God does not want them to do it. A friend of mine who is a fair dedicated Christian told me he doesn't swear or use God's name in vain because he was taught it was wrong by his church and by the Bible. He did not do it because it is an inappropriate and vulgar way of speaking, but because he believed God thought it to be wrong.
Several atheists, however, will do the right thing and avoid the wrong thing because they are aware that it is the wrong thing to do, based on general knowledge and feeling.
This is not to say, however, that atheists always do the right thing, but religious groups have also not done the right thing. War has been waged over differing religious beliefs... war, which is composed of killing, killing, which is an immoral act. Had it not been for religion, there would be no Crusades, no World War II, and no War on Terror. The religious groups involved in these wars have done the wrong thing in the name of God.
Debate Round No. 1
InquireTruth

Con

Introduction:
I would like to thank my opponent, BobHiggs, for accepting my challenge to debate this topic.

The given definition of morality is "the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct."

1. Warrant for right and wrong

My opponent suggests that without God true morality can exist. My opponent must explain the warrant he has for calling one choice "moral" and another choice "not moral?" If morality is being in accord with the standards of right conduct, I ask my opponent: how do we know what these standards are? Where do they come from? And what is the warrant to call them so? There is no one moral code that is deeply entrenched within the human mind as to be universal and unquestionable. We find that the concept of morality differs between cultures; even within a given culture there are sub-cultures who fight against the unspoken agreement and try to redefine moral terms. Different cultures have different moral codes. Which culture is right, and by what objective standard to we judge them by? My opponent has furnished no such standard.

Rightness must have a source if it is to actually exist – and just as heat has a heat source – rightness must have a right source. God, is defined as perfectly moral, the only plausible source of rightness. Heat becomes less as it distances from the heat source. These levels of heat imply a source for that heat. Just as levels of right, imply a source of rightness. Therefore, before my opponent can be correct about morality, he must first define the warrant to call something either "right" or "wrong."

Example: If I went up to a certain person and said, "Do not lift your arms above your shoulders because it is wrong." He would most certainly respond something like, "Why is it wrong?" How do we determine whether or not this action is wrong if I have no warrant in which to call it so?

2. My opponent misunderstands Christian morality

My opponent suggests that the reason a person who believes in God cannot truly be moral is because they do not do wrong things simply because they are wrong, but because God told them so. The problem is that Christians practice morality the way in which my opponent says is not possible. Christians do things because they are right, and they do not do things because they are wrong. The ONLY difference between a Godhave and a Godless is that the Godhave has warrant in which to call things right or wrong.

Good and Evil do not exist without God because we have no measure to judge them as such. If we cannot be good without God, then any idea of objective morality cannot exist. Because objective morality means that it is right or wrong independent of whether someone thinks it as such. Those who participated in the anti-Semitic atrocities of Nazism thought what they were doing was right, but even if the whole world thought it was right, if God exists, an object standard to know that it is actually wrong exists. If no such standard exists, we cannot call it wrong!

Example: I do not kill because it is wrong. I can call it wrong because God has commanded it as such. An atheist does not kill because it is wrong. The atheist has no warrant in which to call it so. True morality can ONLY exist with God because there is an objective standard in which to determine "right" and "wrong."

Conclusion:

My opponent's points cannot stand because he has given no warrant for calling some things "right" and other things "wrong." My opponent's points cannot stand because those who believe in God also do things simply because they are wrong. Indeed, if God is not, everything is permissible.
BobHiggs

Pro

My opponent says that morality only exists in the presence of God because God is a being that can warrant morality. My initial statement was that morality is most pure when it is performed without warrant. What makes God the authority on morality?
And let's just assume for a minute that I am an atheist. I do not believe in God, but I still perform moral deeds in spite of his presence. God is not influencing my decision to do "right" or "wrong."
Where do you suppose polytheists learned morality? There were no writings of morality, and there was a god of morality. True, they may have been more immoral in those times, but still knew that certain things were right and wrong.
Humans have learned and adapted to behaving in a moral way over time, with little to no relation to God.
Debate Round No. 2
InquireTruth

Con

"My initial statement was that morality is most pure when it is performed without warrant."

You have the burden to prove that morality can exist without warrant! If I say that it is wrong to dance and you tell me it is not – who is right? We both appeal to the same thing – no-thing.

"What makes God the authority on morality?"

My point is that moral objectivity and moral obligation exist with God.

"And let's just assume for a minute that I am an atheist. I do not believe in God, but I still perform moral deeds…"

What are these moral deeds? How do we define moral deeds? Where do they come from? Why must we obey them? And how are they universally applicable? Morality without warrant is no morality at all!

"God is not influencing my decision to do ‘right' or ‘wrong.'"

And God does not necessarily influence the Christian. The Christian may very well do things simply because they are right – without God's influence. HOWEVER, the Christian has warrant to call the thing in which he has done "right."

"True, they may have been more immoral in those times"

How do you know they were immoral? What standard of morality are you judging them by? You are assuming that an objective standard of morality exists, but you are not giving any warrant for its existence!

"Humans have learned and adapted to behaving in a moral way over time, with little to no relation to God. "

So morality did not evolve? Humans only evolved to fulfill that morality?

My opponent did not answer and/or refute any of the following points:

1. Warrant for right and wrong
Rightness must have a source if it is to actually exist – and just as heat has a heat source – rightness must have a right source. God, is defined as perfectly moral, the only plausible source of rightness. Heat becomes less as it distances from the heat source. These levels of heat imply a source for that heat. Just as levels of right, imply a source of rightness. Therefore, before my opponent can be correct about morality, he must first define the warrant to call something either "right" or "wrong."

2. Christian morality

I do not kill because it is wrong. I can call it wrong because God has commanded it as such. An atheist does not kill because it is wrong. The atheist has no warrant in which to call it so. True morality can ONLY exist with God because there is an objective standard in which to determine "right" and "wrong."
BobHiggs

Pro

"You have the burden to prove that morality can exist without warrant! If I say that it is wrong to dance and you tell me it is not - who is right? We both appeal to the same thing - no-thing."

This is true, and applies to every religious argument you can ever have, not excluding this one.

"My point is that moral objectivity and moral obligation exist with God."

You've proved this by saying without God, there would be no way to judge good or evil. But can't that be described by society? If you commit a crime, society will judge and shun you. So if what you're arguing is true, then without punishment, there would be no morality, not without God.

"What are these moral deeds? How do we define moral deeds? Where do they come from? Why must we obey them? And how are they universally applicable? Morality without warrant is no morality at all!"

As I've said, moral deeds are defined by what society believes are right and wrong. Moral deeds are not universally applicable, with or without God. Judaism and Christianity have different ideas of right and wrong, the United States and Afghanistan have different ideas of right and wrong, because they have different societies, as well as the United States. Islam and Christianity have the same God, but different beliefs, so it can't be God that's the authority on good and evil.

"And God does not necessarily influence the Christian. The Christian may very well do things simply because they are right – without God's influence. HOWEVER, the Christian has warrant to call the thing in which he has done "right."

So the Christian does right without the influence of God, meaning God does not define morality, so they're doing what's right with the absence of God to make that decision.

"How do you know they were immoral? What standard of morality are you judging them by? You are assuming that an objective standard of morality exists, but you are not giving any warrant for its existence!"

I'm judging them by the morality that you and I are familiar with: modern American society. If I cheered two people on to murder each other, that would be considered immoral.

"So morality did not evolve? Humans only evolved to fulfill that morality?"

No, morality has evolved to conform to society.

"Rightness must have a source if it is to actually exist – and just as heat has a heat source – rightness must have a right source. God, is defined as perfectly moral, the only plausible source of rightness. Heat becomes less as it distances from the heat source. These levels of heat imply a source for that heat. Just as levels of right, imply a source of rightness. Therefore, before my opponent can be correct about morality, he must first define the warrant to call something either "right" or "wrong."

Can you prove that righteousness has a right source? Just because God is perfectly moral does not make him the only source of righteousness. It's a very philosophical question, you can say that God is the warrant for morality, and I can say that Mohandas Gandhi was the source of morality. What's the difference?

"I do not kill because it is wrong. I can call it wrong because God has commanded it as such. An atheist does not kill because it is wrong. The atheist has no warrant in which to call it so. True morality can ONLY exist with God because there is an objective standard in which to determine "right" and "wrong."

An atheist does not kill because society has commanded it morally wrong. Society MAY also be an objective standard that determines right and wrong.

Also, I'm indifferent as to where you believe morality comes from. It exists. That's all we can prove. We can not prove its origin, and the origin does not matter... everyone has a standard of right and wrong, even if they are from different religious backgrounds.
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Lunar_Daze 8 years ago
Lunar_Daze
Why is every debate that mentions religion only about Christianity and it's teachings? This is frustrating. Move on about your religion, it doesn't state Christian God.
Posted by Galiban 8 years ago
Galiban
What I am trying to relay is that you have not viewed all of the necessary information. I thank you for the complements but I have years of knowledge and study on the subject. It is difficult to speak to someone that supposes that the information is not convincing when in a forum I can only give snippets for you to start your investigation.

JJM280 is pointing to an irrelavent line of evidence to the concept which I know for certain He/She has never looked at. Most outside of Christianity do not know the concept of Zion. Perhaps that clarifies sir!
Posted by mecap 8 years ago
mecap
"Miss all of that information and then find one thing... that is absolutely irrelevant to the concept and state that like somehow I am wrong.... that is the essence of unbelief."

> I feel like you're Fox Mulder and nobody is believing what you're saying... the problem is this, you offer some relatively unsubstantiated sources and ideas in line with conspiracy theories. While you're VERY bright and articulated you seem to be going off into tangents that just don't get traction against commonly accepted knowledge. In your last response to me you seemed to be surprised that I'm not Christian, but evidently my religion has nothing to do with the fact that the ideas you're proposing are not very convincing, as jjmd280 testified.
Posted by Galiban 8 years ago
Galiban
I need to correct something.
All the other ones but Shinto claim and know they are Jewish. Jewish is not Genetic, Christians are Jews and so are any believers that are pre-Jewish Nations. The religion is analyzed not the genetics.... The key is the moral code and the information in the religion. Though corrupted it is distinctly jewish.

It is simply showing that every nation and philosophy in the world is affected by we "Jews".
He has been everywhere and is everywhere. It was the purpose of first Shem to teach all people, then Israel, and now the Christian Church.

I simply do not understand why you would respond that way. Miss all of that information and then find one thing... that is absolutely irrelevant to the concept and state that like somehow I am wrong.... that is the essence of unbelief. It is finding any reason to deny the evidence that points to truth.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Jews and Japanese have had their DNA analyzed and there is no connection. This paper is interesting, but just speculation - you could say that the original Jews were Japanese, and you'd have as much proof.
Posted by Galiban 8 years ago
Galiban
I am sorry, there is so much information I thought you already had.
I have studied Western philosophy and its roots. Pre Socratic straight through.
Please Study Zion (the understanding that Christians started the world, we are only recently called Christians, we are actually Jews), Christopher Columbus Book of Prophecies... lets see what else... , Also this link that you will never find yourself.
http://www5.ocn.ne.jp...
This just details one aspect of Judaism and its effect on the whole world.
Read the Old Testament Purpose of Judaism as the nation of evangelism, as it was the source of knowledge of God and was sent to all of the world.

Justin Martyr is a good start for Early "Christianity". His work "dialogue with Trypho" is a great read and helps to understand how Western Philosophy is similiar to Christianity. You can stop after the first 15 chapters as they are pertinent to your study.

Hit me with questions as you need.
Posted by Galiban 8 years ago
Galiban
OH I UNDERSTAND NOW! I thought you were Christian! You do not know Zion!
Posted by mecap 8 years ago
mecap
Galiban,
I told you before: I agree with you 100%, the Founding Fathers were Christian, but they did not believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible and held widely popular Western Philosophical views. I really can't make this up, it's part of history... but it's OK, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

"Almost all of the tenents that have been "good" have lined up with Christian values."
> As I said, there is nothing in the constitution that suggests the country was founded on Christian values. And what are these Christian values anyway? As I said, don't murder, steal and lie were values way before Christianity came about, so they're not anything new... only 3 of the 10 commandments are a law in the USA and those are the 3 that are universal to EVERYBODY in the world!

"This concept of Western Philosophy still came from Judeo Christian values though I do not agree that was a staple in the founders belief system."
> That's patently false, Western Philosophy predates Christianity... Western Philosophy refers "to the philosophical thinking of Western civilization, beginning with Greek philosophy in ancient Greece, and eventually covering a large area of the globe, including North America and Australia." (wikipedia)

Again, the reason we know so much about John Locke is because he had such an enormous impact on the founding fathers and their philosophy (along with many of the Americans who lived in that time). Locke was a Christian too, but he was not an Evangelical Christian, he didn't agree with the bible word for word. Take a look at Jefferson: he wrote his OWN VERSION of the Bible, he took out ALL the miracles from the New Testament, but he is still considered a Christian. They may not fit your definition of Christian, but they certainly believed they were Christians.

Ultimately, we have to look at what they did: they did NOT include ANY foundational Christian morals in the constitution! One could say that they even went against Christian belie
Posted by Galiban 8 years ago
Galiban
I have shown you an overwhelming amount of proof and information. I hope it will guide you into understanding that your viewpoint may not be accurate. Almost all of the tenents that have been "good" have lined up with Christian values. It will take you many years to study it out I know. I will also continue to study what you are putting out here.
But ultimately you are wrong on the concept of western philosophy. I am deeply saddened that I can weigh the exact same evidence in read all of the works of the original founding fathers (All of them, In High School GA had alot more priority on state development.) I do not hold to 18 men being the sole directive or even the majority directive.
They were politicians who thought it was important to submit to the will of the people and nearly all the people were Christians. This concept of Western Philosophy still came from Judeo Christian values though I do not agree that was a staple in the founders belief system.
Posted by mecap 8 years ago
mecap
"I am still at a loss where they prescribed to western philosophy... We as Christians made the philosophy of America and have always directed the course of the nation. I guess I am not just understanding."
> Historians have recognized John Locke's philosophy as having the biggest influence on the founding fathers of America (Locke is a Western Philosopher), the formulated rights, constitutions, amendments and morals based on Locke's philosophy:

"...patriots of the Revolution, the Framers of the Constitution, the Federalists and anti-Federalists alike, and the Jeffersonian republicans in the Federalist era were most deeply committed to ... the social and political principles nowhere more clearly enunciated than in the writings of John Locke" (p. x) (Locke in America: The Moral Philosophy of the Founding Era.)

[QUOTE]"Locke exercised a profound influence on political philosophy, in particular on a classical republicanism and much later on a modern liberalism. Most contemporary libertarians claim him as an influence. He had a strong influence on Voltaire. His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced the written works of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers of the United States. In addition, Locke's views influenced the American and French Revolutions." (wikipedia)

I think the confusion comes with this: the US has a LOT of Christians and Christianity has certainly left it's print in America, I completely agree with you on that. But history has shown that the founding fathers were HEAVILY influenced by Western Philosophers like Locke and when they established the root documents of this country (constitution etc.) they primarily based it on Western Philosophy (Locke). Again, the Christian influence in the USA is significant, I think this makes it REALLY hard for a lot of people to make the distinction, but the USA was not *FOUNDED* on Christian Principles.
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