Where does morality come from? Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis says it can only come from (his) God. Atheists have no grounds for morality, he claims, because, without a God to tell them, they’ve no way of knowing the difference between right and wrong .
As usual, Ham is being creative with the truth. Clearly atheists are as capable of being moral as anyone else. Equally and also evidently, Christians and other brands of believers are capable of deplorable immorality. Hardly a week goes by without more reports of Christians abusing, cheating, lying and killing in Jesus’ name.
Why do Christians act so despicably when, supposedly, they have God’s Spirit inside them – that’s the God from whom all morality flows, according to Ken Ham. Why doesn’t his indwelling Spirit guide Christians so that they always behave morally, or even just considerately?
I don’t have the answer. Perhaps Ken Ham or some other knowledgeable Christian can tell us.
No, morality doesn’t derive from any god. It has evolved, inevitably and like much of our behaviour, from our being social animals. Living in close proximity with other humans has meant we have developed ways of behaving that take these others into account, as well as the repercussions of our behaviour on ourselves.* The principle of treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated is very old – much older than Christianity.
Morality, though, is not absolute and is far from infallible. Non-believers, like the religious, make mistakes and don’t always treat others as they should. But the fact they behave well most of the time is evidence that behaving morally has nothing to do with a god, especially not the capricious, murderous psychopath of the Abrahamic religions.
Ken Ham’s position, and that of other religionists who tell us we have no grounds for morality without such a god, is as offensive as it is absurd.
* There are innumerable books that consider our moral evolution; you might like to try Frans De Waal’s Primates and Philosophers; How Morality Evolved or Christopher Boehms’s Moral Origins.
They would probably argue that the ones committing deplorable acts aren’t true Christians.
They surely do, though because it’s the no-true-Scotsman fallacy, it’s essentially worthless as an argument. Taken to its logical conclusion it amounts to every believer claiming that they’re the only true Christian because everyone else has it wrong to some degree or other. Those who profess faith in Jesus, however they behave, are Christians by virtue of that fact alone – whether other Christians accept it or not. But, yes, you’re right, that doesn’t stop them!
I find it interesting that since Christianity began it’s been divided by varying beliefs which is seen even in the new testament.And in John’s gospel the author has Jesus praying that believers be one as he and the father are one.It seems to me that one of the main missions of the author or authors of Johns gospel was to answer criticisms of the other gospel stories and attempt to unite splintered believers with this “new and improved” version of Jesus.
I’ve talked with believers who condemn and think all other believers are false followers about this prayer.Will God ever answer this prayer of his own son?
Most have no answer or explanation for it since believers being one doesn’t fit their worldview or end time scenarios.Yet John’s gospel seems to be the most beloved of the four by all stripes of Christians.
You’re right, and it’s there too in the earliest New Testament writings, Paul’s letters. Most of them are his admonishing believers for not behaving in a unified way. This, and his own protracted and bitter fall out with the original apostles over differences in theology, might have alerted him to the fact his self-invented religion wasn’t working at all. But no, he ploughs on relentlessly.