Friday, 11 April 2014

Huffington Post: Morality and God

 A new Pew Report questions the relationship between morality and belief in God. The real question, though, is how one understands morality or, phrased differently, how a person develops and applies the yardstick that he/she defines as morality. Further on this, please see my new Huffington Post article: Morality and God.

We invite you to either comment here or on the Huffington Post site.

Rabbi Ben Hecht


micha berger said...
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micha berger said...

I tried to post the following there, but I couldn't create an account to do it with.


I would suggest that there are three distinct questions:

1- Is an atheist capable of being moral? (Yes)

2- Is an atheist capable of deciding what is moral or not in any detail, when dealing with the not-self-evident (euthenasia, abortion, infanticide, etc..)?

3- Can one define the word moral in a logically consistent way without invoking God?

I think the answer to #3 is no. There is no reason to say that consciousness or life or whatever is more valuable than any other configurations of atoms if it's all self-emergent from randomness.

Also, the more common forms of atheism today come from an epistemology in which only empirical proof by scientific method is considered a source of fact. Value questions are treated as subjective by definition. Fortunately, people do things without having well developed logical rationals for doing so. So, it would have only minor impact on #2, and none on #1.

Eli Adler said...
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Eli Adler said...

I suppose we 1st need to define what the word 'Morality' means. If we define it as drawing a line
as to what we can or cannot do - then crossing that line means we are being
'immoral' about that case.
Say we believe that killing is immoral. If we kill, we have crossed that imaginary line.
But do we need God to tell us that killing is immoral?
I suspect that killing is an innate emotion, and once we understand the consequences
of killing (ie. ending a life prematurely), our connection to God in this respect, becomes less obvious.
But what if we change the rules. Say, our understanding of morality becomes blurred, in cases
when we choose to kill, say for self-preservation, or taking a person off life support, because
the patient has said they don't want to suffer anymore.
In this case, our perception of morality may differ than what God expects of us, so we turn back
to God for guidance and direction.
It may not be such a clear-cut case of morality & God, vs. morality without God.