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    The Existence of Morality in God: A Paradigm or a Reality

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    Firm believers in God hold to the idea that morality exists only through and because of God and without that existence there cannot be morality. I will assert that morality is independent of the existence of god. Although there are many paradoxes and contradictions around the idea of morality and its dependence on god, I will assess a few key points. My argument will start with a brief analysis of morality and its definition(s), and then follow with Euthyphro’s piety and conflicting religions, paradoxes of the belief of morality depending on god, scientific/biological references and possible counter arguments to the independence of morality and their downfalls.

    The first task we are presented with in determining the level of moral interdependence with god is understanding what morality actually is (while keeping in mind that we seek absolutes and truths which cannot rely on faith nor hold contradictions and must be complete).

    In general, morality is understood as the distinction between what is right and wrong and good and bad. Although seemingly straight forward and “truth-providing”, this definition is not all encompassing, adequately specific to what it represents and leaves room for contradiction. Morality must be universal and applicable to all people; unfortunately we see that varying beliefs of what is right and wrong differ greatly and often present contradictions. An example of one of these contradictions is to consider all killing immoral yet given appropriate circumstances and/or done in the name of God can be justified. This means that there are exceptions to the rule, and when speaking of morals, they cannot have exceptions because they must be held as a truth (truths have no contradictions). Because morals must be an absolute and universal truth they must therefore also be constant and consistent for everyone. Given this information, morals or at the very least the common understanding of morals is irrational. If one person who practices Hinduism believes that there are millions of gods and they all must be worshipped yet the majority of those in Christianity would mark this behavior as immoral than either one person or the other is correct, or neither is. This shows that different gods and beliefs can change morals. These common moral discrepancies show discord in a universal and constant morality if morality truly is dependent on God.

    If we were to ask Socrates and Euthyphro, our answer (under assumption) would be something along the lines of “morals are whatever the gods love”. Unfortunately, this answer does not suffice and we would immediately be faced with the problem of whether something is “pious” because it is loved by the gods or if the gods love it because it is pious. The same stands for morality; is something moral because god has deemed it so, or is it moral on its own and because it is moral, god approves? (later it is agreed that that which is pious is what all the gods love. In modern day religion we see the same contradictions occur where one religious group may say that killing is immoral, but another religion may justify killing in the name of god or in a specific context. All religions and all gods must agree on what is moral in order to weed out contradictions; sadly we find that we are then at best reduced to less than a handful of very general morals that given the right context may meet contradiction.

    In an attempt to streamline this argument we will proceed from this initial contradiction and use a more concrete definition given by Kant. Kant through reason, beautifully outlined two “formulations” that define moral behavior. He described an unchanging moral code for all free agents or people who act freely for themselves. In summary he said that humanity is an “end in itself”. We as people have a purpose and must fulfill it and we must treat all other humans as an “end” as well. We must not use people simply to use them, because they are not a “mere means” to the end but rather they are the end. We as individuals and every human on earth is an end. We cannot use someone for the sake of using them, if they offer services they are serving as a means, but not a mere means. He more clearly said that we must act in a way that everyone else should always act. For example, if I steal something I am also morally stating that it is always okay to steal and everyone else should and would be justified in always stealing. Morals are universal, infinite constants that if applied constantly in any situation would be deemed okay. Morals are always free of context and situational details.

    According to Kant, because we are rational beings and have goals and are free agents and therefore we always have an absolute moral worth. We serve a purpose and that purpose is always our end. Our purpose is to be free agents and to ensure that we do not take away the “end” or purpose of another. By our purpose, come our morals.

    This is useful because it does help to identify some morals. We must not infringe on others agency and likewise our agency must not be infringed on by others. If I lie to someone, I then have stolen the ability for someone to freely act and choose. They have been given wrong information and cannot freely make a correct decision about the correct information because I have either twisted, withheld, or misconstrued the truth of the information. Given this example we realize that lying must be a violation of a moral.

    Because morality assumes universality, and if this universality is dependent on the existence of god then this god must also be a universal god. If God is he or she who determines what morality is, and this morality is universal, then the god must too be universal. If there are multiple varying and contradicting moralities (or supposed morality codes) then they are not universal and therefore must come from not one single source, but multiple different sources.

    This somewhat misinformed counterargument to the contradictions of peoples morals is that there can there be multiple gods establishing morals for different peoples or that one god is okay with all conflicting beliefs. In order for this rational to hold up, the definition of “moral” would need to change. Morals would then become codes of conduct (of which we have many already) and would not be universal laws or truths. Another similar argument says that perhaps morals are dependent on the existence of God but that not the entire world is informed on what these morals are.

    According to Anselm’s ontological argument, God is ‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’. This means that God is the greatest thing that there is and nothing can be outside of him/her nor obligate him/her in any way outside of his or her control. This means that morals are completely within Gods command, and must also be a creation of his/hers. This is so because if God was subject to the morals or as Euthyphro may have pondered, “ The gods love the pious because it is pious”, places God in a submissive position to some other ruling entity. If this is so, then God by definition (‘that than which nothing greater can be thought’) does not exist. If God is inferior to something than the thing which he/she is inferior to is the actual God. The takeaway from this somewhat thick logic is that God cannot be subject to the morals he/she gives us. This also means that he/she is the creator of those morals. If God is the creator of those morals ,then those morals may simply be a personal preference or a preference for some unknown motive. God could declare that killing is bad because he/she doesn’t like it, or doesn’t like the result but this does not mean it is a universal and infinite truth. This presents the idea that morals may exist dependent on God, but that morals really are not infinite and universal but are simply a personal preference of deity.

    A controversial idea is viewing the animal kingdom in its nature and we still see contradictions in morals. Killing and mercy, sharing and selfishness etc. They (from our understanding) are unaware of god and religion and therefore do not have morals.

    This implies that without religion and religious education there would be no morals. This indirectly means that morals have only existed the last few thousand years and before then all human ancestors were immoral. And if they were moral it was by complete accident. Did god not exist then? Does god not impose morals on other animals What was the reason for this sudden application of morals? Morals and labels associated with specific behaviors that promote societal growth and security…etc. with the invention of religion or the first manifestation of god and his/her will was the first time humanity began to do selfless acts,…

    Another interesting idea was represented in a study done on animals which showed that a dog wouldn’t take a treat if the other dog did not receive. Treat for the same trick. There may be something biological behind being fair and being ¨good¨. The same study was done on unrelated bonobo primates and when presented with the opportunity to reward themselves and not the other versus rewarding both was chosen every time. The argument against this may be out of fear for repercussion they choose this however even the alpha animals who have no fear of repercussion still gave more. In fact the alphas gave more than the others. This seems to indicate an evolutionary or biological factor that plays a role in our morality.

    There could be morals, but they are not agreed on by everyone which places them outside of god (or that only one religion has it correct and thus implies that everyone living outside of the practice and principle of whichever religion that is, lives without morality,) which by definition reduces/diminishes god to a non-infinite being, and for the sake of this argument means that morality can exist without the existence of a god (no matter the god). Different gods have different moralities.

    Much like other philosophical arguments there is not a concrete conclusion. Newfound strengths and weaknesses to my argument have fueled a need to discover the truth. Although I feel I have flip-flopped from the belief that morals exist but exist independent of God, I now feel that morals may not exist at all. If morals exist, they contradict the existence of God or display no real necessity for their own existence and therefore display no real implication in our lives (with societal implications being ignored). I plan to continue this meditative argument to discover the purposes of morals, and find a more concrete relationship with “God”.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Existence of Morality in God: A Paradigm or a Reality. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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