Skip to main content

Christian Morality---Impossible?

By Selly D Paine ~

It is common to hear discourse between Christians, theists and non-believers about morality. While such discussions take seemingly endless twists and turns, I thought it would be fun to consider some arguments that would naturally emerge in such discourse.

Morality Breach
Morality Breach (Photo credit: Rickydavid)
  1. All non-Christians lack morality.
  3. Some non-Christian theists have morality, but such morality is corrupt because it is predicated on false/idol gods.
  5. Some non-theists have morality, but such morality is based on individual selfishness and lacking a transcendent purpose/guide.
  7. Some non-theists have morality, but such morality is based on individual selfishness and generates social corruption.

While it would take some skilled tact and tempered patience to refrain from pulling out the logic shotgun and blasting the arguments out of the sky like planet-wide skeet, we need to focus on the universal assumption underpinning these arguments, namely…that Christianity is morally sound.

Yet, it never hurts to review the shots we’d take with such arguments, in case there’s a test in the future.

So, logical fallacies applied:
  1. hasty generalization/ipse dixit
  2. special pleading/tu quoque  
  3. tu quoque/existential fallacy  
  4. tu quoque/cum hoc ergo propter hoc, respectively.

Let’s consider what it means to be moral.

One definition for morality is: “Conformity, or degree of conformity, to conventional standards of moral conduct.”

The high-level definition seems to lead us into a vague discussion about what constitutes a proper standard to achieve moral conduct.

Be not dismayed gentle reader…for, there is an underlying requirement necessary to develop a proper standard; a proper person.

Now what may we imagine a proper person to be…that’s an interesting question. We may spend months trying to construct a proper conception; we may even be tempted to look for a model reference.

Yet, it would be charitable to allow a Christian the opportunity to bring forth a role model that is proper and good, e.g., without sin, et al. since we are considering whether or not Christianity has a proper person to champion moral conduct and derivative standards necessary for a sound Christian morality.

I can think of no better role model than Christ; aye, to be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ, thus…he is indubitably their champion proper person, loosely speaking.

Yes…we’ve got a drawback folks; apparently, Christ can’t be bothered or subpoenaed for our direct inquiry.

Hark…all is not lost! We have a witness statement left by the champion Christ himself, and it is heralded as Authoritative from the Christian God, whose words we cite from the inerrant Bible.

The testimony of Jesus reveals; Mark-10:10-18, “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”
*There are many biblical examples of Christ’s sinful nature

Now there is a perplexity if ever I’ve seen one; apparently, Christ and his followers are not good, per se. If we accept this, then it becomes apparent that Christ and his followers are declaring their inability to be a ‘proper person/people’ by which to construct a moral framework, e.g., establish a Christian morality, et al.

I imagine we could allow the Christian to argue that the bible’s value isn’t in its inerrancy, but in its interpretability; but, if we were to grant them that concession, then it logically flows that if it isn’t inerrant, then its ‘errant’ to ‘some degree’.

Palpably, we sit and allow ourselves to contemplate the ramifications; if the Bible is errant to some degree, then it’s possible the very words ascribed to Christ are errant. If that’s true, then how does one ‘follow’ Christ to become a Christian?

It would appear that we are faced with a paradox of sorts…on the Christian’s behalf.

  1. If they accept Christ’s statement as inerrant, that Christ isn’t a proper being, e.g., good, sinless, et al., then he, along with the entire following of Christianity is incapable of producing a ‘proper person’ to champion good ‘moral conduct’.
  3. If they charge that Christ’s statement is ‘errant’ even to ‘some degree’, then following Christ by scripture becomes untenable---consequently, Christianity isn’t about following Christ as a basic dictionary would suggest. Perhaps, it’s whatever they want to make it.

In an effort to prevent the annihilation of Christianity as having a well defined meaning, which is required for us to conceptualize and understand it, let’s forego option two.

Alas, for those claiming to be Christian and choosing the second option by their behavior or lack of understanding, they have no foundation for the concept of Christianity.

Thus, they perceive Christianity and others claiming to be Christian as make-believe fictional characters in a play called Christianity. A fictionalized Christian play lacks the psychological conditions for a ‘proper person’ in-touch with concrete reality.

Towards option one; we are left with no ‘proper person’ within Christianity to declare proper moral conduct or derive moral standards. Ultimately, there exists no Christian capacity to know what constitutes morality---at all for Christ’s sake!

Now, we need to be’s only fair that we direct that analytic precision towards our own position. Can any non-Christian elect a ‘proper person’ to contrive a moral framework?

Well…that’s an odd question; if they did, how on earth would a Christian discern the truth of such a claim from their incapable position?

Christian morality is indeed impossible in any rational sense. A biblical literalist gains a Christ, who literally recuses himself (and all Christians) as a moral judge(s). Those who accept that the words ascribed to Christ are errant to some degree, are those who remove themselves as followers of Christ as you can’t follow what you don’t know/understand.

While biblical literalists gain a Christ, and logically claim to follow him as Christians…they also inherit the literal truth for everything else in the bible, e.g., dragons, unicorns, satyrs, talking snakes, arrow snakes, supernatural insemination/virgin birth, zombies, et al., which is a conviction to the Truth of fiction.

Christian morality is impossible, because of their universally adopted axiomatic truth: “All are sinful” (to include Christ).The range of people is short for those claiming to be Christian; you have ignorantly blissful Christian actors in a contrived fiction, the delusional who adopt the Truth of a fiction, the simple-minded who can’t tell the difference between the two, and those who carry a healthy burden of cognitive dissonance.

In conclusion, Christian morality is impossible, because of their universally adopted axiomatic truth: “All are sinful” (to include Christ).

Since no ‘proper person’ exists and we can’t escape our sinful natures according to Christianity, everything we do and think is perceived through sin and corrupted---even the words of God Himself were he to provide us a seminar on morality.

The profound consequence for Christianity being incapable of providing a rational moral framework is that it is equally incapable of policing itself; it has no moral grounds to hold its members accountable for their actions; let the sinless cast the first stone is a call to abandon justice. Hence, judgment and justice are concerns best left for the afterlife.

If civil society is to exist; then, it must maintain a faith and hope in humanity’s capacity to be moral. We are blessed in the U.S., to have forefathers who took that position through their use of reason; if the Christian axiom of morality were to have succeeded in our construction---we’d lack civility (justice system & police force), e.g., we’d be a rogue nation.

To incentivize the Christian moral axiom; followers are taught that they are to receive infinite rewards in the afterlife and that they deserve to be protected from accountability as they live. I can think of nothing more morally destructive than this.

Is the logic sound?