Morality without God?


Have you ever noticed that everyone has a sense of how they want to be treated?   We all want to be loved, we all want to be cared for.

We think traits such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness are good.  We have this inborn idea of morality.

But where does morality come from?

I would argue that we cannot have a true morality without a Higher Power.

We cannot have a true morality without God.

Because if morality only comes from ourselves, or from an agreement of what “moral” behavior is, than it has little authority outside ourselves.

For example, let’s say you believe that stealing is wrong. But let’s say I don’t believe that. Perhaps I believe that if I want something, I should simply be able to take it.

That’s not a difference in morality; that’s a difference in opinion. It’s a difference of opinion because we are the same, we are equal. We are human beings. The same as one another.

Your viewpoint is no more valid than mine, and vice versa.  That is, unless there is something that stands above your and my opinion.

That’s why morality pre-supposes a Higher Power. God.

Some of my favorite writing on this topic comes from C.S. Lewis.   Some of this stuff will melt your brain.  Or at least it does mine; perhaps you’re smarter than I am.  =)

Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling “whatever you say and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?” But then that threw me back into another difficulty.

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too — for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist — in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless — I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality — namely my idea of justice — was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity



Scripture link:  Genesis 1:1
Photo credit:  NASA — The photo above is of the Aurora Borealis above North America, taken from the International Space Station.  Images like this make me think, even at the most basic level, that something created all of this.  A Higher Power.