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Morality and Belief in God

Angel

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Morality and Belief in God

6 minutes

"A morality based on belief in God is very different from a morality that is not based on belief in God,
"and the root of that difference is the belief in whether there is a purpose or goal in the existence of the universe
"and particularly whether there is any goal for human beings.
"Is there a way human beings ought to live whatever they think?
"Is there a goal that is proper for them and possible for them to aim at whatever they think.
"A non-theistic morality cannot say there is such a goal."

Keith Ward


wnhVjRC.jpg

"I am, by nature and conviction, an Idealist philosopher, somebody who believes in the supremacy of Spirit or Mind, and who thinks that the material universe is an expression or creation of a Supreme Mind. I see religions as very ambiguous but probably necessary ways of giving humans some awareness of this Supreme Mind. I am a Christian, and became a priest of the Church of England in 1972. But I have an interest in the many diverse ways in which humans have sought spiritual truth, and in trying to understand what these various paths may have to teach. I think the main task for religious believers today is to ensure that their beliefs are conducive to human flourishing and, so far as is possible, to the flourishing of all sentient beings; to relate ancient religious beliefs to the modern scientific world view; and to see their own faith in a truly global context."
https://www.keithward.org.uk/about/


Keith Ward, FBA (born 22 August 1938) is a British philosopher, theologian, priest and scholar. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a priest of the Church of England. He was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford until 2003. Comparative theology and the relationship between science and religion are two of his main topics of interest. He was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2004.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Ward


Questions

Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?

Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?



NB

This thread is a spinoff from gfm7175's currently active thread

Does Objective Morality Exist? & The Moral Argument

https://www.debatepolitics.com/beli...exist-and-and-moral-argument-w-222-829-a.html


Professor Keith Ward is the keynote speaker (post#202) in Angel's currently active thread

Understanding Religion

https://www.debatepolitics.com/beliefs-and-skepticism/322293-understanding-religion.html


Namaste
 

Angel

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Please do not quote the entire OP straightaway.

Save DP bandwidth.

Thank you.
 

Quag

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Please do not quote the entire OP straightaway.

Save DP bandwidth.

Thank you.

Morality is subjective regardless of whether or not you believe in God(s)
Morality is also subjective regardless if God(s) exist or not
 

Praxas

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Questions

Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?

No, because morality is subjective. Even the various religions that DO believe in God or Gods have a different perspective of what is moral and what isn't. The believe in a God (or Gods) doesn't mean you are universally moral.


Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?

Even theistic morality is temporary and subjective based on interpretations of religious texts.

The bottom line is morality is subjective and there is not a universal morality out there that everyone can agree on.
 

gfm7175

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Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?

Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?

I think this is a philosophically enriching spin-off of my thread... Interesting questions you have presented here...

For the first question, my short answer is "yes". I don't see how morality could be universally binding without the existence of a spiritual reality that transcends humanity (that humanity is accountable to).

For the second question, my short answer is "no". The non-theist is left with nothing that transcends humanity, thus the non-theist is ultimately accountable to no-one. That leaves them with subjective morality, meaning that morality changes on a whim depending upon which group of humans overpowers/rules over another group of humans, or which subjective viewpoint becomes more popular with a majority of people over time as the years go by and generations/opinions change.


Morality, for a non-theist, seems to be a temporary agreement for the purpose of getting through this (only) lifetime in a smoother fashion.

Morality, for a theist, seems to be a universally binding accountability to a transcendent spiritual realm that affects not only this lifetime, but the next eternal lifetime as well.
 

gfm7175

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Morality is subjective regardless of whether or not you believe in God(s)
Morality is also subjective regardless if God(s) exist or not

It seems to me that this thread isn't discussing/focusing on the objective/subjective aspect of morality, but rather the level of "binding" (and in extension, ultimate meaning) that morality has (and comparing this between the theist and the non-theist).
 

calamity

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Morality and Belief in God

6 minutes

"A morality based on belief in God is very different from a morality that is not based on belief in God,
"and the root of that difference is the belief in whether there is a purpose or goal in the existence of the universe
"and particularly whether there is any goal for human beings.
"Is there a way human beings ought to live whatever they think?
"Is there a goal that is proper for them and possible for them to aim at whatever they think.
"A non-theistic morality cannot say there is such a goal."

Keith Ward


wnhVjRC.jpg

"I am, by nature and conviction, an Idealist philosopher, somebody who believes in the supremacy of Spirit or Mind, and who thinks that the material universe is an expression or creation of a Supreme Mind. I see religions as very ambiguous but probably necessary ways of giving humans some awareness of this Supreme Mind. I am a Christian, and became a priest of the Church of England in 1972. But I have an interest in the many diverse ways in which humans have sought spiritual truth, and in trying to understand what these various paths may have to teach. I think the main task for religious believers today is to ensure that their beliefs are conducive to human flourishing and, so far as is possible, to the flourishing of all sentient beings; to relate ancient religious beliefs to the modern scientific world view; and to see their own faith in a truly global context."
https://www.keithward.org.uk/about/


Keith Ward, FBA (born 22 August 1938) is a British philosopher, theologian, priest and scholar. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a priest of the Church of England. He was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford until 2003. Comparative theology and the relationship between science and religion are two of his main topics of interest. He was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2004.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Ward


Questions

Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?

Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?



NB

This thread is a spinoff from gfm7175's currently active thread

Does Objective Morality Exist? & The Moral Argument

https://www.debatepolitics.com/beli...exist-and-and-moral-argument-w-222-829-a.html


Professor Keith Ward is the keynote speaker (post#202) in Angel's currently active thread

Understanding Religion

https://www.debatepolitics.com/beliefs-and-skepticism/322293-understanding-religion.html


Namaste

I'm moral, probably because I don't believe in a god.
 

devildavid

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Which god and which morality?

Simply believing in a god does nothing as far as adopting a moral code. It all depends on what kind of belief in god you hold.
 

gfm7175

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No, because morality is subjective. Even the various religions that DO believe in God or Gods have a different perspective of what is moral and what isn't. The believe in a God (or Gods) doesn't mean you are universally moral.
That is discussing moral epistemology, which I don't find to be relevant to this specific discussion that the OP started (concerning morality based on belief in God vs morality based on social construct). And the position being taken isn't one of "being universally moral", but that the root (grounding) of morality applies universally (to the whole universe).

The bottom line is morality is subjective and there is not a universal morality out there that everyone can agree on.
Regardless of whether there is a "universal morality" or not, that doesn't affect the objectiveness/subjectiveness of morality.

The focus of this discussion seems to be on how "binding" morality is (and comparing the theistic approach to the non-theistic approach), not about the subjectiveness/objectiveness of morality, which is what my thread (which Angel linked in his OP) is about.
 

gfm7175

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I'm moral, probably because I don't believe in a god.

A non-theist can be moral, plenty of times even more-so than a theist.

I don't think that's the focus of the OP, however.

The OP seems to be focused on the "inner workings" of morality between the theist and the non-theist... (how "binding" morality is, and likewise)
 

calamity

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A non-theist can be moral, plenty of times even more-so than a theist.

I don't think that's the focus of the OP, however.

The OP seems to be focused on the "inner workings" of morality between the theist and the non-theist... (how "binding" morality is, and likewise)

I guess the binding depends on one's conscience, which can be 100% independent of whether one holds a belief in gods or not.

Case in point would be mistreating some animal. No god law says don't do it. But, yet most of us really won't do it.
 

<alt>doxygen

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Please do not quote the entire OP straightaway.

Save DP bandwidth.

Thank you.

I had not run across Ward before. As theists go, he seems interesting. I'll look into him as he seems to possibly have a more broadened perspective than the average Christian theist.

In response to the OP:
Until I see a description of the "universal and universally binding morality", how could I know? Without that, it all comes down to personal feelings, and are subjective until proven otherwise.

A side question that is always present in these discussions : Where are the theists who are living by this "universally binding morality" that's so superior to the morality of non-theists? Surely there must be millions of them somewhere. Islamic jihadis and Christian dominists are not exactly good company to anyone who doesn't share their extreme views.
 

Tanngrisnir

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Morality and Belief in God

6 minutes

"A morality based on belief in God is very different from a morality that is not based on belief in God,
"and the root of that difference is the belief in whether there is a purpose or goal in the existence of the universe
"and particularly whether there is any goal for human beings.
"Is there a way human beings ought to live whatever they think?
"Is there a goal that is proper for them and possible for them to aim at whatever they think.
"A non-theistic morality cannot say there is such a goal."



Huh. Yet more bull**** tha's easily debunked with even the most cosmetic knowledge other religions' moralities.

Yes, Buddhism, which is non-theisitic, can say that there is such a goal.
 

Visbek

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Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?
Nope.

Anyone with even a casual awareness of contemporary ethics should know that. Consequentialism and Contractualism, for example, both offer possible mechanisms to establish moral realism. Ethicists such as Martha Nussbaum focus on moral universalism, determinable via reason and examination of the human condition. The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights never invokes any sort of supernatural or religious justification.


Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?
:roll:

"When did you stop beating your wife?"

Yes, secular ethics is a genuine and viable effort to establish objective and/or universal ethics.

No, it is not acceptable to ask a question in such a biased form.
 

gfm7175

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I guess the binding depends on one's conscience, which can be 100% independent of whether one holds a belief in gods or not.

Case in point would be mistreating some animal. No god law says don't do it. But, yet most of us really won't do it.

I wouldn't assert that it depends on one's conscience. I would assert that it depends on whether a spiritual realm (God) exists or not. If so, then morality would be universally binding and all morality from all societies would funnel back up and be directly accountable to that God, who transcends all things. If not, then morality wouldn't be universally binding, but would only be binding to the whims of whoever was in control of any specific society at any given time.
 

Atheist 2020

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If there was a God, how do we make money from it, and how does God makes money from it too. Since the earth is only 4.5 billion years old, and modern man is over 100,000 years old. And organized religions are around 7,000 years old. The Jewish religion is a few thousands of years old, being a Catholic is 2,000 years old, and people reading from the King James Bible is a little older then 400 years old. And my upbringing as a Southern Baptist: that type of organized religion is less than 200 years old.

There is a problem
 

calamity

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I wouldn't assert that it depends on one's conscience. I would assert that it depends on whether a spiritual realm (God) exists or not. If so, then morality would be universally binding and all morality from all societies would funnel back up and be directly accountable to that God, who transcends all things. If not, then morality wouldn't be universally binding, but would only be binding to the whims of whoever was in control of any specific society at any given time.

It is anyway, because god is so arbitrary. I can burn the non-believer at the stake because he is [fill in the blank], and I am completely justified doing it since I believe my god wants it that way.

Gods do not keep us moral. In fact, I'd argue belief in gods keep us all divided just enough to encourage a lot of immoral behavior against a given out-group.
 

calamity

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If there was a God, how do we make money from it, and how does God makes money from it too. Since the earth is only 4.5 billion years old, and modern man is over 100,000 years old. And organized religions are around 7,000 years old. The Jewish religion is a few thousands of years old, being a Catholic is 2,000 years old, and people reading from the King James Bible is a little older then 400 years old. And my upbringing as a Southern Baptist: that type of organized religion is less than 200 years old.

There is a problem

In theory, there are a lot of people in Hell because...well you know, God wants it that way.
 

AGENT J

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1.) Morality is subjective regardless of whether or not you believe in God(s)
2.) Morality is also subjective regardless if God(s) exist or not

100% correct and no other answers will be more correct and any answer that doesnt fit this one is factually wrong.

1.)Morality is subjective, a person subjective beliefs where they come from or why the practice them is meaningless they are all subjective and thats factually proven by definition.
2.) also correct. Im religious and believe in god, im still honest and educated enough to understand the fact while here on this planet my morals are still subjective. They maybe objective for me personally but thats it . . beyond that scope they are factually subjective in the world. Theres no way for anybody to make them objective on this planet.

now to answer the OPs questions directly


Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?
There is no such thing has a universal binding morality we people already belief in god so the answer is factually no. A "belief" in god is not a necessary condition as proven now by facts and reality

Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?
Yes . . .just like with EVERYBODY it varies per person and is a individual subjective thing. So you cant classify it as "non-theistic vs other" they are all the same in this world. Some non-theist find their own subjective morals to be concrete and objective for themselves and some theist find their subjective morals bendable and changing with times education etc

Pretty easy questions that are supportable by reality, evidence and life that makes the answers factual.
 

Logicman

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Non-believers do not understand how sinful they are until they are filled with God's Holy Spirit. Even new Christians are amazed.

Here's a prophet of God who was stunned at the righteousness of God:

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." - Isaiah 6:5

Renewed by Grace Holiness.jpg
 

Sampson Simpson

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Morality based on belief of god (I'd say fear of god) to me is a sham. Who is more noble, those who treat others nicely and do nice things because it is the right thing to do, even if they think there is nothing more, or those that do so out of fear of god or trying to get in god's favor and get into heaven?

Or those that base morality on science and reality, or those that base it on fantasy? one is better than the other, because one decides things based on reality, the other based on magic and fiction. Example, the believers who think homosexuality is immoral. They have no basis on that other than "this one obscure passage says so", of course, ignoring all the other things that are supposedly forbidden and these people ignore those. That's why you don't see any rational arguments against gay marriage and homosexuality.

One bases morality on reality, the other based on ancient fiction

Which god and which morality?

Simply believing in a god does nothing as far as adopting a moral code. It all depends on what kind of belief in god you hold.

Even then, people who believe int eh same god all have their own opinions on morality. "thou shall not kill" yet people think its moral to kill in war or to kill in self defense. tha'ts why there are so many sects of each religion
 

Elora

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Questions

Is belief in God or in a Transcendent Spiritual Reality a necessary condition for a universal and universally binding morality?

Is non-theistic morality anything more than temporary ad hoc moral agreement susceptible to the changing whims of time and place?

Absolutely on both...just look at how our laws of the land have changed in recent years, appeasing the whims of the ungodly...
 
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I had not run across Ward before. As theists go, he seems interesting. I'll look into him as he seems to possibly have a more broadened perspective than the average Christian theist.

In response to the OP:
Until I see a description of the "universal and universally binding morality", how could I know? Without that, it all comes down to personal feelings, and are subjective until proven otherwise.

A side question that is always present in these discussions : Where are the theists who are living by this "universally binding morality" that's so superior to the morality of non-theists? Surely there must be millions of them somewhere. Islamic jihadis and Christian dominists are not exactly good company to anyone who doesn't share their extreme views.

the-question-l-get-asked-by-religious-people-all-the-13178872.png
 

Atheist 2020

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In theory, there are a lot of people in Hell because...well you know, God wants it that way.

Right now there is a island in the Indian Ocean, being a part of India and also belonging to no country. It is the last and final group of people having no long term contact with the rest of the people. Every level of contact, were killed or force to withdraw. They say God gave mankind a rational mind to debate questions. Since they have never been given a long term contact with other people, they cannot debate about our level of understanding of a God. Therefore, they are going to Hell.
 

ataraxia

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Thinking you need an external authority like a God to behave is like a little kid who thinks that he needs his parents to behave. Without mom or dad to tell him what to do, or threaten him, or reward him, he really cannot see why anyone would want to keep his room tidy, not pull his little sister's hair, or bathe regularly.

Such need for external authority is fine, even necessary, for a child with a very immature and poorly developed sense of morality. But it is the goal of every parent to get their kid to grow up to be able to judge situations on their own merits, and have the maturity, intelligence, knowledge, critical thinking skills, and judgment to think things through on their own and make the right decision- and not always have to keep looking to parents, priests, and otherworldly entities to tell them what to do. You become too easy a target for wily and not-so-well-intentioned people to play you. There are many people who are more than always happy to tell you exactly what to think and do. And kids who never develop that sense of innate morality are the ones who throw the keg party and trash the house the second their parents leave for a minute.

Always do the right thing. It doesn't matter what people tell you otherworldly entities want you to do. You should do the right thing even if those otherworldly entities tell you otherwise. Abraham, on being ordered to slit his own son's throat as a sign of his blind and unquestioning loyalty and devotion to such a deity, should never have obeyed. This story has set the backdrop for every horror committed in the name of religion ever since. If the moral of the story is that Abraham would go as far as sacrificing his own son because of these otherworldly deities, then what is a massacre of a few towns full of unbelieving strangers, or a café full of innocent people at lunchtime? What a frightening and toxic story. You should NEVER ignore your own conscience and intelligence in the name of any external authority- even otherworldly ones.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. "
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."
-Voltaire
 
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