If there is no God, murder isn’t wrong. You may think it’s wrong, but how do you know it’s wrong? As Dennis Prager explains, without God, all morality is mere opinion.
42 Comments on If there is no God, murder isn’t wrong
I have been having some problems with Capital Punishment lately. My Christian views tell me not to murder, but my economic views tell me better sooner than later. My law views tell me to wait 40 years after all the appeals and execute him anyways if he didn’t die first? That final view is the only view I do find foolish.
That is the best argument I ever heard for controversies such as these.
If there’s no overarching objective standard that everyone is subject to, then all you’re left with are indeed conflicting opinions of right and wrong. Which always results in whoever has the power to force theirs on everyone else, does so.
The Left knows this. That’s the ultimate goal of situational ethics, moral relativity, etc: destroy all that is objective – and with it, all ground of opposition – and replace it with what you want.
This is strictly a pedantic and pointless argument on Prager’s part. If atheists can be kind and abhor murder, and Christians can be mean and commit murder, then the fact that murder is evil or not makes no difference in the long run. Man will do what man will do, and he will usually justify it by whatever means. Especially the ones whose religion tells them that murder is wrong, except when it is Allah’s (or whoever’s) will to do it.
For what it’s worth, Dennis, it is my opinion that murder is wrong. I don’t need you or anyone else to tell me that.
There is a flip-side to this coin. One thing is for sure, today we are up against a “religion” that indiscriminately murders for the conquest and domination of the world. The more murder, the better. The more indiscriminate the better, and given access to nuclear weapons they will use them offensively because their “moral” yardstick tells them to.
This was not the case in the past but the problem the Left now has with Islam does boil down to fear. The Left came to power in the West where Christianity was gradually marginalized, neutered and corrupted. Leftists never expected to come across people who really believed in a deity AND were willing to force others to believe in that deity as well. They were probably thinking that Muslims, like many professing Christians, don’t actually believe what they say and would eventually be corrupted too. The current situation in Europe is proving them very wrong, and it’s likely too late to do anything about it there.
Simply as a practical approach to self-defense, murder is categorically wrong.
We agree with this because WE don’t want to be murdered, not because WE necessarily give a fuck about THEM being murdered. My life is sacrosanct; yours … ehh … not so much. This is why we sit in our houses, armed to the teeth, decrying the “desolation of the abomination” occurring around us, but doing nothing to assuage the grief and misery.
“Those who kill killers, are killers, themselves.” As the old, bad, movie, so succinctly, pointed out.
The whole concept of murder is mostly one of perspective (in the contemporary, not the scientific sense).
@Jimmy – Yes. Morality is derivable from the nature of human beings. If you believe human beings were created by God, then morality comes from God. If you don’t believe human beings were created by God, then morality comes from being human. Either way, moral behavior is derivable from our existence.
For believers in God to assert that only they can be moral is at best ignorant, usually arrogant, and at times fatuous.
As a believer, I would never say that only I can be moral. I know and accept that I am fallen, in need of a Savior. I would say that morality comes from God and God is moral and just.
Your emphasis is on the Christian, not on Christ. The Christian is a sinner, just like you and everyone else. The difference being, the true Bible believing Christian admits his sin and pleads with Jesus for forgiveness. A true believer does not think he is better than anyone else.
A thought provoker…Adam was made in God’s image but Seth is said to have been born in the image of Adam, his father. Presumably this was also true for Abel and Cain. Consider what this might imply for us all.
Killing barbarians intent on killing you is NOT murder. How many times did God order the destruction of entire groups? God knows there are evil people and even intended to destroy the entire world at one point because he was so disgusted.
“T” was right “It isn’t thou shall not kill, it’s thou shall not murder.”
I know there are a lot of “christians” out there who give Christianity a bad name due to their holier than thou attitude. Honestly, cultural Christians offend me more than agnostics or atheists.
As to killing. There is sanctioned killing, as a non a moose correctly stated. Times of war, self defense, capital punishment, etc. Even in those times, great care must be taken to ensure that the justified act does not spiral into something unjustified.
Uncle Al is absolutely right. Ultimately, moral behavior makes more sense than immoral behavior because civilization is advanced by the former, and adversely affected by the latter. There’s no reason to bring religion into the issue at all.
Whatever it is that comes from sinful, always-changing humans, I wouldn’t call it morality. We gave ourselves situational ethics and moral relativism, and our standards for behavior have been in a free-fall since I can remember. Not so with the morality of the eternal, unchanging divine law. We did not create ourselves. We did not create the world. We should not have the audacity to assume we can create the law. I choose God.
@muddjuice: I agree than the inclination of man is to be selfish, but only to a point (for most people). I might want a nice house or fancy car like my neighbor has, but I’m not willing to kill him for it, even if there were no consequences. And yes, there are evil men who would, but they are in the minority. Even when bad people reach positions of great power (Hitler, Stalin, etc.) the general tendency of mankind is to resist them. Those kind of people will always be with us, because evil is part of our nature, but we still know right from wrong, and good people struggle against the evil in themselves and others. I would have to be a very great pessimist to believe that the whole world would turn to anarchy and murder if it were suddenly revealed that God did not exist, and therefore could not punish them for wrongdoing.
“Ultimately, moral behavior makes more sense than immoral behavior …”
Take an example. A small example – and extrapolate.
Say – a “Lord of the Flies”-type example (yes, that’s a novel, but the principle is sound as to “nature” and “morality.”
Or the ghettos of Detroit.
Or any DC public school – say – 10th grade.
Any type of anarchistic melange of heterogeneous humanity.
The Warsaw ghetto circa 1943 for instance (and that was fairly homogeneous).
Mostly, “morality” is imposed by force – by the strongest, the meanest, the wiliest, or the most ruthless – and that “morality” is never applied to the one enforcing it.
I just disagree. Not because I’m pessimistic. I’m a realist. You have to remember that you were raised in a nation that taught Judeo-Christian ethics. You learned to do right because you were punished if you did wrong.
However, doing wrong (being selfish) is/was your very nature. Your parents taught you to do right. They didn’t have to teach you to do wrong. You naturally did wrong.
You are seeing, in this nation and in western civilization, the slow and steady removal of God from our culture. And look at the results. Look at history. Look at what happens when a dictator or a government sets themselves up as a god, the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong…..
@muddjuice: There is more to doing wrong than being selfish. I know a lot of selfish people that are not wrongdoers. I’m even guilty of selfishness at times myself, although I do try not to be. Also, even if you were not raised in a Judeo-Christian culture and your parents didn’t punish you for being wrong, society would. Either way, you are taught right from wrong. And if you do not improve from the teaching, society will remove you from the general population, one way or another. Lesson learned or lesson over.
Thus we can see that mankind as a whole tends to reward good and punish evil. Thus civilization advances, however slow and imperceptible the progress may be.
I believe that certain cultures (in the west) do reward good and punish evil. My point is, what happens when a culture doesn’t?
In those cultures, and others, might makes right. There are no moral absolutes unless those in charge say so.
Islam teaches evil and those who follow do not see murder, rape, etc. as being wrong or evil.
And as Tim said, American culture teaches Christian morals and ethics, yet, look at how many people choose evil as a way of life. Not because it’s encouraged. But because it’s natural for us to cheat, steal, lie and manipulate.
Your looking at big evils, like murder. Sure, most people won’t murder someone here in the US. Ask yourself why. Is it because they want to be good and do what’s right? Or is it because they fear what society would do to them if caught? Now remove that fear and see what happens.
You’re already seeing it with “lesser” evils. We don’t punish for minor crimes and look what happens. The crimes skyrocket.
@Tim: What part of “mankind as a whole” do you not understand? Anybody can hold up the worst examples and say they represent everyone else, but that is not true, and does not refute my argument. There are far more good and decent people in the world than bad ones; they just don’t get the publicity. If it were not so, we would be living in much worse circumstances than we are today. Incidentally, most of your examples have either been brought down or likely will be in the future. So yeah, there’s always going to be bad people. What about it?
@@muddjuice: You started out by essentially saying that people would run amok if God were removed from our culture, because then they would no longer fear God’s punishment, and I said that it wouldn’t happen because they would still be faced with punishment from society. Now I see you saying that people are refraining from crime because they fear what society would do to them if caught. Good to know that you and I are finally in agreement on this subject.
I went through my comments and did not see anywhere where I referenced God’s judgment. Maybe I did and I didn’t see it.
My perspective had to do with the essence of man. Why man does good or why he does evil. I could be wrong, but, you seem to be saying man is inherently good. I am disagreeing and saying the inclination of man is inherently evil.
It takes intervention to stop that inclination. My question to you is, what if society does not discourage evil? Will people do what is “right” or not? What if evil was encouraged, would people choose instead to do what is “right”?
What is “right”? What is “wrong”? Who decides that?
@muddjuice: Maybe you didn’t specifically mention the word “judgment” but the clear implication (as I read it) is that (as you said above) man is inherently evil and the reason for our moral decline is “the slow and steady removal of God from our culture”. So if Man is evil and selfish, and becomes more so as God is removed, it follows that only the threat of God’s judgment is keeping him from behaving that way, not his love of God. And I was saying that even without God, it is still in mankind’s best interest to seek good and order, rather than bad and chaos. I don’t think Man is inherently bad or good, but rather a mix of the two, with some people getting more or less of each quality. Every bad person is able to do some good, and vice versa. But we all pretty much know what is moral and good behavior, even if we don’t always act that way.
And to answer your questions: If society does not discourage evil, then it is up to us as individuals to resist that society until it can be changed, just as people did in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia.
As far as what is right: “right” and “wrong” are relative terms, just like “hot” and “cold”. Each person decides that according to his/her conscience and understanding.
IMHO, that is.
P.S. – This is been an interesting discussion. It’s always enlightening to see how other people’s views compare with one’s own, and as I pointed out above, I really don’t think that those views are “right” or “wrong”, just different.