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Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~

I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard.

A common phrase used with non-Christians is:
“Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.”
There are a few things which must be addressed.

1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example.

Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not wrong, and will go find a reason in the Bible why it is okay to do said action. Many say, “Well, God has a different plan for everyone,” and quote the ‘meat offered unto idols’ verse. If you think about this, Christian moral values are, you could say, largely subjective.

2. Not only does each Christian have their own special objective morality, but the Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, and Jews all have their objective morality.

After all, if Allah is real and Islam the truth, flying into the twin towers is a morally good thing to do. So I am not super interested in spending hours discussing the nuances of objective morality because: If Islam is true, then their objective morality is correct; if Mormonism is true, then their objective values are the correct ones. Long story short; if a religion can be proven true, then their god is the maker of the correct morality. Therefore, I am not as interested in discussing morality as I am proving why a certain religion is true. You can tout objective morality all day, but until you can prove your religion to be true, you don’t have an argument. All you have is men claiming to speak for God. This is important because God never comes and speaks directly to man; all we have is men cl aiming to speak for God. Until you can prove that the men claiming to speak for God really are speaking for God, I have no interest abiding strictly by their moral rules.

3. Christians will always ask: "So if God is not real, then why not go around raping and killing? After all, something is immoral or moral based on Divine command, right?"

My thought would be: Could there possibly be other reasons to be moral than a God? Is God the only thing keeping you from murdering and raping? Challenge for the Christian: Other than God’s rules, can you think of any other reason why you wouldn’t want to rape someone? There could be many reasons such as: not wanting to cause emotional and physical harm. “If atheism is true, then why not go and torture babies for fun?” If God is the only thing keeping you from doing that, then seriously, stay a Christian. But for the rest of us with an ounce of common sense knows that this will cause an innocent baby to experience pain, and the parents will have emotional damage.

4. Challenge: When you hear when someone was raped and tortured, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

It is probably
“WOW I cannot believe such a sick, twisted person would do that! She must be so traumatized and hurt.”
Your first reaction was probably not
“WOW I cannot believe this sick and twisted person would disobey God’s law and sin like this! It makes me sad to think that God is disappointed because of this.”
See. Problem solved. There are reasons outside of Divine Command for morality and you just proved it to yourself.

Another thought: Why is the Judeo-Christian tradition considered to be the pinnacle of morality when there are so many repulsive things in their Holy texts? There are things which nearly every Christian would say is absolutely immoral, but commanded and condoned by Yahweh in the Bible.

Take slavery for example. If a person today would be pro-slavery, we would be repulsed by their ideology; yet as soon as we hear God sanctioned slavery in Leviticus and Exodus, our minds start going into excuse mode. As if this happening “back in the day” makes this all okay. If a Judge today determined that a punishment for a group of people is to smash their infants to pieces and rip open their pregnant woman, we would fervently object to this! Nothing could be more unjust than this sickening punishment. But when we find out that in Hosea, God commanded this, Christians start finding reasons why this is okay for God to do these things. The New Testament is even worse. If you heard that someone was sentenced to be tortured for the rest of their life for the act of not believing a religious claim, you would object to this! However when someone does not believe in Jesus, they get tortured in fire for eternity. Why is it we can see how immoral these kinds of actions are in our eve ryday life, but as soon as we hear about God doing them, a switch gets flipped in our mind, and we start finding reasons why these actions are okay? Long story short: Christianity does not get the moral high ground when it proposes so many immoral things.

It is remarkable how religion and Christianity are nearly always one step behind the secular society in matters of morals. Take slavery again for an example. I was reading up on the history of slavery and religion, and read of the horrors of over 1500 years of slavery imposed by Christians of all denominations. They all interpreted scripture to validate their position. When some outliers started to realize that slavery was horrible and immoral, a movement swept across different countries at different times to abolish slavery, and what do you know! The churches were one of the last institutions to finally relinquish their stance on slavery. Newer members would embrace the anti-slavery stances due to the shift in society, while older members would begrudgingly bemoan the new progressive movement. Eventually all those who held on to the pro slavery viewpoint died off, and the shift occurred in the church where slavery was considered universally immoral.

Slavery is not the only issue where the church lags behind. In the 1900s it was a popular to accuse black people that they had a curse because they were descendants of Ham. Lo and Behold! Once the civil rights movement started, the churches were able to reinterpret the scriptures to take an anti-racist stance. You still find some of this racism thought in some older members, but is mostly frowned upon. Yet again, we see Christianity adopting secular morality and placing the “Jesus stamp” on it.

It is remarkable how religion and Christianity are nearly always one step behind the secular society in matters of morals. austinrohmWe are not done. Throughout most of Christianity, women have been suppressed, belittled, and labeled “inferior.” And as women's suffrage began, it was no surprise to see resistance from Christianity armed to the teeth with their scripture about a woman’s place. They weren’t wrong regarding what the Bible has to say! There are numerous passages that clearly indicate a woman’s inferiority. However, as the societal shift occurred, more and more progressive Christians reinterpreted the Bible to fit equality of the sexes. Many Christians who are born into this Christianity have no problem with sex equality because they were raised to believe that it is a moral norm. However, many Christians still protest this ideology because it goes against their interpretation of the Bible. They perceive that society is hijacking Christianity, and that it is their job to defend that position. Alas, but there will come a day when the idea of women’s inferiority will be just as frowned upon as slaver y is today. Verses that diminish the status of women will be reinterpreted and will need not be taken literally. We must read these verses “in context.”

There soon will come a day when nearly all churches will accept homosexuality and other things considered “immoral.” Anti-inclusive churches will reduce more and more in number as their ultimate demise will be upon them; going down with fists swinging to no avail. As the number of churches of this kind shrink, the larger the amount of inclusive churches will become until they drown out the moral traditions of their grandparents; then those churches will become extinct. You see this exact phenomenon happening with the shift away from “boring” fundamentalist churches, and moving toward more contemporary, modern churches. The traditional churches that remain will go down fighting; bemoaning that “True Christianity” is dying. Eventually these churches will become extinct.

This is exactly the way Christian morals evolve.

In summary: Christianity does not get the moral high ground when a cursory study reveals that Christians were the ones committing the most atrocious of moral atrocities for thousands of years. You don’t get to place the band-aid of “Well we are all sinners saved by grace, and just because SOME Christians were stinkers, it does not prove Christianity false.” on these problems. It goes to the root issue of the Book these Christians were reading: the Bible. If these were the words of and All-Knowing, All-Loving being, there would be no room to excuse and interpret these horrible things as moral. If God really feels that something like slavery is immoral, than there wouldn’t be even the slightest hint in the Bible that it would be okay. Yet we find its approval constantly infused in both new and old testaments.

However, most Christians committing these atrocities were perfectly justified in the scripture they used. Reading through the Bible will give you good insight into exactly why Christians did all these horrible things. You read of slavery, murder, racism, sexism, discrimination, child abuse, threats of eternal damnation, etc. It is no wonder why they did these things! It appears most Christians are not moral today because of their Bible, they are moral despite the Bible.

I don’t need a Bible to tell me to love my neighbor. I don’t need the Ten Commandments to tell me not to steal (incidentally, most of these moral commands predate Christianity and Judaism). And I don’t need to adopt Christianity’s morality when they can’t even agree on what the Bible says about it. I don’t need religions morality when it is constantly catching up to the real world. I am constantly told, “Don’t follow religion, or even Christianity. Follow Jesus. Have a personal relationship with him.” However, I have TRIED to have a Relationship with Jesus; but it is fairly obvious that it is just a voice in my head, and there is no one on the other end of the line.

What about you? If a morally perfect God were to lay out a set of moral laws in a book written TO humans FOR humans; would you expect it to pave the way for moral teachings? Or lag behind? Why would it need to change at all if it is perfect to begin with? Why would it be subject to interpretation? So is a God necessary to have good morals? Or could it possibly be that there is no God dictating morality? Is it more likely that mankind is starting to wake up and realize that religious morality is inadequate, and starting to create morals that align with the betterment of society? It is time we sit down together and develop our morals based on good reasons, rather than primitive superstitions.