Materialism cannot account for morality

Morality…if there isn’t any God to issue commandments to us, then why think that we have any moral duties? On the atheistic view, human being don’t seem to have any moral obligations to one another. For example, in the animal kingdom, if lion kills a zebra, it kills the zebra but it doesn’t murder the zebra. If a great white shark copulates forcibly with a female, it forcibly copulates with the female, but it doesn’t rape the female, for there is no moral dimension to these actions. None of these things is prohibited or commanded; they are neither forbidden nor obligatory. So if God doesn’t exist, why think that we have any moral obligations? Who or what imposes such prohibitions or obligations upon us? Where do they come from? It is hard to see why moral duties would be anything more than the illusory by-products of social and parental conditioning.

. . . If there isn’t any moral law giver then there isn’t any moral law that imposes itself upon us.

–William Lane Craig

 

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13 thoughts on “Materialism cannot account for morality

  1. And because we are a social species with empathy. Not hard to figure out. Not sure why religious people have such a hard time with this – maybe the ones that do lack the empathy and moral compass needed to act ethically without being dictated to by an ancient book of horrors.

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  2. If there is no God and we derive our morality solely from governing bodies, then the state becomes our absolute.

    And what if the state takes a wrong turn? What do we do, for instance, if the state approves killing the mentally ill, the aged, or eliminating a certain ethnic group (i.e. as under the Nazi’s)? We would no doubt find that decision to be morally offensive, but where do we get such a notion? If the state is our highest court of appeal for defining morals, how can we even think of questioning their decisions? And to what higher moral authority are we referring when we make such a judgement? It now appears that our “absolute” is absolutely wrong, and we stand in judgement upon it. This is problematic situation for one who has turned the state into a god.

    Could it be that we have a moral compass written into the fabric of our being by a loving Creator, and try as we will to reject the idea, our persistent moral judgements of others, the state, and government tell us otherwise?

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    • If you only do what you believe to be “good things” because you’re afraid of some supernatural force or “going to hell” then you’re probably not a good person to begin with. Atheists can do good things because they empathize with their follow man. There’s nothing wrong with moral relativism, and human beings don’t need spirituality for moral guidance.

      Also, even if it would be nice if there were some objective set of morals from a supernatural place, that doesn’t make it so. There’s still no evidence for such a force, so we have to take moral relativism as what we have.

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    • No it couldn’t, such a motion is unnecessary. We know the horrors you refer to are wrong if we consider how we want to be treated (or people that we love).
      We instinctively know what is right or wrong because we have empathy with other people. People without empathy are capable of doing wrong to others.
      There is no role for a divine law maker in that.
      It seems possible that religious followers need a motion of divine laws because they lack that instinctive sense of right or wrong.

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  3. Well, I certainly admit to my need to have greater empathy and compassion for my fellow man. However, being a Christ follower has led me to spend most of my life in a third world country and to give a substantial amount of my time and income to help the disadvantaged and the needy. I presume that with your superior “empathy” your involvement in helping your fellow man is much greater. Please provide details.

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  4. • No response from you. Perhaps there’s not too much to report… I understand perfectly. If it wasn’t for Jesus, I’d be in the same boat. When you believe that this life is all you’ve got, and afterward there’s nothing—zilch, there’s not much to prompt you to spend your life for others. You want to grab all the gusto you can before your brief existence on Planet Earth fizzles out.

    However, if you believe that this life is only a prelude to something incredibly better, and if you believe in a Christ who gave His life for us, and resurrected from the dead (who else has done something like that?), it makes a lot of sense to follow Him and to live sacrificially, to serve, and to give. The best is yet ahead.

    Perhaps you need Jesus as much as I do, and the good news is that He is willing to bring God’s love and forgiveness into your life. And eternal life to boot.

    He once said something like this: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    That’s a whole lot better than stumbling in the dark.

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