Monday, May 14, 2012

Ethics With or Without God

     In response to the American Humanist Association's 'Day of Reason' a certain Mr. Ham posted online that there could be no absolute moral standards without God.  Everyone would be on their own to decide for themselves what is right and wrong.  It seems he is right here.  I have been unconvinced by any attempt to demonstrate logically the truth of any moral propositions.  So far, so good.

      Here's the problem, though: NONE of the arguments for the existence of God are convincing.  I have thought about these things for my entire life and that's the skinny.  Thus, one can choose to believe in God if one wants, or choose not to.  I think the probability inclines against the existence of God, but that doesn't make belief in God impossible, just not compulsory. 

     OK, so let's try to follow the logic where this goes.  One is certainly free to choose to believe in God and the morality of contemporary Christianity along with it.  Or, one is certainly free to try to derive some sort of ethics from the hodge-podge of the Bible if one chooses.  But there is no logical compulsion to do so. 

    If one could demonstrate the existence of the God of the Bible and be able to derive ethics straight-forwardly from the Bible, then Ham would be right.  There would be absolute ethics.   But without a demonstration of the existence of God the notion of absolute ethics is an illusion.  Those who CHOOSE believe in God and derive ethics from this therefore do so with no more LOGICAL force than humanists who CHOOSE their own ethics.  Thus ethics is personal, with or without God since the existence of God has not been demonstrated.

Conclusion, theists who derive ethics from the Bible are making the same kind of personal choice that nontheists make.  The logical status of Biblical ethics is no better than the status of the arguments for the existence of the God of the Bible in the first place, and those arguments are failures.   Thus, what seems to Biblical thinkers as a firm ethical foundation is no more firm than the foundations of any nontheistic ethics.  This security and universality is an illusion.  Thus we are all in the boat of making PERSONAL ethical choices whether we accept it or not, even Biblical thinkers.

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