"Morality requires God" – this is the basic assumption of all believers, the fundamental of their social theory.
Philosophers do not usually use this argument, but most Christian apologists used it. According to Ravi Zacharias, "moral law requires a moral lawgiver." (Can Men Live without God? Word Publishing, 1994 pp. 182-184). Only God can provide the meaning of morality and the foundation of moral absolutes.
The view that God created the moral laws is called "Divine Command Theory of Ethics". This is sometimes referred to as voluntarism. According to this theory, what makes an action right is that God willed it to be right. God invents moral rules as a matter of his constrained and freewill (So God also have a freewill).
So nothing is right or wrong unless God makes it so.
"So what's the problem with that?"
Well…it makes morality arbitrary.
In the dialogue Euthyphro, Socrates responded Euthyphro’s claims that morality is dependent upon the will of the gods.
Good actions are good because the gods love them.
The gods love good actions because they’re good.
"Good actions are good because God says so."
Then whatever the gods decree to be right is thereby "right", then morality becomes arbitrary.
As Gottfried Wilhemn Leibniz (1646-1716) have said, if things are neither right nor wrong independently of God’s will, then God cannot choose one thing over another because it is right. Thus, if he chooses one thing over another, his choice must be arbitrary and a being whose decision is arbitrary is not a being worthy of worship. The being ceased to be a god.
"But God is always good."
Well, if we will say that "goodness" is an attribute of God, then we will never understand what makes something good "good". If we say that goodness is good because God is all-good, it will not make any sense. The definition becomes circular.
"But what if God is using a certain standard?"
Then we will have an independent source of what is right or wrong. If there is such an independent source, the source will be greater than the gods, because God obeys it.
"Without God, everything is permitted."
History has demonstrated to us that being a believer changes nothing. From the ancient to the modern times, God fearing and God believing people did war and bloodshed, murders and genocides. From Moses to Joshua, Caligula, Hitler, Bin Laden – all of them believe is a certain god-concept.
So? What's the difference between a believer and a non-believer? There is no evidence to support a claim that believers are more morally upright than non-theists.
Might does not make right.
"Can the fear of God motivates moral obligation?"
The threat of divine punishment cannot impose moral obligation. If you're going to do good because you want to get those goodies in heaven (like this so-called everlasting life) then you are motivated by self-interest not because of the love of God or because of goodness sake.
"If God commands what is good, which then is considered good?"Religion is too relative to be a good source of absolute morality. We will be facing moral relativism.
It's morality based on what religion dictates. The terror attack of September 11 may be aberrant to Christians, but they are considered saints in fundamentalist Islam. Another example, when the biblical God ordered, "Thou shall not kill" but allow his chosen people to slaughter innocent women and children. It makes this God, no better than Hitler, Stalin and Pol-Pot.
"Is there a universal moral standard?"
Philosophers such as Plato, Confucius, Kant, John Stuart Mills, John Rawls, George Edward Moore, Ayn Rand and Paul Kurtz have demonstrated the possibility to have a universal morality without a Divine Lawgiver.
For them, these universal moral standards are independent of opinions and church or religious dogmas. The Golden Rule is the best example.
Morality is deeply rooted in the "common moral decencies". They are essential to the survival of any human community, handed down through generations, as a basic rule of social intercourse. They are the following:
1. personal integrity
We also have the ethical excellences – the one an individual should develop.
6. high motivation
7. affirmative attitude
8. joyful living
9. good health
Morality is an objective, they are not authored nor opinions. We can simply set its standard into two:
a.) Any action that purposely benefits the human organism or society is morally good and right.
b.) Any action that purposely harms the human organism or society is morally bad or wrong.
And we don’t need an arbitrary Law Giver to explain to us this simple standard.
Until next time,