Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers
Human Behavior

Is morality independent of God?

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01/07/2015

I'm guessing that many answerers would say "yes." However, it can be pointed out that moral rules have changed drastically. Here are just a few examples: Aristotle, who was among the greatest of the Greeks, and Seneca, the famous Roman, both write that killing one's young babies is perfectly ethical. In civil law, the Roman lexicon stated that anyone could accuse a man of owing them money and the debtor could be dismembered and killed (Roman "Twelve Tables of Law" code, 3:10). A Roman father could kill his son for any reason, without trial (Twelve Tables, 4:1). A Roman could be killed for assembling a noisy crowd at night and disturbing the town (Twelve Tables, 9:6). Elsewhere, temple-prostitution, incest, and human sacrifice were all viewed as part of religious worship.
Therefore, a higher moral standard - not invented by humans - serves as a safeguard against such excesses.

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01/06/2015

For many people the answer is yes. There are millions of people who have high morals who do not believe in any supreme being(s) who controls the destiny of humankind. Some cultures have followed strict moral codes for millennia- codes that do not rely on deities. Most humans are hardwired with a sense of right and wrong and know how they should act in their society.

There are primitive cultures that still exist in the world who have time honored moral codes of behavior that are used to settle disputes between people and between tribes. On the other hand, prisons are populated by people who believe in a god and some inmates are very religious. That tells us that this sense of right and wrong varies in humans as much as any other trait. People who believe in gods have not cornered the market on morality. However, they seem to need someone to tell them what is right and what is wrong.

Consider the quote by Albert Einstein:

  • A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
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01/06/2015

Seems a relative matter... It depends all on your faith. Tis a long fought war and it shall never

end as long as faith, perhaps the greatest factor of life, exists.

Moral relativists shall proclaim morality subjective to each person. They will find their own "truths", even if they differ from other's "truths". Much has been said on this and it will not be difficult for you to delve further if you seek more elucidation on the subject. Nietzsche famously declared "God is Dead", not meaning that someone has killed him or that a being that was god went out of existence, but that mankind has created its own morality and that it is impossible to look to God for it. There are, of course, other opinions.

Certain transcendentalists (as well as others) may argue that there is a transcending morality not governed by personal beliefs, but by god(s). Many western religions seem tremendously fond of this view. They "discover" (or perhaps "invent" if your a relativist) a dogma that they persist must be followed to please their god(s). It may also be said that many support this by saying that 'even if it isn't true it is necessary for society to persist in order' (which is questionable itself-- though perhaps only to a relativist).

It would seem the only way to know the answer would be to know this "God" you speak of (This seems unlikely if you're a transcendentalist for it is not unreasonable to doubt someone could experience something that transcends their own being; an ugly flaw in thinking, but what belief doesn't have one?). Find him and you may find your answer. As long as you hold, independently, a pertinacious search with intention of uncovering and then questioning all of this supposed truth, you may find something. Perhaps madness.