• chromechris
    17
    Hi, I'm new here. This is going to be my first post, so pardon in advance me if my post is of low quality and does not meet the guidelines. I decided to give this forum a shot because I usually like to question things and try to find answers to certain things in life, but usually don't have much people to talk about these things with because lots of them are not interested. Anyhow, the purpose of this post is to question if the existence of a "God" is a moral thing. The following are just examples and ideas that "assume" a God exists for the purpose of explaining why I think the existence of a God is immoral.

    I was a pretty devoted Christian for about 4-5 years (I am now agnostic). I was convinced of the existence of God, and I tried to prove God's existence in my head when faced with cues or facts that questioned such existence of "him". One day I thought about whether it was fair for God to be ultimately in charge of my life, simply because he gave it to me. Obviously I couldn't consent to be born or not, since I did not exist before being "created " by God. This means like everyone else in this world, I had no say in the becoming of my existence. Since God gives himself the credit of creating me (without my consent), he decides to also give himself the ultimate authority over my being. I do not see this as moral. I can compare the God-to-human relation to a parent-to-child relationship. According to most societies, children are under their parents authority for the first 18 years (ordinarily) of the child's life. Once the child is of legal age, and can be responsible for their own survival, such authority over the adult child's life is then transferred from the parent to the adult child him/her self. Even though the parent gave the child life biologically and nurtured the child physically and emotionally during the child's early years, once the child reached independence, authority of that child's life was stripped from the parents and the adult child came to have authority over his/her own life.

    If the above parent-to-child relationship is a moral way of life, whey then should there exist a being who forever has authority over one's life. A God to me seems like a slave owner, who by virtue can never be overcome. The existence of a God to me seems immoral. Do any of you see the existence of a God immoral based on what I just explained, or is what I am thinking nonsensical?
  • Wayfarer
    9.6k
    . Obviously I couldn't consent to be born or not, since I did not exist before being "created " by God. This means like everyone else in this world, I had no say in the becoming of my existence. Since God gives himself the credit of creating me (without my consent), he decides to also give himself the ultimate authority over my being.chromechris

    that's a deep moral quandary. However one thing you might consider is that the Biblical notion of 'creation' doesn't actually equate to the physical act of birth. Although the details are very murky, it's the soul that is 'created', not the body, per se. That in turn introduces many complexities about whether the body and soul are separable, and again, although Christian doctrine is not that clear on it, the implicit idea is that the soul is immortal, while the body is perishable.

    Plato certainly seemed to believe that the soul pre-existed the body, because he thought that the soul possessed all knowledge before 'falling' into physical birth. Interestingly, one of the very early Greek-speaking theologians, Origen, taught a doctrine of the pre-existence of souls, which was 'anathematized' (declared a heresy) very early in the Christian era. Since that time Christian eschatology ('fate of the soul') has been rather confused, in my view.

    Another archetypal theme from world religions is that of exile and return. That can also be applied to the physical journey through life, i.e. the soul 'falls' into worldly existence and at the end of life 'returns' to its divine source (from whence images of 'heavenly creator' are derived). So in those kinds of myths, the soul's journey through mortal life is only part of its identity.

    The notion that the soul somehow survives or is separable from the physical body seems an ubiquitous belief in various religions, although it's hard to fathom from a naturalistic viewpoint.

    Do any of you see the existence of a God immoral based on what I just explained, or is what I am thinking nonsensical?chromechris

    Most atheists would agree with you, and I'm not necessarily wanting to argue for a theistic perspective. However, I think your notion of 'God' is deficient, in that you're basically equating God with a kind of super-person, like an uber adult.
  • Sherbert
    16
    Is your boss at work immoral because he/she is your boss?

    Are police immoral? The government?

    It does not matter to me if you are a theist or not.

    “Ya gotta serve someone....”
  • OmniscientNihilist
    171
    A God to me seems like a slave owner,chromechris

    stop thinking of god as a separate person

    move your mind towards an unpersonal spirit here now
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    I was convinced of the existence of God, and I tried to prove God's existence in my head when faced with cues or facts that questioned such existence of "him".chromechris

    In my opinion, someone who tries to prove the existence of God, is not truly a believer in God. In that sense, you never really believed. You only somehow pretended that you did.

    According to most societies, children are under their parents authority for the first 18 years (ordinarily) of the child's life.chromechris

    No, that is just an arbitrary, western view. In other societies, parents usually remain in authority until they die. That would be the view of around 85% of humanity.

    In other words, your entire argument existentially depends on an undetected western ethnocentric twist that is absolutely not universal at all.

    It is a very conflict-prone and even dangerous practice to generalize the opinions of merely 15% of the world population to the unwilling, remaining 85%. It has led to violent combat in the past and will undoubtedly lead to new, violent combat in the future. I suspect that many more millions, if not hundreds of millions, will die over this.

    So, no, your views are not universal at all.
    Seriously, they are not.
    Understanding that principle may even save you your life one day.

    A God to me seems like a slave owner, who by virtue can never be overcome. The existence of a God to me seems immoral.chromechris

    In terms of what system of morality would that be immoral?

    Either you reason within a system, or else you reason about a system, because in all other cases you are doing system-less bullshit.
  • chromechris
    17
    I mean, I definitely was a believer because logic and facts took a long time and effort to convince me otherwise. I don't think many people in America have died because of becoming independent from their parents. I think it is a good think to bring up these questions about morality. It helps you think more critically about your religion if you are able to compare such to the "real" world, even if it's just in small ways. Because my views are not universal is the reason that I bring the topic up, so that I can get to see the views of others at least in this forum, and understand why such people have their specific views.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    Because my views are not universal is the reason that I bring the topic upchromechris

    It is perfectly ok that your views are not universal, but in that case, do not try to present them as such. There are multiple belief systems on the globe, with two or three major ones, and dozens of minor ones.

    The communities around a belief system have their own views on various matters of morality. Sometimes I would not adopt these views by myself, but I will usually, readily acknowledge that they seem to work fine for that community.

    Furthermore, if you no longer like tennis, then try football instead. Going through life as an anti-tennis person is silly, ridiculous, and actually counterproductive. Tennis may not work for you, but it surely works for other people. So, just get something else to believe in, strive for, and aspire to, instead of criticizing what otherwise seems to work fine for other people.
  • Jesse
    8
    I think you say that God credits himself with your creation and also decides to give himself the ultimate authority over you which seems immoral to you. You say that God is in ultimate authority of your life because he gave it to you and that it's immoral because you didn't have a say in your existence. I think that yes, even though you didn't have a say in your existence, if God created you and has authority then your existence then you would serve a purpose and even a greater good. If this is the case then I think existence would be good and in turn better than non-existence. If existence is better than non-existing, then just the fact that God created you is good and morally good. If God is the essence of moral authority and is all good then to say that the existence of him is immoral doesn't make sense. It seems like your definition of God being the ultimate authority and him also being immoral is contradictory. I can understand an authority not being moral but if God is all good then every action would have to be morally just and right.

    Secondly, You posit “I can compare the God-to-human relation to a parent-to-child relationship. According to most societies, children are under their parents authority for the first 18 years (ordinarily) of the child's life.” First off it is not the case that children are under the authority for the first 18 years of their life and are then have freedom over themselves in most societies. I think that this idea of the parent and child relationship seems like the morally right thing but I believe that this is a western point of view and wrong to believe that this applies to the world.
  • Eee
    159
    A God to me seems like a slave owner, who by virtue can never be overcome. The existence of a God to me seems immoral. Do any of you see the existence of a God immoral based on what I just explained, or is what I am thinking nonsensical?chromechris

    You are talking good sense. The typical presentations of God are indeed absurd/immoral, and not only because of the one reason you bring up. Personally I'm an atheist, but theidea of God seems especially important to humanity (including me) and gets processed in all kinds of ways within the philosophical tradition.

    It's my impression that crude understandings of God (such as are often taught to children in religious households) are rare among philosophers. I suspect that atheists are even in the majority.
  • Eee
    159
    Because my views are not universal is the reason that I bring the topic up, so that I can get to see the views of others at least in this forum, and understand why such people have their specific views.chromechris

    That to me is just about the perfect reason to do so. While I do have specific views, studying philosophy leads to place of having views about views about views. It expands the mind by challenging that mind to make sense of (and organize) such wild disagreement and variety.
  • chromechris
    17
    I appreciate everyone's responses. It helped me see the topic in different perspectives.
  • KrystalZ
    8
    1. If God is ultimately in charge of human life, then God’s existence is immoral.
    2. God is ultimately in charge of human life.
    3. God’s existence is immoral. (MP, 1, 2)
    I summarize your argument above. You are troubled by God’s existence on the basis of Him as a creator and controller of human life. You think that God as an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient being seems like a slave owner even though He has no incentive to cause evil. His existence instead of Himself is immoral means that the fact that there is such a being exist violates certain moral standards or values. There is a big difference between the immorality of God and God’s existence. If one condemns God as an immoral being, then God may commit immoral actions which violates moral standards (if they exist). The consequent in premise 1 doesn’t follow from the antecedent. Consider a boss of the company who controls his employees’ jobs, whether they get their salaries, whether they can still be on the position and not get fired, and all the works they should do. You are a workaholic who regard work as life and you have no choice but to work in this company for some reasons. Even though this analogy is not a perfect one, it still seems that the existence of your boss is not immoral. Maybe he sometimes asks his employees to work for extra hours and being strict on requirements for assignments. He indeed limits your control to your life just as a slave owner will do to their slaves. The most you can say to condemn him is that he is immoral, because of his immoral behaviors, rather than his existence is immoral.

    For premise 2, in light of your experience with God, you feel like God creates you without your consent and everything you did, do, and will do is controlled by Him so that you are not free. By depriving your free will, God is ultimately in charge of human life. However, there are many other possibilities regarding whether God fully controls human life. God would deem free will as a good thing and let us have it even though he wants to control us for our own benefits. On the contrary, one may claims that if God is all-knowing, all-good, and all-perfect, then He would not allow us to suffer from evil. But we indeed suffer, and so he is not ultimately in charge of human life.

    To conclude, the argument is valid but unsound since the antecedent of premise 1 does not entail the consequent and that premise 2 is not necessarily true.
  • philrelstudent
    8
    Hello chromechris! Welcome to the forum! I’ve not been here long myself, but I wanted to lend my thoughts to your question. You pose an issue that in various ways reflects big problems in the philosophy of religion, so I don’t think I can solve the problem in a reasonable-length post, but maybe I can provide some food for thought? That’s the goal at least.

    I find it useful to put arguments in their argument form. I don’t know if you’re new to the just the forum or new to philosophy in general, so if you are unfamiliar with the argument forms, here is a link to a source that will help you: http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e10b.htm

    It seems to me that your argument by analogy takes this form:

    1. Either a parent has authority over their child by the fact they are the one who created the child, or a parent only has authority over their child when they care for the emotional/physical wellbeing when the child is too young to do so.
    2. If a parent has authority over their child by the fact they are the one who created the child, that authority would extend over that child’s whole life.
    3. A parent’s authority over their child does not extend over the child’s whole life.
    4. A parent does not have authority over their child by the fact they are the one who created the child. (2, 3 MT)
    5. A parent only has authority over their child when they care for the emotional/physical wellbeing when the child is too young to do so. (1, 4 DS)
    6. If a parent only has authority over their child when they care for the emotional/physical wellbeing when the child is too young to do so, then for the parent to exercise that authority over the child once the child can take care of their own emotional/physical wellbeing is immoral.
    7. For the parent to exercise that authority over the child once the child can take care of their own emotional/physical wellbeing is immoral. (5, 6 MP)

    You said this case is analogous to the God-and-humans (specifically you) relationship, but I am not so sure it is. Yes, I agree that a parents authority over their child (authority being their legitimate right to control their child’s actions) does not extend over their child’s whole life, and I might even agree that the parent has that authority as a matter of their caregiving/teaching role rather than any biological mandate. However, I would argue that another “wellbeing” that a parent often (and I hope we would agree is obligated to) look after is moral wellbeing. Parents often teach their children right and wrong, at least in the most basic of ways. I would argue that if any of the three “wellbeings” are insufficient in the child, meaning the child cannot look after them on their own, then the parent continues to have authority over the “wellbeing.” (We assume that the parents in these scenarios are doing a decent enough job at caretaking, i.e. trying their best to do write by the child. They won’t be perfect like God, but for the sake of your analogy, let’s assume the best of the parents.) If a child has a horrible accident that permanently paralyzes them from the neck down, I argue that the parent as authority over that child’s body in the sense that they can control its movement. Now child might be of sound mind and be able to vocalize their wants/needs, but the control still lies in the caregiver (who, again, we are assuming the best of for this case). In the God-human relationship, God serves over us as the moral authority because God looks after our moral/spiritual wellbeing. Humanity is not perfectly moral; we will always have our stumbling blocks. No purely human individual will be fully capable of looking out for their moral/spiritual wellbeing because of our imperfections (darn that free will!). Since we will never be able to adequately look after ourselves in this manner, God controls what is morally acceptable/unacceptable and provides us guidelines to help us out. God is not a slave owner because God asks us to abide by God’s creeds; God is simply a concerned parent looking out for the wellbeing of God’s children and trying to help them do what’s best for themselves. In short, I think your argument is missing a “wellbeing,” specifically moral/spiritual throughout, and when that “wellbeing” is taken into consideration, then God has “moral authority” (which I assumed you meant legitimate) authority over our lives. God’s existence is not immoral.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    According to Christian dogma, god gave free will to each person at the moment they are created. Thus, the onus or responsibility to behave morally rests upon the decision of the mortal.

    This preempts the responsibility placed on the creator for the morality of the created one, no matter who created whom.

    For the record, I am an atheist. But I don't like unreasonable arguments voiced against god's existence. There are so many that stick, that it is unnecessary to create false and arguable objections to dogma. Plus false and arguable claims hurt the credibility of atheism.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    It is a different matter that free will is an illusion if you believe in determinism (that is, if you believe that every change and event is caused, and each cause has an effect). It is a different matter also if you believe that god is omnipotent. (Because then god knows the future precisely, and knows when you will sin and that is unavoidable since if you avoided sin that god pre-cognizes, then the pre-knowing would not work; but it works, since god knows everything, therefore you have no free will.)
  • CFR73
    5

    Thanks for sharing this! Before I respond, I am going to assume (based off the way you used it) that when you use the term "moral" you mean "morally acceptable" or, at least, something that is the opposite of "immoral." So, I will subsequently use "morally acceptable" here in the same sense that I believe you were meaning. Additionally, I do not address your parallel between God and a parent, because I thought the overall argument could still be charitably summed up without including it.

    To begin, I think that you are giving an argument in your post similar to the one that follows:
    1. If God exists, then God has all the authority over our lives and does not allow us to have authority over our lives.
    2. If God has all the authority over our lives and does not allow us to have authority over our lives, then his existence is immoral.
    3. If God exists, then his existence is immoral.

    While this argument is valid in form, since it is just a simple hypothetical syllogism, I do not think it is successful. In other words, I think premise one to be false. Why must me assume that God has sole authority over our lives, leaving us with none? I agree with you that if God had sole authority over our lives and did not allow us to have any, then this would not be morally acceptable. But it seems one could argue that God does not have sole authority over our lives, and that we could at least have some free will to control our own lives. Many have argued this, such as prominent philosopher Alvin Plantinga who does argues this quite well, so I do not think that it must be the case if God exists then he must have sole authority over our lives and we have none. Even just the possibility of us having free will would be a counterexample to premise one, rendering it to be false and ultimately corrupting the overall argument. Because of this, I think it is important to engage the topic of whether we have free will or whether God ultimately controls everything in our lives (including our decisions). Without doing this, I think the argument is false because of the problem that arises to premise one.

    Again thanks for sharing this! I encourage you keep posting and I hope you feel welcome here.
  • Ferzeo
    6


    Hey there, this an interesting argument and I think my sister actually brought something similar up once. It sounds like your argument might go like this:

    1) God always has authority over our lives.
    2) If it is moral to release authority over a being who is capable of their own survival, then God always having authority our lives is immoral.
    3) It is moral to release authority over a being who is capable of their own survival.
    4) ⸫ Gods authority over out lives is immoral (2,3 MP).

    I would challenge the soundness of the first premise. I believe that God does create us without our consent and sustains us (spiritually) until we are of an age when we can spiritually take care of ourselves. God grants us the free will to do and believe whatever we want, and he holds US completely responsible for those choices. He does not say that we must do certain things, he simply makes us aware of the natural consequences of our choices.

    So, I would argue that God behaves in a similar way to your parent-child analogy. A possible concern with my argument would be that God seems to decide the “natural consequences” of our actions. My support for this will go a bit beyond the scope of this argument, but I would claim that God is light, and sin is darkness. The two cannot exist in the same space, God did not “make it so,” the two necessitate the absence of the other.

    This is probably not the best counter to this argument, but I believe it gets us in the proper mindset of understanding God’s relationship with us as something that, to some extent, is beyond God’s control.
  • ovdtogt
    667
    God is our conscience speaking to us.
  • chromechris
    17
    Whoa! I did not expect so many great responses! I would like to respond to some of these.

    @KrystalZ The analogy of a worker-to-boss relationship to me seems very different than the comparison of God-to-Human relationship.It seems to me that in a worker-to-boss relationship, such relationship is one which is widely open for many changes. For example, an employee is working for the employer out of the employee's choice to do so. The employee may resign the job anytime, and become an employer themselves for the same trade. In comparison to a God-to-human relationship, in most religions, one does not have the ability to and is not advised to try to become their own God. Such attempt would be extremely immoral in many religions. To me, the employee-to-boss relationship is actually very different to a God-to-human relationship, that comparisons of the two types of relationships yield incoherent comparisons.
  • chromechris
    17
    @philrelstudent Hi, thanks for your detailed response! I understood from your response that you believe that another characteristic of personal well-being is "moral" well-being. I agree. As you mentioned, most parents (I hope) try to teach their children the best form of morality that they personally have learned themselves as "grown" adults. Parents do this because they want the best for their children, I agree with you. However, I believe that there comes a point where in a parent-to-child relationship, morality becomes a personal belief and decision that one makes, where the parents morals (even though might be similar) are a separate individual set of morals apart from the grown child's morals. The child becomes morally independent from the parent. In the case of a God-to-human relationship, independence of morality is never achieved by the human. The human will forever be bound and set to abide by God's never changing set of morals. An example of such moral in Christianity is that you must bend your knee to God and worship him forever. If you don't believe such call to action from God is moral, then you "punish" yourself because of your immoral understanding towards this call to action. This of course assumes "God" is a conscious being, instead of some sort of unconscious force that is not a deity. In most religions, the set of morals on the relationship between God and humans never changes, always leaving the human as the bottom tier being in the relationship forever.
  • chromechris
    17
    @god must be atheist Hi there. Is it not kind of the moral responsibility of the creator to create one who is moral. If the creator creates immoral, does that not make the creator immoral?
  • chromechris
    17
    @CFR73 Hi, thanks for the warm welcome! The idea of limited free will appears immoral to me. It can be compared to a slave owner giving their slave some limited "freedoms" such as you can wear either wear gloves, or not wear gloves at all while using the pick-axe. I think the concept limited free-will is not actually free-will. When you put a limit on it, is it really free will? I think free will should be whole, if it's limited, then it's not free will.
  • ovdtogt
    667
    Hi there. Is it not kind of the moral responsibility of the creator to create one who is moral. If the creator creates immoral, does that not make the creator immoral?chromechris

    The whole logic of Christian ethics is completely convoluted when you think about it. The people who wrote the bible were no great philosophers. They made a hatchet job of it.
  • chromechris
    17
    Kind of agree with you. I've never actually read the full Bible, and use to rely more on preachers to narrate it to me. After actual consideration and thought, I even found many preachers mixing up and confusing the writings themselves further if they were already not so. I am quite curious on studying theology to better understand the Bible and other religious texts and the whole process and reasons on their creation.
  • chromechris
    17
    @Ferzeo Hi, thanks for your response! From what I understood from your response, I guess you see God as a spiritual "parent". You also mentioned "I believe that God does create us without our consent and sustains us (spiritually) until we are of an age when we can spiritually take care of ourselves.". In the case that one becomes of age where one can spiritually take care of ones self, does that make one become their own God? Just wondering what you would think of this?
  • chromechris
    17
    To everyone who responded, I hope I am not coming off as rude or defiant. I am just honestly expressing my thoughts so I can discuss it with y'all. It is very interesting and intriguing to me. Again, thanks for all the responses!
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    Is it not kind of the moral responsibility of the creator to create one who is moral. If the creator creates immoral, does that not make the creator immoral?chromechris

    Hi, there, @Chromechrist! No, you are not rude or offensive. You put up a good argument, and the beauty of your feistiness is that your arguments are clear, concise, not convoluted, and as the icing on the cake, are easily shot down.

    IN the question I quoted here, that you asked of me, you made one logical error, and that is choosing a premise that is not true. You said (in some other words) that the creator created something immoral. Without going into the argument (which is not necessary, because the permise is wrong), I must say the creator did not create something immoral. The creator created something that has a free will, and that act alone did not make the creation immoral.

    If the creator created something immoral when he created man, then man would be consistently immoral. But man is not consistently immoral. ERGO, QED, god did not create something immoral.
  • whatsgoinon
    8
    Hi chromechris, I too, am still quite a new forum-poster. So I hope you can be understanding of my response and ideas to your argument.

    One important thing to point out is that physically, your parents created you.
    God has known about you for thousands of years and knew he would create you long before you were made, and that your parents would be the ones to make you. And he picked and created these situations.
    Even if God didn’t exist but the world did, you still wouldn’t technically have a say in whether or not you existed- this would be at the fault of your parents if this is what you think.

    I’d like to think that God does not force his presence upon you. You have a choice whether or not to believe in him. This can be assumed to be included with free will.
    Some people that are not theists might just believe that karma is how the world is run, or whatever they wish to believe, that there is a cycle to life. But whatever these beliefs are, there are always things that don’t exactly line up with what we are wanting for ourselves, or our own plans. People will always like to find something to put the blame on, since it is frustrating.

    Some people would also say that it’s possible that God allows things to happen in your life that you do not necessarily agree with because it is important to your end-goal self, who you are meant to be. However this is less about your argument and more about the Problem of Evil, a whole other topic altogether.

    Also, I know of no people whose parents drop them as soon as they turn 18. Maybe I have just been blessed in this sense. Some people might be thrown into authority of their own lives much earlier or much later, because this example varies so much- I don’t necessarily know that this could be included in your argument, perhaps another example should be used. Seeing as how most parents still take part in taking care of their child in some kind of aspect. And I wouldn’t necessarily think that the relationship you explained to be considered as “moral,” I would think that parents continuing to be caring would be more moral than the example you provided. Parents are still parents forever and ever into eternity. Would you argue that you wish you didn’t have parents as well if you think this way? If that were the case than you would be wishing that you did not exist. Would you argue that only your parents are the ones that “created” you?

    Also many argue that God gives humans free will, which I will argue as well. Which means to me, that yes he does know what your life will consist of but does not “run you” as a slave-owner, as you stated. Did you learn this while you were a Christian? If not, I would be very surprised seeing as how it is an important part of theism.
  • khaled
    1.3k
    Is your boss at work immoral because he/she is your boss?

    Are police immoral? The government?
    Sherbert

    None of those people/insitutions created him then DEMANDED he work for them, and you can leave any of them at will.
  • Sherbert
    16


    Hmm, the idea I responded to was that "God is immoral because he has authority over me."-(my paraphrase.

    This is obviously not true. A station of authority does not constitute a moral dilemma.

    As to your comment. The idea that God was created by people is not the definition of God being used. That is not the definition of the term being used, so making up your own definition and then saying your invented definition is flawed is not a valid.

    As far as I know, the Christian God gives you the free choice to do good or not. The "DEMANDED" part seems to be human power grabbing speaking for God.

    No, you cannot leave any of them at will. That is just not realistic.
  • chromechris
    17
    Hmm, I think the idea of freedom should constitute to the idea of morality. Therefore if there is authority being exercised over someone who only has limited freedom, such limited freedom is the result of such authority being exercised upon such person. If the person is not able to have full freedom of their self due to the authority being placed upon them, to which such person has no control over, I can see a moral dilemma of authority.
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