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God the Dictator
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So Alex Knapp is talking about morality without god.

He says, among other things:

And if morality is ascertainable and discoverable through reason–which it would have to be if it were a part of existence–than the existence of God is irrelevant to the question of morality. And this must be the case because if morality is not ascertainable or discoverable through reason and inquiry, then it is not a part of existence.

Well, I don't know if I buy this premise. I mean, I happen to think morality is ascertainable and discoverable through reason, but it certainly could be the case that things aren't set up that way.

There definitely could be a supreme being who is the arbiter of morality and is unwilling to share all the intricacies with mere mortals.

Alex uses the example of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, just cause god said so:

If God told me, in person, to do something I thought was immoral–like, say, sacrifice my firstborn son–I would tell him no. Eternal damnation or not, I would tell him no. Because right is right and wrong is wrong and divine edict doesn’t change a thing.

Well, I'm not so sure what I would do if god, in person, told me to do something.

That aside, this is a perfect illustration of religious thinking. God has laid down the general guidelines, the commandments, if you will. But it's obvious that god's edicts trump those...after all, he wants Abraham to kill, right? This is where the whole "master plan" talk comes in, and often arises when people discuss god and the problem of evil. Why would god allow the deaths of tens of thousands of people in a tsunami if he had the power to stop it? Because it's part of some master plan that we can't see in its full shape because we're too small and weak and limited. At least that's how the thinking goes.

If morality means anything at all, then it must exist independent of any god or gods. Otherwise, it’s just the arbitrary and carpricous rule of an unaccountable authority. On Earth, we call that dictatorship.

That's just it...a large part of religious mentality is this willingness to subjugate will and reason in favor of somewhat arbitrary authority. It's interesting that America, as one of the most anti-authoritarian, democratic, and individualistic is also one of the most religious, since the two mindsets don't really gel. If you are a serious adherent to a monotheistic religion, you pretty much have to subscribe at least in part to the mindset mentioned above, that god has revealed just enough of what he thinks we need to know to be good servants, and that there's quite a bit he knows about but hasn't revealed, that's part of his master plan.

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