The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

God is required for morality or morals to exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 575 times Debate No: 98503
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




R1: Acceptance/definition clarification
R2: Main argument
R3: Rebuttal
R4: Closing(limited new argument only)

Morality defined
1) Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
virtue, goodness, good behavior, righteousness, rectitude, uprightness;
morals, principles, honesty, integrity, propriety, honor, justice, decency;
ethics, standards/principles of behavior, mores, standards

2) A particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.

On God:
For this debate, I will consider us to be discussing the concept of God as generally espoused by Christianity put forth by the Bible. If you wish to make reference another god claim please say so in your acceptance here in round 1.


I would like to accept this debate and will be arguing that morality is metaphysically depend upon God who is by definition a morally perfect being. I agree with all my opponents definitions.
Debate Round No. 1


Theist proponents often assert individual atheists can be good or moral but that there is no rationale for any objective moral standards without a God. Theists assert that a morally perfect lawgiver is required for objective morality to exist. They will also refer to the Bible and reference that in a number of places the Bible states that "God has written the law on our hearts" as a statement that he has provided us with an objective law or morality. These claims by theists don't hold for couple of different reasons and I will examine them here.

C1: The God of the Christian Bible is not a morally perfect by current standards of morality in society

a) God promotes Murder

"Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death...(Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

"Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death" (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

Murder is also promoted in the Bible in Hosea 9:11-16, Isaiah 14:21, and in a few places in Exodus and 1 Kings

b) God endorses slavery and prescribes the rules for it

Exodus 21:7-11 discussing the selling of daughters into slavery.

"Slaves obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve the sincerely as you would serve Christ (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Exodus 21:2-6 prescribes rules for owning Hebrew slaves.

"The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will only be punished lightly. Much is required from those whom much more is given. (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

I would submit to pro that any assertion based on these alone is enough to disqualify the God of the Bible as a morally perfect being.

C2: Moral standards do not require a supreme being

Morality is the product of human beings interacting as a social species. Let's examine a more precise framework of what morality is. Morality is a system by which to determine how one ought to act. It defines certain actions as good and others as bad. The pivotal question is this: good for what and bad for what? Can a certain act be bad for the rocks in the Earth or good for the stars in the sky? Only metaphorically. Nothing is good or bad to inanimate matter, but to human beings, it can be so. You can poison the soil, but that is not bad for the soil; it is as well off polluted as pristine. It is only bad for the creatures that depend on the soil. Therefore, morality can be better defined as a system by which to determine how one ought to act to the benefit of human beings.

Based on this concept of morality we can see that what is moral is what produces the greatest benefit for the greatest number. We determine this based on reason and empathy. We understand for example that murder is not beneficial to the greatest number of humans and we avoid that activity and punish it. The development of this objective framework of rules does not require the authoritarianism of a supreme being or God.

Humans have developed ethics and morality based on social conventions and utility not divine rule. This is why the civil law often does not correspond to the laws of a particular religious faith.

I look forward to Pro's arguments.


I am going to be arguing that moral values are grounded in the morally perfect God. I have a few arguments regarding this conclusion.

Argument (1)

1) Obligations are contingent upon a personnel entity.
2) Moral values are obligatory in that they pesrcribe behaviour.
3) Moral values transcend imperfect human persons.
4) Therefore a morally perfect transcendent personnel being (God) exists.

The philosopher Peter S Williams explains it like this:

An objective moral value is a transcendent ideal that prescribes and obligates behaviour; but an ideal implies a mind, a prescription requires a prescriber and an obligation is contingent upon a person. As H.P. Owen argues:

"On the one hand [objective moral] claims transcend every human person" On the other hand" it is contradictory to assert that impersonal claims are entitled to the allegiance of our wills. The only solution to this paradox is to suppose that the order of [objective moral] claims" is in fact rooted in the personality of God."

Argument (2)

1)On atheism there is absolutely no grounds for the existence of objectivie morality.
2)Objective morality exists.
3)Therefore atheism is false.(God exists)

This is also an argument for Gods existence but I use it hear because it depends on a proposition which supports this motion and fleshes it out to its conclusion. This argument is not arguing for the obviously false claim that atheists are immoral. Rather it relies on the proposition that on atheism there would be no reason to predict morality's existence. This is a proposition which is recognised not only Thiestic philosophers but also a large number of Athiest philosophers also.

Turning to the first premise, many atheists acknowledge that "if god doesn"t exist, then objective moral values don"t exist". For example, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that it is:

extremely embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven. There can no longer be any good a priori, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it.

The famous Richard Dawkins had this to say:

In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

And he's right(if atheism is true). Notice that he says "no design,no purpose,no evil,no good". Here he joins no design with no good or bad.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you to Pro for providing some thought out arguments. Let's analyze them.

Pro claims
1) Obligations are contingent upon a personnel entity.
2) Moral values are obligatory in that they pesrcribe behaviour.
3) Moral values transcend imperfect human persons.
4) Therefore a morally perfect transcendent personnel being (God) exists.

I can be in agreement with premise #1 and somewhat agree with # 2 but morals aren't obligatory across the board as different cultures view morals and ethics differently, this is also another argument against a single objective standard from a God. How does one say that moral values transcend persons? Lets define the usage of transcend.

1) be or go beyond the range or limits
2) surpass (a person or an achievement).

We can concede on a prima facia basis that humans are not perfect. Pro gives us some quotes but does not fully explain a) how morals go beyond the range or limits of human reason or thought, or b) how they surpass human ability to conceive of using utilitarian principles, basic reason, or empathy. I have shown in my base argument that God(of the Christian Bible since that was the agreed form of God stipulated to) in fact, is okay with murder yet every human society known to exist prohibits intentional killing with very few exceptions.

At a minimum to assert that an objective moral standard from a single God exists one would need to show that moral standards are identical across all societies. Pro has not done this.

Even if premises 1-3 of this argument are considered to be true, the conclusion of a transcendent personal being(God) can't be proven from this. You can't assume a single being it could be multiple Gods that agree on a moral code to give to humans. Also, there is nothing in Pro's argument that would necessitate that the being be a personal God. IF we assume 1-3 is true it could indeed have been a deistic impersonal God. This argument is insufficient to prove God's existence which is only a subtopic of this debate.


Pro Claims:
1)On atheism there is absolutely no grounds for the existence of objective morality.
2)Objective morality exists.
3)Therefore atheism is false.(God exists)

Yet we know that objective moral standards can be developed based on agreement of whole societies of humans to standards based on the greatest positive outcome for society. We know that murder is wrong and agree on it because having rampant murder threatens human self preservation and happiness. We can develop standards based on reason.

John Stuart Mill famously argued that we can know what is good and what is bad behavior based on outcomes and consequences. We can use that learning to develop objective models of how man ought to behave. This does not require at God or agent exterior to man's reason.

On Pro's premise #2 Objective standards of morality exist yes, because humans have created them over time based on utilitarian assessment of behavior that will bring the most positive outcomes for man.

Again even if Pro's premise #1 and #2 are correct, how does this lead one to a God specifically the God of the Bible? Pro has not shown in this argument that a God is necessary for the creation of objective moral standards.

One could argue that using utilitarian principles mean that the moral standards are subjective however they are not. The greatest positive outcome for the greatest number is not dependent of personal feelings or assessment but rather the ability to reason and use data independent of any one individual's feelings.

In both of Pro's arguments they continue to assert claims about objective morality which I have refuted. However, it should be noted the topic of the debate is not about objective morality specifically but rather morality in general.

I look forward to the next round.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by canis 2 years ago
Gods and morals are our own creations. Nobody needs to create gods.
Posted by RonPaulConservative 2 years ago
A good book to read is "The theory of Mortal Sentiments" By Adam Smith
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