Monday, March 23, 2009

Biblical morality

One question Christians frequently ask Pagans is how, absent the Bible, can you develop a moral sense and moral code? Evidently their fears are justified; I scored a zero on this test of Biblical morality


Chalicechick said...

My explanation of how there is, at least to some degree, universal, non-biblically-based morality is always the same.

If you have two three year olds, and you give only one of them an ice cream cone, the other will, without fail, cry out “That’s not fair!”

Christianity doesn’t teach that life is supposed to be fair. If anything, it’s pretty direct on the point that life ISN’T fair.

Yet from a very young age, kids pick up that fairness is a good and moral thing, and any kid who perceives unfair treatment will cry out with the moral indignation of Ann Coulter at an Indigo Girls concert.

There is a common, almost universal, non-religious morality that most of us understand intuitively.

Simple examples like mine aside, defining exactly what it is might be the problem.


ogre said...

I heard--and could not possibly reprise here and now--a brilliant explanation of the evolution of morality.

That is, precisely how--and why--ethical behavior would evolve.

Which answers the question; it was being written (and edited, and re-written) long before anyone even imagined cuneiform. And still is being revised in that form, I suspect.

Shorter: It's tattooed in our genetic code, in every cell.

But *some* Christians won't like that answer. And some will.

So it goes.

Chuck B. said...

That's an interesting position about kids, CC. As a parent who's been to many play dates and worked with young kids, I would say young kids define fair by their self interest. The kid with the cone rare looks at the kid without and says "That's not fair", though that is the goal of most parents. Now if I child did that, you would have a valid expression of morality.

I am sincerely doubtful of a universal morality, particularyly one that attaches pre-acculturation.

Don't get me wrong, I really wish one existed, but I haven't seen it.

I do believe there might be a sense of community that drives humans to commit positive acts in the right circumstances independant of acculturation. But that is not morality, that is mutual survival.

That said, Joel, I really like your question.

Chalicechick said...

My best friend's kid, who was five at the time, cried for hours upon hearing that his two Godfathers loved each other but couldn't get married because it was against the law.

It does happen.