You don’t need God or religion to have morals.
Many of us have heard this saying. To many, morality is something that is evolved as part of socialistic behavior and experiences. This claim injects the idea that at one point in time man was never aware of what was morally right or morally wrong and that over the course of time the thinking of man essentially learned morality. As an example, some would refer to slavery in the past and how we’ve changed our thinking since then to realize it was wrong. This is morality evolving they would claim. However there is a problem. The problem is that this claim doesn’t touch on what defines good or bad as it relates to morality. Why is slavery bad? Upon what basis is it bad? Claiming something is bad doesn’t necessarily equate it to truly being bad. Simply put, just saying something is bad, doesn’t mean it is. And we can’t determine that something is bad on the basis of disliking it, or because the outcome effected people negatively. All that means is we don’t like the outcome of something so we deem it a negative outcome. A basis for the claim that something is immoral would need to be established first. Based upon that basis we can then determine if something truly is morally right or morally wrong.
Morality Defined 1
- “of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.”
“expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work
“founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom:”
Morality deals with the conduct and truth of what is right or wrong. Right and wrong is the foundation that morals sit on top of. Without a right and wrong morals mean nothing. In fact morality disappears altogether and we are left simply with meaningless actions of conduct. So for morality to truly exists, then we must agree that right and wrong are real, meaningful, tangible concepts that effects the lives of every human being on the planet. In order for morality to exist, right and wrong can’t be interchangeable. They must be moral absolutes, less we fall back into the problem of having a baseless foundation for morality. For example, if rape is morally bad on Monday then it should be equally as bad on every day of the week. If not, then we can’t say rape is truly bad from a moral, absolute, perspective. If rape is morally bad just on certain days then it is impossible to claim it is truly bad because tomorrow it may be good. It becomes impossible to make the claim that rape is absolutely wrong at this point.
Can Man Define Morality?
We’ve established that morals must sit upon a foundation that is absolute and never changing. And that if the foundation of right and wrong can change then no-one can truly claim something is or was ever morally right or morally wrong. Those apart from God claim that humans define morality. That over time we’ve come to learn based on the reactions of others what morals are. That in time we come to a consensus that something is bad based upon how something effects others. The problem with this thinking is that man is flawed. As humans we have a tendency to not do what is morally right at times. Anyone who says they always do is proclaiming to be perfect. The bible affirms we’re not.
“None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
If man is imperfect, subject to not doing what is morally right, willing to go against his or her own moral conscious, then how can man deem what is a moral right or moral wrong? An imperfect human being simply can not be the standard for a moral truth. To have a true moral right or wrong, the standard must be higher than all that is imperfect. It is the only way anyone can know what is an absolute moral. Without an objective standard, above us all, then we are left to disagree and whoever has the largest consensus or weapon will win the disagreement.
Evolution and Morality
There are some fundamental problems with the idea of morality evolving. It isn’t hard to look around and realize that some people are not getting the memo. If morality is simply a biological factor then it doesn’t explain why human trafficking, rape, murder and other kinds of other atrocious crimes exist. If it’s purely biological then no-one can claim those who commit such crimes are truly wrong in their actions. Why? Because they are simply doing exactly what their DNA is programmed to do.
Some make the argument that if an action hurts another person it must be wrong. However if it is biological, then the person committing the action is not forced to care. Why? Because they are simply doing exactly what their DNA is programmed to do. In an effort to counter this point some will claim people are just going against their biological programming. Well if that’s the case, our biological makeup has nothing to do with our conduct so it can’t be pinned on evolution.
If morality is not biological and it’s just a progressive collection of ideas based on social experiences over time this doesn’t account for the many who still rape, murder, steal, lie and sell humans into slavery who disagree with this collective. It also doesn’t account for those who deemed these very same practices as bad thousands of years ago. So it simply can not be some sort of linear progression of ideas based on experiences that have evolved into a greater state. Why? Because people have always thought these things were bad. There is simply no basis or evidence for the claim that humans have evolved their thinking into realizing something such as murder is bad. It has always been deemed as bad throughout all of human history. There is zero evidence or basis showing that at one point all humans agreed murder or rape was a good thing.
The truth of the matter is, morality is not based on feelings, experiences or biology. It is based on the absolute truths of what is right and what is wrong.
Morality Commands God Exists
So who defines what is right or wrong? Who defines what is a moral good vs a moral bad? Who is the ultimate moral law giver? It would have to be someone who is perfect, knowing all things in order to righteously judge all things. It would have to be someone who holds a standard that is above our own standards because our standards are subject to change and we do not always keep them. So this ultimate standard must be higher than ours. It has to be a standard that we can all agree upon objectively less we fall victims to opinions, mob mentality, size of consensus, customs, feelings, greed and a host of other things in order to get our way when it suits us. The only one who holds such a standard is God. Morality, comes from God. He is the moral law giver. God has given us all a moral compass to know what is right and what is wrong. However those apart from God deem it fit to deny God along with His standards and rest upon their own flawed moral standards which are corrupt.
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32)
It is impossible to claim to have morality apart from God. No-one in the history of mankind aside from Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh, has ever been perfect here on earth. Morality screams that God must exist because without a perfect, holy, righteous judge, morality has nothing to stand on except for the faulty foundation of imperfect people.
A wild claim that morality is forever evolving, always changing and always improving is like a compass without a true north. If north was always moving on the compass then north truly would never exist. If north was different for everyone that had their own compass, then north truly does not exist then as well. It would be impossible to find a true north. It is the same with morality. It simply can not exist without an objective, unwavering, perfect, righteous, absolute standard that is above our own.