Where do morals come from?

Question:

I highly enjoy coming to your church, but I am in the midst of a dilemma. I love the message presented by AC3, but to me, the life lessons (i.e. love your neighbor as thyself), are just the right way to live, not the word(s) of God. To me, it is not because he said so that we should abide by these guidelines for living, but because it is the right thing to do. There is conflict in the origin of knowing what is right and what is wrong, but I just don\’t see how knowing those things has to be because of Christ. I like your church because it makes me want to be a better person, for the sake of the people around me. But at the same time, I feel guilty coming and saying, “I believe in the message, but not so much in Christianity.” That’s not to say that my mind won\’t change, but for the moment that’s how I feel. How can I ask for guidance from someone/something/some state of being that I don\’t believe in?

Answer:

The two parts to your question are, 1, you want to be a moral person, but do you have to have faith in Christ to be a moral person? Where do morals come from anyhow? 2, does it make sense to explore prayer when you’re not certain there’s anyone/anything to pray to? Let me take these in order.

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First, I agree that there is much debate about the origin of morals. For the sake of argument let’s boil it down to two options. Either morals are subjective, and can be explained fully naturally as a survival trick in the brain, OR they are objective, universal and can only be fully explained by a Law Giver outside our minds and hearts informing us what is right and what is wrong. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve thought about this much, but let’s evaluate those options. If morals do NOT come from God, then that means they are not “real”. Not objectively real. Thus it is no more “wrong” to kill a man to get his wallet than it is “right” to help him across the street. I mean, if there’s no God, there’s no Law outside of my own whims judging my actions, and therefore there’s no Reality backing the DEMAND in my spirit that I OUGHT to do one and not the other. Thus, when I come to this conclusion, I should just do whatever I want!!

Maybe for a while, I was “snowed” by this impulse in my mind that told me I ought to do this and I ought not to do that… an impulse that was encouraged by religions and God believers – Ah, BUT, now that I know morals simply evolved, “ought” is not longer a real word. I’m free to act however I want to. Ask yourself how easy it would be for you to live as if that were true? You can’t do it. You might as well teach that the sky is green, because no one (except a psychopath) feels free to act however they want. We just “KNOW” that there are laws we ought to obey…

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The Poached Egg ApologeticsWhere Do Morals Come From? | AC3.org (Allen Creek Community Church)

 

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When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday ApologeticsWhen God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics

Thinking About God: First Steps in PhilosophyThinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy

 

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