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can you be good without god?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 700 times Debate No: 71617
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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I am new to this so I will try to explain myself to the best of my ability. Also my grammar is not the best so please bare with me.

So can you be good without god?
I say no you can not. Now before you start to argue back remember we are philosophers on here (that's the impression I got) define your terms what do we mean by good? Can we agree that good is a act that the one that is doing the GOOD act will think that that is the rite thing to do? Now who is to decide what good is then? I say what I do is good you say what you do is good so is there no ultimate good? Then why do we kill a killer that says it was the rite thing for him to do? So you will say society decides what's good. So what you are saying then that being good can change, what you are doing now and you think is good in a few years society might say is bad. What about when society changes rite after you did what the new society changes would it be fair for the new society to kill you? Why did we kill the Nazi soldiers? There society said its a good thing to kill those bad and inhuman people. (Not going into the none sense if its true or not) what about in a autocratic society? Who decides what's good? Can we agree the its the dictator that decides what good is? So let me see when I ask someone are you a good person and he says yes should the next question be to what society do you belong too? What I see is (correct me if I'm wrong) that the highest authority is the one that decides what good is. So if you are relaying on a human to tell you what good is it will always change from society to society from generation to generation. So when you say I don't believe in god but I am a good person. According to whom? What year were you born? What country? It makes no sense to me. But if god decides what good is (if you understand the definition of god and that's for another debate) that never changes. So can you be good without believing that there is a god? NO. Because, yes you may do good acts but its because you feel like being nice at the moment but if the guy or girl runs off with your boyfriend/girlfriend you will kill him because now you feel like killing the guy (I don't mean that in a literal sense but as a example) if its god telling you what's good or bad. No matter what your feeling tells you if its the rite thing to do because god says so that is GOOD and it will never change. It just makes no sense to me that being good or doing a good act can change. Now don't get me wrong here we are not talking about religion here that is for another debate.


I hope this is ok I am new at this as well

1) I will begin by saying that society is a source of good as you have disputed in you first argument. You sighted the Nazis and proof that society can not decide what is good and bad but you must also remember that they were also not the majority of society and they were fought by the other part of society because of moral issues.(war lust)

2) Now I will sight that many different cultures have different ideas of what good and bad is for example sharia law next to the American judicial system they have different rulings but both are considered good by who uses them. If there is no good without god then one of these systems must be wrong if there is an objective good then why would there be a need for different groups to uses different moral codes?

3) could you not use some other source to find good that does not involve a god for example governments or the evolution and secular reasoning( which I don’t know match about but the explanation missmedic gave here is good I think )

Debate Round No. 1


In #1 you are saying that society decides what good is but I don't see how your argument disproves what I said (that by society deciding there is no ultimate good and by that you added that its the biggest part of society) again we are back to what I asked. Does good change? Can a good action today become bad tomorrow? Now what if the majority of society would be on the side of the Nazis? Would you say then that it was OK to kill all those people? The fact that we won means nothing maybe we were less in numbers but stronger in power? (I'm not going to go into it if we were more or not its not relevant) So are you saying that power decides what's good? So tomorrow there is a power change and boom rape is OK killing is OK don't worry the power will decide that, talk to a dictator.

Again if there is a ultimate good it can never change no matter what. If not, then when I ask you are you a good person you can not say yes or no because you will have to give me a list according to whom you are considered good and whom not.

Regarding #2 no one says that there has to be 2 systems. What you said about Sharia vs American that is the argument here. And that is the argument in the whole world. Am I rite or are you? Can you debate a terrorist what good means? No because you have nothing in common with him he says its good to kill you say no. But you know that that is not good but he knows it is good. So who is rite? If there is no ultimate good then what do you want from the terrorist he is nothing better or worse then you and me.

Regarding #3 you saying about government. That answers nothing. Isn't government society? (And that is answered by what I said before) You elect who you think will define good the way you think and if you are lucky the majority of people will too and you have a government that says good is what you define it. And if the other side wins then good will be what they define it to be. And what you said regarding the other debates here on I didn't see any solid argument there to refute what I am saying. Its all around the same thing. "I don't need anyone to tell me what good is" well that's what we are taking about. Who said that what you think is good maybe what the other guy says is good? And again if its the majority that decides what if tomorrow the majority will be 18 year olds and they say we have to kill the elders and that is to be good. will you say that that is really good? (I hope I explain myself good I think way more then I write)


You make some valid points. However, I believe you dwell too strongly on the point that the power holders in a society makes the decision about with is good, and what is not. Just because you make the rules does not mean that you are able to decide what is good. using the Nazis as a example, they held power and set the rules, but there are many examples of people who disagreed with them, and resisted their authority. I believe there is a difference between what is legal and what is moral.

This brings us to the definition of society versus government. Oxford states that society is The community of peopleliving in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations, and government is a group of people with the authority to govern a country or state. Government is not the same thing as society. Assuming we have a democratic society, government is merely a tool to organize society, but is ultimately controlled by the greater population. Thus, government may decide what is law, but society decides what is good.

Can you debate a terrorist about the definition of what is good? Why not? was this terrorist not brought to his current thinking by the conviction of others? What is good is decided both by the individual and the society he finds himself in. The individual might change his definition to fit the one given to him by society, or he might try to change society’s definition to fit his own views.

Works Cited

"Definition of Government in English:." Government. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <;.

"Definition of Society in English:." Society. Web. 14 Mar. 2015. <;.
Debate Round No. 2


To start, yes I went off point by saying that the government defines good. The government merely reflects what society says is good. But regarding power deciding what good means, Yes in a autocratic society the power, the dictator decides what good is, the ones that believe in him will swear by it. the ones that don't, will be killed and all the rest, if you ask them, will understand that it was the rite thing to do because he/she was a bad person. even if it means that he/she only said something bad against the dictator. And by the way the government does have a strong influence on society because most of society in that country voted them in and trusts in them what they say. for instance global warming (it's not relevant here if its true or if I believe in it) many people have never done the research if its true or not, but if a high ranking official said its true it must be so. Now if that same official will say something is good or bad many people will follow with it without research and without thinking about it twice. and if a majority of society (country) will believe what he says? There you go he changed society's opinion. Again I'm not saying that the government decides what good is power does. Why did people trust that official? Because he/she is a powerful person and many people trust in power. Now I say many not all, but if the "many" is the majority.... You get the point I think.
Regarding the Nazis. Again the Nazis elected an official that said killing those people is good. Its irrelevant here if people were against it or not. Their society said that what Hitler says is what good means and I will do it. Yes there were people that were against it but you have the same in every society some join and some say it's wrong. Now by you saying that the majority makes the decision? What will happen tomorrow when the other side becomes majority? Will you say yesterday I was good today I'm bad because the other side won the war. What if Isis becomes the majority of the world and they take over will you say its OK what they do?
If you can debate a terrorist. You are asking why not. Well to debate you have to have something in common. Try this. You tell the terrorist. Why are you killing these people? Terrorist: well he is a bad person hes going against my belief. You: but its a bad thing to kill people. Terrorist: but in my book it says its a good thing to kill these kind or people. So will you go into a religious argument with him if his religion is true or not? I would walk away and hope someone kills him before he kills anyone this guy is crazy. The point I'm trying to make is this. Yes this terrorist was told all this but if you don't have an agreement a clear definition what good is how can you debate if I you or him is a good person or not? He will say what was said to him is good and you will say what was taught to you is good. Remember this is about god not religion. Follow the link


Is is possible that you are defining what is “good” according to your own moral standards? Not to defend the hypothetical terrorist, but we have yet to confirm that he is in fact “bad”, by his standards, or by God’s standards.

Sometimes dictators manage to hold onto power not through a belief by their citizens that the dictator is the epitome of goodness, but through fear of reprisals (death).

And sometimes the majority of a society is not in power (witness South Africa 20 years ago), so does not get to define what is good. Using the same example, when power shifted in south Africa and the majority of the population was given the vote, and thus democratic power, they did not turn on the minority group, and society survived. There was no need to change any definition of goodness.

Thank you for the debate!
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by eli845 3 years ago
So I hope I made myself clear. here is what's on that link

Sorry I'm new to I didn't realize how little 3000 characters is I hope this is OK for me to explain myself a bit better.

Many will ask how is it possible to believe that there is a god without religion? In the bible (not relevant here if its true or not) it talks about Abraham that he found god. Meaning that he recognized that there has to be there is a god. There was no religions back then they were all idol worshipers. And that's what I mean by "can you be good without god" not religion. Every religion will tell you that god told me what good means. But what they're all trying to say is, and all religions will agree to this one thing, yes there is a ultimate good but what I'm telling you is what god says is good. Now if I say I am a good person and I don't need a god to tell me what good means. So tell me what is good? What does it mean to be a good person? Is it what I say? Maybe its what you say? Maybe its what some religion says? How do you know what good is if good can change? And I'm talking about what everyone says means good. Let's say for instance killing. How do you know its bad to kill? what if you were born in a forest all alone would you not hunt to eat? So you will say I'm only going to eat from trees. Well how do you know if the tree doesn't hurt when you pull the fruit off and you're a bad person there too? I hope you get my point. If good is not ultimate how do you really know you're a good person? no matter what anyone says
Posted by hect 3 years ago
dam id loved to have been the pro for this debate
Posted by logicinlife 3 years ago
I'll be following this debate, seems interesting enough.
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