Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bible as a Source for Morality

This video is about morality in the bible. A lot of religious people mistakenly think that morals come from God. Considering I've been an atheist my entire life and I'm a very moral person, that clearly proves them wrong. The truth of the matter is, in both the Old and New Testaments there are scores of absolutely immoral and atrocious acts done by God either directly or indirectly (though his followers), or human acts that God condones. For example, God decides to kill nearly all of his creations via the flood described in the story of Noah's Ark. At about the 2:50 mark, Russel (the co-host to the left) makes a great point about people dismissing some of what is written in the Old Testament, but accept other parts (like the Ten Commandments). This "picking and choosing" from the bible is something that I don't understand in Christians. Jesus himself says that he did not come to refute the old laws, but to fulfill the prophecies (yet he went on to break many of those old laws anyway). I would quote the biblical passages if I could recall them off the top of my head, but I forgot where exactly I read it. But I'll talk about "picking and choosing" from the bible at another time.

Here is another short clip related to this subject.

The whole argument that "morality comes from God" is a non sequitur. On what basis do people make this claim? It is true that the bible states that "God says these things are good and these things are bad", but that doesn't make them moral! The bible is filled with tons of immoral teachings! I won't bother to give you a long list of examples but here's one: stone your unruly children to death if they do not listen to you. I think we would all agree that killing your children for not listening to you is immoral. Even if the bible did contain nothing but good moral advice, that still doesn't mean that morals come from God. Until about a couple months ago, I had never read the bible (except for some small excerpts from Genesis as a teenager). And yet all my family and friends would say that I am a moral person. I am kind to others, treat all living things with respect, volunteer my time and money, and make an honest effort to make this world a better place in my everyday life.

So where did my morals come from? Were they "revealed" to me by God without me knowing it? No. My morals come from thinking how I would like to be treated as a person and treating others in that way. They come from reading the stories of both great and infamous figures of the past such as Martin Luther King, Adolf Hitler, Ghandi, and Joseph Stalin. I look at these important figures of history and decide for myself "Hey, MLK was a good guy who tried to make the world a better place and I want to be like him. Hitler was an evil man who killed many innocent people because of an ambition towards an ideology and I should strive to never be like this person". I think that we all operate in the same way or a similar way, even if people don't acknowledge it. Otherwise we'd have Christians torturing and killing people (including each other) for petty offenses. If you think that you need to keep believing in a God and the bible so that you don't go on a immoral spree of rape, theft, and murder, then I hope you continue to go to church every single day. But moreso, I hope that you realize that the absence of a God would do nothing (or perhaps very little) to change your morality as a person.

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