As an Atheist, I am constantly hearing from Christians that morality would not exist without the word of God instructing us on how to live our lives. Though I’ve found many things in the bible to dispute this claim, I will stick to the most well known set of ground rules in the bible, The Ten Commandment.
Most may not know them all, but everyone knows what they are and what they represent. If morality is truly from God’s own words, then surely it should be in these laws.
Having looked at them all though, only about six of them are even relevant to life and God's chosen people broke all but one of them. Some of the laws were even overlooked by God, because it was prosperous for the chosen people.
Think About This:
The first four commandments:
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. - This is just God being a jealous god like we've read so much about. I'm referring to the passages that actually say he is a jealous God even though he is just and fair.
2. Thou shall not make unto thee any graven images. - To me this is the same reason as the first commandment. The Catholic Church is especially known for breaking this commandment. Just look at all the religious art.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the lord thy God in vain. - To me this is the same reason as the first commandment. Also, how would one define "in vain"? Could it be saying God is great while blowing up a plane in his name or simply saying that something should be an abomination unto him?
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. - This is because God had to rest on the seventh day and so should we. Really that doesn't make sense. Also, Sabbath comes from the Pagan word "Sabbat" which means celebration. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
Now we get to the next six. These are the ones that I actually approve of, even if God overlooked them.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother. - It's always a good idea to honor and learn from you're elders, except it doesn't quite work this way. We are supposed to love our parents, but we shouldn't honor everything they say. Look at it this way, what if you're father was the man in Sodom and Gomorrah, he didn't want people to hear of the city's bad reputation, so he offered his own daughters for his enemies to "have their way with". An honorable person wouldn't do this to their own children, but if a dishonorable man DID do this, the child would have to obey or they would be breaking a commandment.
6. Thou shalt not kill. - of course if you are populating the world, you wouldnt wouldnt to kill you'reselves off. Besides, how could a society grow with such chaos? Only thing is, the bible is filled with people who have killed in the name of God.
7. Thou shall not commit adultery. - , but it doesn't make a bit of sense because God obviously didn't mind polygamy.
8. Thou shalt not steal. - stealing brings disorder to society. It causes distrust and contempt. So of course this is a good idea, except that God's chosen people stole not only property, but wives and slaves whenever they conquered a new tribe.
9. Thou shalt not bare false witness. - This one is great. This is one that actually doesn't get broken in the bible very often.
10. Thou shalt not covet. - I think wanting things give you motivation and a purpose in life..I dont really find this comandment nessesary, thier are reasons why it can be bad though. in the bible, God's chosen people coveted land that they were told they would inherit. They also coveted the property, slaves and wives of the men that they conquered. But God obviously didn't care about this transgression. Also, I find it interesting that you can't even THINK about doing something. It commands you to ignore the natural urges of desire.
This leaves us with only six commandments that give us morality. Only six and no where does it cover rape, abuse, slavery, equal rights or anything else that we claim are important. So if God is the reason for morality, wouldn't he add a lot more than six commandments? And what of the ones that God seemed to overlook for his chosen people?
After reading the commandments, it’s obvious that basing morality off of them is a bad idea. People can learn a far better ideal of morality from common sense and their own life experiences.
Morality without religious doctrine is related to culture, upbringing, life experiences, logic and common sense. If you follow only the moral code set forth by a certain religion, there is always going to be something left out.
There are also shades of gray when it comes to morality, not everything is simply "good and evil." If you had the chance to save the life of a complete stranger, but it meant letting someone you loved die, how would you choose? That's sort of an example.
Now I've talked about sharing the same principles as the word of God has taught us, but who's to say that these rules are just in the first place? Is God to say that they are absolutely just when really, we are the ones who are interpreting the word of God?
What of the other things that God let everyone get away with in his name in the old testament? What about treating women as property and what about slavery? In our secular nation, we have found that these are considered immoral and were probably influenced mostly by religion in the first place. Isn't this a good argument for Godless morality?
There were many other commandments that Moses passed onto us and maybe I'll talk about those some other time.
In conclusion, there are certain things that God's word has left out or even included that should be considered as immoral. I also find it interesting that the son of God's teachings could differ so much from our omnipotent creator's teachings. If you think about it, Jesus Christ's teachings were more influential to morality in our modern world then our God's. But even the savior's teachings can be challenged and it still goes to show that a belief in God is not necessary for morality.
Written by Jon Heim, edited by Hannah Hood.