Can we be Good without God?
My first thread asks for evidence for atheism - it was an attempt to allow atheists to give a positive defense of their system. My intention now is to post several ideas that will lay out a postive defense of theism. These are not deductive, they look to the evidence of what we all see and experience and ask - which way does the evidence point? I am separating these into separate threads over time so that everyone can thoroughly debate as much as they would like.
This one is inspired by several weeks of discussion with Faceless Atheist. I would encourage you to search for FA and check out some of the threads - another one has just begun here: http://www.bigthink.com/faith-beliefs/10534; I don't see much reason to rehash all of that, though if there is more discussion that is fine.
Here is the basic idea: I would say that without God we cannot be good, but neither can we be evil. This is because morality is different in atheism than it is in theism. Atheism would hold to moral relativism if it is going to be consistent. In this case, there is no "moral" action that is truly wrong. Instead, each person decides "right" and "wrong" for themselves. At best, reason could be used to show the utility of different actions, but never the morality of different actions. And...if someone chose to do what was not in the best interest of utility, that action would not be wrong. Morals are preference. There is nothing that is truly good or truly evil and that is why my first sentence of this paragraph would make sense.
Within Theism, if there is an infinite personal God, then God's character is the foundation for morality. The things that we see that are right would be reflections of God's character. The things that we see that are wrong would be perversions of God's character. Any attempt to say that God cannot exist because evil exists would be contradictory because for evil to exist, there must be an abosolute standard from which evil has departed.
My argument is simply this: we all live as if morality is real. In other words we all live as if theism is true. One must convince themselves to believe otherwise. This is evidence of an infinite personal. Even those who say they hold to moral relativism never actually live that way - just steal their wallet/purse and check out their response to see if they think they were actually and truly wronged.
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