PragerU: If There Is No God, Murder Isn’t Wrong

Nationally syndicated radio host Dennis Prager.

(Editor’s note: The following is a thought-provoking column from nationally syndicated radio host Dennis Prager.  While it’s a bit off topic, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the premise.  Is God really the only thing that gives us moral clarity on the wrongfulness of murder?)

Do you believe that good and evil exist?

The answer to this question separates Judeo-Christian values from secular values.

Let me offer the clearest possible example: murder.

Is murder wrong? Is it evil? Nearly everyone would answer yes. But now I’ll pose a much harder question: How do you know?

I am sure that you think that murder is wrong. But how do you know?

If I asked you how you know that that the earth is round, you would show me photographs from outer space, or offer me measurable data. But what photographs could you show, what measurements could you provide, that prove that murder or rape or theft is wrong?

The fact is…you can’t. There are scientific facts, but without God there are no moral facts.

In a secular world, there can only be opinions about morality. They may be personal opinions or society’s opinion. But only opinions. Every atheist philosopher I have read or debated on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.

Judeo-Christian values are predicated on the existence of a God of morality. In other words, only if there is a God who says murder is wrong, is murder wrong. Otherwise, all morality is opinion.

The entire Western world – what we call Western Civilization – is based on this understanding.

Now, let me make two things clear.

First, this doesn’t mean that if you don’t believe in God, you can’t be a good person. There are plenty of kind and moral individuals who don’t believe in God and Judeo-Christian values. But the existence of these good people has nothing – nothing – to do with the question of whether good and evil really exist if there is no God.

Second, there have been plenty of people who believed in God who were not good people; indeed, more than a few have been evil – and have even committed evil in God’s name. The existence of God doesn’t ensure people will do good. I wish it did. The existence of God only ensures that good and evil objectively exist and are not merely opinions.

Without God, we therefore end up with what is known as moral relativism – meaning that morality is not absolute, but only relative to the individual or to the society. Without God, the words “good” and “evil” are just another way of saying “I like” and “I don’t like.” If there is no God, the statement “Murder is evil” is the same as the statement “I don’t like murder.”

Now, many will argue that you don’t need moral absolutes; people won’t murder because they don’t want to be murdered. But that argument is just wishful thinking. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao didn’t want to be murdered, but that hardly stopped them from murdering about a hundred million people.

It is not a coincidence that the rejection of Judeo-Christian values in the Western world – by Nazism and Communism – led to the murder of all these innocent people.

It is also not a coincidence that the first societies in the world to abolish slavery – an institution that existed in every known society in human history – were Western societies rooted in Judeo-Christian values. And so were the first societies to affirm universal human rights; to emancipate women; and to proclaim the value of liberty.

Today, the rejection of Judeo-Christian values and moral absolutes has led to a world of moral confusion.

In the New York Times, in March 2015, a professor of philosophy confirmed this.

He wrote: “What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun? Would you be surprised? I was.”

The professor then added: “The overwhelming majority of college freshmen view moral claims as mere opinions.”

So, then, whatever you believe about God or religion, here is a fact:

Without a God who is the source of morality, morality is just a matter of opinion. So, if you want a good world, the death of Judeo-Christian values should frighten you.

I’m Dennis Prager.

{ 63 comments… add one }
  • DJ May 5, 2017, 3:54 am

    This BS does not belong here ! We have a Jew insulting Christian values, a Muslim stating that our founding Fathers were not Christians and that our countries constitution and beliefs were not founded on what our founding Fathers believed to be what God and We the people wanted and needed. If this is so then why was “In God We Trust” on the very first paper currency. Churches, Religion, Bible thumpers etc.. are the biggest insult to God that “man” not God could ever have created. For the more I think I am so intelligent commenters, You can believe in evolution and God as being one in the same. I am not a Christian ! But I do believe that inherently we are born with a sense of what is right and wrong. Killing someone to protect yourself, the innocent or your property is not murder. I am a proud vet who still serves and protects this country working in Law Enforcement. I have no guilty feeling for taking the life of anyone who threatens what is right. Religion has nothing to do with it ! So leave the religious rhetoric elsewhere. Blue Lives Matter and so does the lives of the innocent.

  • Bob April 5, 2017, 10:07 pm

    I believe societies from the beginning of time have had taboos if not societal laws against murder, stealing, etc. When you consider how long mankind has been worshiping the “current” God vs how long mankind has been around I think it would be foolish to think morality has only been around for a few thousand years.

  • Nate April 3, 2017, 4:16 pm

    What a pathetic load of crap! Socrates destroyed this same BS argument almost 2500 years ago. The author should read/have read “Euthyphro”, written by Plato.

  • Jeff Karn April 3, 2017, 1:58 pm

    I think, perhaps, that Mr. Praeger would be well-served by a classical education. Perhaps a little Aristotle? Or some Kant?

  • CDR-C April 3, 2017, 8:48 am

    What you’re referring to is the “social contract” that holds a society together to prevent anarchy. And that makes sense for a society, but as an independent being, why am I bound to it? If I choose to kill you and take your stuff, because I am willing to take the risk of you doing the same to me first, that is as morally defensible position as any other.

    Scale it down, and talk about speeding while driving – there’s laws against it, and I’m sometimes willing to take the risk and break the laws.

  • Jay April 2, 2017, 12:13 pm

    If there is only this one life, if there’s is only this world, if there is no soul, and if there is no eternal being, then I suppose one could commit murder with impunity. The issue, for me, is that there is an eternal component to my being, and every being, that precludes me from taking that life. Why would I jeopardize my immortal soul for murder? This truth is not specific to Jude-Christians, but is found universally throughout all ages, cultures and religions.

    There is a marked difference between murder and killing. I will kill to protect my family. That is not murder. Murder is forcing ones “will” on another, against the victims desire. Killing is forced upon us, by the actions of others. The Torah delineates these clearly.

  • elgavilansegoviano April 1, 2017, 11:11 pm

    ……..Reason why GOD gave Man the Ten Commandments!!,……

  • Joe April 1, 2017, 4:46 pm

    What absolute horseshit. There is tons of research on secular ethics.

    Murder is wrong because living is a preferable state for everyone. Stealing is wrong because everyone prefers not to be stolen from. It’s really fucking simple for anyone with a brain and Prager is just losing credibility on more important work it does.

  • Larry April 1, 2017, 2:44 pm

    I’m always amazed at the vitriolic spew that comes from others that may not believe in God. I’m good with it though! You have every right to think, believe and say what you will.
    But the point is, when a situation arises where a life may be taken by the use of a CCDW, what one believes is right and wrong and the value one places on any human life will dictate the action taken.

  • Pistol Packin Pentecostal Preacher April 1, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Dear Sirs: Great article and well spoken. No one will ever be able to tell it all to the satisfaction of the naysayers but I appreciate your stand and yes it should be discussed in any forum that there is a God. He is a large subject and stirs up many opinions but it comes down to whether you believe or not. I have a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. I have traveled the world and have seen much evidence of His work. I have seen blinded eyes opened and terrible disease healed. No one understands all about God or His ways. Everyone does not get healed. There is also evil in this world. Satan the adversary against God works to cause unbelief and many other evils. I am not writing to just testify of knowing there is a God but to say also that His name is Jehovah. Also to say I am proud that this subject has come forth in Guns America and that Mr. Blannelberry has brought this article and subject forth. Even if you are an atheist or of another religion you would have to be an idiot, liar or just plain lazy to not look up facts. I have visited Washington DC and have seen through all the years all the dedication of the scriptures, the bible that this capital and this country have been built upon. The original 13 colonies constitutional statements declare that to hold office you had to be a Christian and all the colleges including Harvard and Yale were started by Christians and you had to be an ordain d minister to be the leader of the college. Our penal systems were started by the church. There are 12 jurors because of the 12 tribes of Israel. I would have to write an encyclopedia of plain facts that this country was built upon Judeo Christian principles whether you believe it like it or hate it. It is fact jack. My fellow Parsons helped preach and fought alongside fellow patriots for our independence. Again whether you believe in God or not unless you are just plain stupid you can’t deny Christianity in the building of this great nation. If you do you are showing your ignorance or that you have believed others in their lies and have been so lazy as to not do any HONEST research. IT IS EVERYWHERE!!! Yes there are bad examples of Christians everywhere but there are bad examples everywhere in all walks of life. Red, yellow, black or white there are good and bad everywhere but the facts still remain the same. This country was built upon the Bible and that is the Christian bible. Our country gives you the free right to be a Christian or to deny God. This is true Christianity. In some countries you must be their religion or die. I have preached the gospel of Christ all over the world and have witnessed this. There is no greater country in the world than the USA even if we have good and bad Republicans and Democrats. I say love it or leave it but of course you don’t have to. Christ and this democracy says you may remain and speak your mind. That is just what I am doing. Thanks again for this great article and for the free will of comments even if I vehemently disagree. I have proof where is yours. Jesus said there would be a time to take up your sword. We gun owners believe guns save lives even if some evil people take them needlessly. Guns, and knives can kill or feed people. They can harm or protect and any person with any rational mind that is honest can see this. Go Guns America !!!Go USA and Go Jehovah and Go Jesus and Go Bible and Judeo Christian principles and ethics

  • keith April 1, 2017, 12:26 pm

    the OT book is a book of ancient governmental law and the story of the nation that kept or broke those laws. Today we live in a nation with governmental laws. The governmental law “You shall not murder” is as old as civilization itself, whenever they had a body of laws. Since we have ancient law books like the bible that show moral laws which are beneficial to a society, why argue where they came from? One thing for sure they work! The germans a long time ago, murdered their enemy, or those weaker with no thought of “you shall not murder”. They felt the weaker people should be killed. So if every culture and nation thought that way, we would never have peace on earth, which is the case today, where we murder in the name of “democracy, allah, god, freedom, oil, diamonds, gold, terrorism, etc…” I can’t argue with a good set of governmental laws that protect me from the stronger person, “you shall not murder”, means if I’m not a criminal, and I don’t cause you harm, “don’t murder me”! Instead of looking at the bible (OT, since Dennis is a Jew and doesn’t believe in the NT) as a book of religion, why not look at it for what it really is, a set of governmental laws, established throughout many centuries, and proven to hold moral doctrines which are necessary for a free society!

  • Steve Dahlen March 31, 2017, 10:32 pm

    Wow! Everyone is so brilliant (and lengthy) in answering this question. I suggest you die first before rendering an authoritative answer.

  • Carl Tests March 31, 2017, 7:19 pm

    This article makes no sense at all. Game theory alone provides justification not to murder. Polytheistic religions had proscriptions against murder. Sorry, you just don’t need God, Gods, god, or gods to justify not committing murder. Enough said.

  • Joe Jurkiewicz March 31, 2017, 3:42 pm

    I could be wrong but I believe the original wording of “Thou shall not kill” was in fact “Though shall not murder” so that would put a new spin on things as it would make sense as Moses and the Tribe of Israel conquered that part of the world with Gods blessing.Its a very difficult subject that will debated for a long time as long as there is good and evil in this world!

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 31, 2017, 3:37 pm

    Okay, here’s the high velocity ‘debunk’ of this ‘morality confusion from this article in simpler terms. (I expanded already in other response comments here) The dispute between moral relevence and moral absolutism is a fabrication by the Authoritative Religionists for poisoning a reasonable and objective Egalitarian Secular transformation of society because of simple Free Thinking enlightenment. They need an ‘anti-Christ’ to cover their degenerate religious obsessive compulsive lgbt mental illness and ease their warped consciences of their own dirty little secret debaucheries.

    So ‘printed in the bible’ religionists made up this ‘moral relevance’ bullshit to mitigate their own horrific ‘ my way or the highway straight to hell’ no question asking allowed Totalitarian religious absolutism. The rest speaks for itself. All ‘morality’ is relative, otherwise we wouldn’t need so many laws. And I don’t mean just modern laws, I mean the great Po-diddy-Grand Poopappy of them all, The old Jewish books of the Old Testament like the Torah which had more control freak laws than all the fleas on all the camels during JEEsus’ lifetime!

  • Clouse March 31, 2017, 3:13 pm

    Coming from someone who is an atheist and a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, and someone who generally finds religion to be something that causes as much harm as it does good these days, I’m of the belief that murder is absolutely wrong, and there is no god. Morality doesn’t only originate from God, and it can be a societal construct. Human life is valuable. period…believing in god has nothing to do with that.

    • Ognar March 31, 2017, 5:25 pm

      As Denis Prager clearly pointed out, that is just your opinion, and as such it is no more valid than anyone else’s regardless of how many people share it. The only absolutes that can exist in morality are dictated by the belief in a higher power which sets them. And that is why the moral relativists want so badly to cloud the discussion. If two people of conflicting belief systems have opposing views of morality then one must be wrong. If one belief system is time and again in the right about its moral teachings then it strengthens that religion and weakens the idea of leaving morality to be obedience to government bureaucrats.

      • Frank April 2, 2017, 2:02 am

        Since the wrongness of abortion is only an opinion, as the Bible (and thus god) is silent on it (not the commandment, actual abortion it self), you shouldn’t have a problem with abortion, right?

        • Chris Baker April 2, 2017, 8:24 am

          Actually you are wrong. There’s a verse in Exodus, sorry can’t remember exactly which one, that says if a man strikes a pregnant woman such that her child comes out but is not harmed, then he will be fined. But if the child is harmed, then he shall pay with like injury. So if the child is killed he is also to be killed.

    • Kurt April 1, 2017, 8:42 pm

      I don’t need a book from the stone age to tell me murder or theft is wrong. Remember, the same book prohibits eating pork or shellfish, wearing cotton-wool blends, etc. Choosing to believe murder is wrong while eating pork rinds suggest the “believer” is cherry-picking which tenets of religion to embrace. The belief that murder is a crime or is morally wrong is older than Christianity.

  • steve March 31, 2017, 2:44 pm

    even if there is a god, there is no such thing as objective morality.
    so something is moral because god says so? that is the very definition of subjective morality.
    or did god not decide or “create” what is right or wrong, but things just are “absolutely” right or wrong, and since god is omniscient he knows what they are and tells us? if that’s the case, then god is clearly not required for objective reality to exist.
    more importantly, how do these people KNOW what is right and what is wrong, and where is this list? for example, is gay marriage right or wrong? slavery? polygamy? abortion? freedom of religion? sending the vast majority of humanity to be horrifically tortured and burned alive for all eternity simply for not being convinced of the claims of the bible and instead just taking it on faith (over every other religion demanding our faith)? is it immoral to be born into a fallen world, or be the distant descendant of someone who ate from a tree before they even knew right from wrong? do you use the new testament or old testament to determine morality?
    regardless, anyone who has actually read the bible (I mean actually read front to back) cannot possibly believe the god of the bible is a moral being being. everyone on this thread is more moral than yahweh.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 31, 2017, 3:57 pm

      Well said, Steve, this Dennis Praeger is just another nit wit thumper who can’t come to grips with his own anal retentiveness that the truth and reality always was that this Country was Never founded in any way shape or form on so-called Judeo-Christian principles, but was framed with a Law of the Land incorporating Secular objective reasoning in an honest NON-Delusional Secular Egalitarian paradigm.

      Secular in the context that they didn’t want to continue the STD (stupidly transmitted disease) of faith based belief system all corruptible religionism which was already infecting the country at the time and have it destroy the future and lifestyle of a Liberty and Justice oriented American Society in an enlightened future. (read Thomas Paine among other political scientists and philosophers at the time who influenced the Framers)

      But as you see with this article. It doesn’t stop the depraved mental sickness of rabid ‘god fearing’ fanaticism.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 31, 2017, 1:23 pm

    I had a vision in a dream that it would come to this… bringing in ‘god’ to a gunfight… But at least I get a chance now to edififuckincate my fellow Patriots and use the academic credentials I spent so much resource and time on but never made any money at it,

    Murder has a subjective social reference that is mitigated, or not, by the overall necessary survival of the species. Of course the requirements for the survival of the species vary constantly and considerably over time and evolution. So the importance or onus of ‘murder’ is modified in the transitions over time. And since primitive times into modern enlightenment, the ‘homicide’ or killing of humans by other humans, who are supposedly of higher intelligence than all other planetary species, has never changed. Meaning that we never solemnly and totally prohibited killing other at any time in our history. That, of course, was putting it ‘mildly. So murder, which is only subcategory of killing each other, which at this point in species development actually still amounts to a viable means to survival of certain factions of humanity, is a relative coincidence to the general evolution, until something major changes.

    If one is religionist by delusional faith based belief systems designed to control the minds and bodies of others, then, of course, there must be LAWS or ‘rules’ governing the game of species killing. Otherwise entire populations of species would kill themselves off sooner, rather than later. The end of a person’s bio-chemical material existence was the preferred way (god even started it all in the first couple pages of the bible) to get your particular proprietary ‘point’ (usually of a sword) across if you didn’t agree with ‘god’s law! (which was really not).

    In the old testament, rape and murder was not only tolerated but even sanctioned in righteous context as when Moses led his storm trooping hordes of merciless warriors against his enemies-which really weren’t his unfriendly neighbors, but just required ‘conquering’ if you wanted to keep your ‘flock’ living in the style they were accustomed to, especially if you weren’t big on farming or flea markets?

    Moses, according to the bible, (I’ll quote the verse if anyone doubts it, but since I know the bible like the back of my ass, after it was wiped, I one betting money put down first because I happen to know that there are parts of the bible intentionally never read or studied, lol!) actually killed women and children and allowed his soldiers to keep young minor female captives as sex slaves as rewards for their bloodthirsty valor in combat. (oh, you thought Moses was too ‘holy’ for that sort of barbarian atrocity? You maybe fell for the ‘myth’ part of the bible that he was leading his poor, pitiful groups of slaves to escape from the evil Egyptian Pharo’s chariot brigades, LOL!?)

    So ‘Murder’, you say? Or rather he wrote? BWHAAAHAhahahahaaaghghghgaaaa!

    Anyone who supports war in any way shape or form when it isn’t absolutely, unequivocally necessary in self defense to survive, is complicity in murder. And don’t get me started or I’ll demonstrate how most of us, only by what we ordinarily do at times of our lives are complicit in murderous actions somewhere in the world. Then you’ll get more depressed, have to get on more anti-depressant drugs, which will render you unsuitable according to the new coming ATF Fiat guidelines when the leftist Totalitarians take back Congress next time, if we don’t use what precious time we have left for now to quit worrying about ‘REDRUM’, as written in the Jack Nicholson classic move, and start repealing gun control laws?

    Until the human species reaches a point in higher consciousness where there is no ‘need-‘ in their deformed, convoluted mental illnesses- to kill each other, nothing’s going to change. Lets concentrate on something we can change. The imminent sinister plot to enslave us all.

    Which is worse than death..

    • Steven Pitkin March 31, 2017, 4:00 pm

      You can “…know the Bible like the bottom of your ass…”, but every word you just vomited out of your fallen mind proves it to be correct when the Author of the Bible said “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matthew 15:11)
      If you did know the Bible you would not come out with such a silly statement like “Unless the human species reaches a point in higher consciousness where there is no ‘need- In their deformed, convoluted mental illnesses- to kill each other, nothing’s going to change.” In this I agree with you partly. Nothing is going to change. Man is a fallen creature, born hating his Creator. You are living proof. But you labor under the illusion that mankind who is spiritually dead at the bottom of a lake has it within him/herself to “concentrate on something we can change.” Since when can a dead person do anything for themselves except decay? The Bible is just so many words to you and whether I believe it and you do not does not change the the fact that it is “God’s baby talk to mankind” (As Martin Luther said) and is objectively true. Truth is not dependent on whether or not you or I believe it. All religions (Including yours) are based on ” works righteousness” except for the Bible which tells the story of God’s actions to return fellowship with those born hating Him. The “sinister plot to enslave us all” is something you are still apart of, which only requires the grace of God alone, through faith alone through Christ alone.” I’d hate to be your adrenal gland now, but the Bible is clear on self defense of one’s life. You should also know this same God (If you’re so well versed in the Bible) said “And do not rear those who kill he body, but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4,5) Which is worse than death.

  • Robert J Weber March 31, 2017, 1:08 pm

    “If” in itself is ONLY an opinion!

  • Alan March 31, 2017, 12:10 pm

    In the ‘Logical’ realm of thought on sentient beings and morality, to state that “morals” are ONLY dependent on or contributable to belief in a Deity shows an enormous lack of logic and intellect.
    Just as I view murder as wrong, I also view execution for crimes of murder, rape and torture as righteous.
    To state that a Deity must be a part of logical and moral humanity is so narrow minded I have difficulty fathoming the process.
    I’m agnostic, and have no real connections with any Deity, but as a humanist I see the differences in that which is ‘good and evil’, simply by considering MY OWN HUMANITY!
    The lack of this ideal in others is why we have had a history of evil actions, right along with the evil actions of those who believe in a Deity!
    Confusing a lack of morals in others as a lack of guidance by a Deity is ludicrous in light of those religions that perpetuate death for non belief, and the history of certain religions of spreading their influence by force of arms.
    Hells bells, have the writings of many of the great philosophers been for naught?
    Since when has being a HUMAN with morals been dependent on a “divine” belief??
    Are we to believe that the ‘caveman’ didn’t love his or her children and family??
    So, morality and feeling bad for something you did to hurt another came along with belief in a God???
    That flies in the face of logic and reason, absolute nonsense.

    • Chris March 31, 2017, 12:42 pm

      I think you should read again. The writer says that if you do not believe in GOD, you can still choose to live by morals. However, there is no foundation other than your own personal desire to do what you believe is right. For those of us who believe that GOD does exist, our morals stem from our beliefs. I don’t steal, rape, murder because the Bible, the basic guidance that GOD has given me says it’s wrong. Why do you think it’s wrong? The point is, if there is no GOD, or at least if you choose to believe there is no GOD, who’s to say what is right and what is wrong? It’s all debatable. There would be no right or wrong. All of our laws are based on Christian principles. Without those, we would never have been able to agree on what was right and what was wrong in the first place to write any laws.

      • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 31, 2017, 3:09 pm

        Chris, you’re correct in that morals are really only relative to their function in human interactions and the Vatican church in the not too distant past had serious theodicy issues with preserving their sole proprietorship to the ‘gates of heaven’ to the exclusion of all those who refused to pay for a life time membership to their club. Religious scholars and Theologians brought the ‘Holy See’ to its knees, so to speak, and they then copped to the argument that no merciful and good ‘god’ would restrict somebody from heaven just because they weren’t properly ‘evangelized’ and maybe still even bowed down to the Sun on occasion as long as they led a good life and were Not practicing evil, relatively speaking.

        The Church always had problems with ‘educated’ people as the world became more and more enlightened. But claiming that all comparative ‘morality’ in the basic schema of good and evil is the result of Judeo-Christian influence is simply incorrect.

        I wrote a paper once actually proving that the basic social foundation for morality existed before any formalized Judeo-Christian religious evolution ever existed.

        If consider the essence of ‘morality’ in an equitable self improving social construct it boils down to just two basic mandates. Don’t kill anyone you don’t absolutely have to, and don’t steal their shit. Yes, that’s two of the 10 commandments, but the other eight are of proprietary religionist favor and mostly superfluous to keeping your control scam going.

        Before ‘modern’ religionism such as Judeo-Christianity and then its ugly perverted knock off of Islam (oh, don’t tell me you didn’t know that either, LOL?) you could go back 10-20k years to pre Egyptian Sumarian cuniform history and find the same basic ‘rules’ of good social integration starting with, ‘Don’t kill (murder) anybody for no just cause, and don’t steal anybody’s shit, including their wives or kids. These same two ‘commandment’ type tenets existed, then were handed down in subsequent empires and societies from Egypt (the book of the Dead) down through Zoroasterian philosophes, ancient Chinese culture, and then Jewish and Christian religious systems.

        So to address your point, If there is no ‘god’ (I mean, i’m sure there is, but its not what you think, and he or more likely SHE is obviously not really communicating with their subjects if they don’t even have a fucking email? So She must not give a flying angel fuck about us pusillanimous piss ants constantly breaking the rules and killing each other all the time? So who really gives a shit about ‘god’ in a world where you invariably need to rely on yourself and other humans if you want to survive, then saying ‘ ah, there for the grace of god, if it turned out good, or blaming it on the stupid devil, if it didn’t, LOL? (Sharp as shit, those Eusebian bishops back in around 300-340 AD when they first compiled the Bible. They had their control psychology DOWN and Dirty!)

        So if there is No ‘God’ as in in your perception, Chris, then here’s the breaking news! YOU just have to act as a reasonably objective truth seeking individual as a rational and fair minded member of the collective human species ‘hell bent’ on just ‘making it’ and trying to do good in the process for the duration of instant split nano-second of precious material biological organic existence in this universe.

        So that means you have to get along to go along, make rules based on collective agreement and consent which all boil down to basic notions of not killing anyone, and not stealing their shit. Otherwise the logic is that the species would simply steal and kill themselves to extinction without a few basic survival constraints. In otherwords, the human species, with or without ‘god’ actually sets its own ‘morality’, if they wanted to survive. ‘God’ not withstanding.

        Countless examples of civilized groups throughout history had good ‘moral’ compass, as they say, and survived and thrived WITHOUT A so-called Judeo-Christian proprietary ‘morality’ and without any conscription by threats of damnation to religionism. In fact, if you study your ancient history, you might be amazed that the only time many of these ‘alternative’ secular societies failed, is when they were ‘conquered’ by mindless delusional religionists.

        So that’s how we get ‘morality’, without ‘god’.

      • Alan March 31, 2017, 7:54 pm

        I think you should read again.
        I stand by my observations and comments.
        Clearly stated, and repeated by YOU,
        is the idea that morals are subject to belief in a Deity.
        “If you choose to believe there is no God, who’s to say what’s right or what is wrong? It’s all dabatable.”
        Utter nonsense, and shows a complete lack of thought on past civilizations, as well as the human condition itself.
        Before a God, man was an animal, after God, morals.
        Complete bullshit.
        God overnight, and morals too?
        Nonsense.
        As I clearly stated.

  • gary March 31, 2017, 12:10 pm

    I can’t tell if he is a nut job or an atheist or are they the same???????????

  • J.E. Hill March 31, 2017, 10:25 am

    This is pure BS. “God”? Which one of the 2500+ gods humanity has worshipped in it’s history? The most popular one now as opposed to the most popular one the millennia ago.

    Gods are imaginary. ALL of them. Period.

    Please leave this this sort of superstitious stupidity to the religious pages. It has no business whatsoever on Guns America. Stick to gun issues; it’s what you’re best at.

    • brad serrano March 31, 2017, 10:46 am

      Amen!

    • David Fryauff March 31, 2017, 10:47 am

      God..BS…Hmmm
      A good book is “The case for a creater”. Remember the word “Evolution” comes from “Evolve” which means “to change”. First you have to be created and exist before you can change. A nasty fact is that about all species including fish, birds, reptiles and animals all appeared on earth within the same era.
      God gives me the moral and ethical insight on how and when to use my firearm…and when not to.

      Thank God

      • Buddy March 31, 2017, 11:47 am

        They certainly DID NOT!

      • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 31, 2017, 1:32 pm

        David, you mean THE god, Hisself (as they say west of Tennessee?, The big guy up there? Just one question, please. could you give me his email, he must have changed it because I can’t reach him anymore?

        The Case for the Creator is not that good. If you practice logical discourse you can ‘make a case” for just about anything but not prove it beyond a doubt. but since you’re a ‘reader’ instead of a ‘thumper’ who probably never read more than a few pages of the bible anyway as I’ve always discovered after quizzing them, here’s a good one to start your enlightened apostacy with. “The God Secret’ (author escapes me momentarily) And then we’ll ‘ascend’ to higher species enlightenment
        from there.

  • Larry March 31, 2017, 10:17 am

    I have read several of the comments and I see one very prominent idea that is confusing. People tend to confuse God with religion. Many years ago commentators began to replace God with an idea that was labeled “Judeo-Christian”. God is a person not an idea. He is not religion.
    How that applies is important. For example, many believe there is a “wall of separation” to exist between the government and the church or religious expression. But that has been applied to the person of God. Not one of our founding fathers and very few leaders in the history of the United States would say that Jefferson meant a “wall of separation” from GOD. He is a person not a religion, idea or organized denomination of faith.
    The person God, whose name is Yahweh (also pronounced or Jehovah) established a perspective of morality that He makes clear to His creation. We too are persons made in the image of God though fallen and tainted by rebellion. We have opinions and perspectives that become a view of how we see things or decide moral issues. God sees things a certain way. I’ve heard it correctly said that truth is reality. But reality is a matter of perspective others will say. I agree. But if there is a norm then the abnormal becomes apparent. If there is a normal perspective of reality then completely ignoring it and making one’s own reality becomes an issue of psychosis whether mild or severe. If there is no “normal” or “standard” then the definition of psychosis becomes confused.
    I say all this to point out one thing: Truth is reality from God’s perspective. He is the standard. He is the Creator of all and therefore sets the standards for all. Because God, a person, not a religion or idea, has clearly expressed that “MURDER” is wrong that is moral truth and the standard of perspective that is considered normal. Departure from that truth is clearly evil and when it goes too far, such as with Hitler, Stalin and Mao, it becomes psychotic and very dangerous to society. This is absolute truth upon which our society has been built. God has not said it is wrong to “kill”. Indeed He commands it at times in human history. The biblical difference between murder and killing is malice aforethought. Soldiers must kill at times. Judges and executioners carry out capital punishment. The young man that found three men robbing his father’s home and killed them to defend himself and his property (if that is the way of it). The police officer that shoots and kills criminals when necessary. All these are examples of killing that is not the same moral evil as murder. It is when a person has malice in his heart towards another and thinks before hand that he/she will murder someone no matter how quickly or slowly that process takes. That is the difference between killing and murder. They are not the same things and are not moral equivalents.
    Murder is wrong because God has told us it is wrong. Rape is wrong because God has told us it is wrong. Stealing is wrong because God has told us it is wrong. Human society has been built on these truths. To say that there was no religion, such as Judaism or Christianity, since the beginning of man and therefore cannot be the reason societies know that murder, rape and theft are wrong at best demonstrates ignorance of truth and at worse denies the person of God.

  • Tim King March 31, 2017, 10:17 am

    I don’t usually comment on these email articles, in fact I don’t usually have the patience to make it through all the comments, that are already there by the time I read it. That said I had to say something here. Several comments said this type of discussion has no place on a gun website, one even said by posting this article Guns American was somehow making a violation of his first amendment rights. To those upset folks I say, if you can’t read something that does not agree with what you already believe, without throwing a fit, you are going to have a hard time in this world.
    In response to the article; I think the author did a poor job of proving his point. I think he left many people confused about what he was actually trying to say, assuming I interpreted his words correctly. First, I noticed several comments about “morales and morality” this word is often mistakenly used to mean “that which is universally understood to be good and right.” Morality is simply that which a person does, based upon that which a person believes, “ethics.” So an “immoral person” is a person who believes one thing to be good and right and does the opposite. Or he believes something to be wrong or bad and then does it. In essence an immoral person is always a hypocrite. On the other hand a “moral person” is one who has behaved in a way consistent with his beliefs. I believe Ethics is really what the author is addressing, or rather, where do ethics come from. Many in the comments seemed to understand the author to say that the only way a person has proper ethics is by knowing and believing things taught by Judaea Christian culture. That would imply that everyone must either know the Bible or the Torah to have accepted ethics. I don’t think this was the author’s point, if it was, it is not a defendable point. I might be wrong, but I believe the author to be saying that proper ethics are innate because humans are created by God not evolved from bacteria. Every human being, regardless of race, culture or background, understands certain things to right and certain things to be wrong without being taught or needing a law to define those fundamental things. The most basic of which is the right to life. This is why almost everyone accepts a murderer to be an immoral person, even though they don’t really understand the concept of morality. These all accept that the murderer is immoral because they believe that murder is wrong and also that all people know instinctively that murder is wrong. Therefore they believe that the murderer has obviously acted in an immoral way, defying his ethic that tells him he should not murder. I believe that the author is addressing the underlying assumption that all people accept somethings to be truth and that the only way a belief can be universal across all time, culture and ethnicity is that it must have a common origin. If evolution were to take credit for human ethics we would see the same variation in ethics that we see in genetics. However we see something all together different. We see diverse genetics and ever further diverse genetic expression, but at the same time we see incrediblely similar basic ethics. How can this be if the ethics were not “preprogrammed” into mankind? I believe C.S. Lewis does a much better job of relaying this point than the author of this article. Lewis calls these fundamental ethics a “natural law” and says it is not a scientific law in the sense that it explains what something always does. Unlike gravity, a law that explains how things are always pulled toward the earth’s center at a rate of acceleration equal to 9.8mps. The natural law doesn’t describe what people do, but what people know they ought to do. Lewis states that if a being were to be responsible for all of creation, how would he be able to make himself known to all his creation? He could not make himself a part of the creation anymore than a home builder could build himself into the wall of the houses he built. As the builder might leave his signature in the sidewalk or inside one of the kitchen cabinets to tell the owner who made the house, so the creator of the world left his signature on the mind of mankind by giving them all the same basic ethics.
    To return to the author of this article; I believe his point to be that if you remove the belief in God then you must necessarily agree that mankind has the right and ability to rewrite his own ethics. If however God created mankind and made into each person the basic knowledge of ethics then right and wrong is according to God’s standard not ours.

    This subject is far too complicated to deal with in such a short article I hope I have shed some light on what I believe the author to mean.

  • brad serrano March 31, 2017, 10:15 am

    Wow! People with this mindset are allowed to vote! I have known people who do not commit murder but come very close only for the reason they think they will go to hell if they finish the job. Does this make them a “moral” person? Hell no! Anybody that needs to hold up to a “higher power” to decide what is right or wrong is fundamentally an immoral person. On that note, only the agnostic are truly moral. Am I going to say there is no Santa, God, or tooth fairy? No. I would never kick out the crutch from under the mentally challenged.

    • Steven Pitkin March 31, 2017, 4:17 pm

      One thing is certain, the playing field is level in the eyes of the one you refer to as “Santa, God or tooth fairy. Even within the Christian Community there are divisions as there are within the Muslim and Jewish and in every other religion.
      That doesn’t mean one throws out the baby with the bath water. I too think this is the wrong place for such discussions, but I feel an obligation to defend the One who has changed me from who I once was into who I now am. The only difference is that I now struggle with what I once saw as “natural”. In Vietnam, I had no problem ending the life of someone trying to end mine, and I still do not today. Perhaps that may change, but true Christianity is not about making one ” a better person” or “happier, more wealthy” etc. In the words of an old theologian ” If one’s Theology emphasizes grace, then one’s ethic will emphasize gratitude.” We all have a “Theology”, even the most die hard Atheist. All of my changes are done externally to me, so I cannot claim any credit, and I am still capable of the worst man can offer. But I live by staying close to the one who gave me new life, and I would die for your right not to believe as much as I would your right to believe. I hope you can understand.

  • Jim March 31, 2017, 9:47 am

    Common sense tells you not to harm other people, religion has nothing to do with it.

  • CDR C March 31, 2017, 9:09 am

    Excellent write-up. And the author is correct – without an absolute authority (God), there are no absolute values (natural laws). Everything comes down to opinions / social contracts / laws (and laws are most often just a distillation of common desires). I had a similar conversation with an atheist friend (and he remains a friend) years ago – we were discussing our different beliefs, and I asked him “If there’s no God, then what would be wrong with me killing you here and stealing your motorcycle?” and his response was “that’s wrong” – and we could not get to a point of “why.” As a male human animal, my animal nature is to dominate / subdue every competing male and breed with every female, and take every piece of valuable property (the best house, car, tree, whatever) for my own use. What restrains me from that? The Social Contract – if I act that way, others will too? What if I am willing to take that risk. The laws and punishment? Again, some people are willing to take that risk. ONLY the existence of absolutes, of right and wrong, of the authority of a superior being / creator / God is sound logic against complete rule of force.

  • David March 31, 2017, 7:57 am

    Ugh…This has no purpose on the gun blog, especially such unresearched B.S. from this tool. “Every atheist philosopher I have read or debated on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.” He must only be reading and debating middle schoolers. Go debate Sam Harris or Aron Ra and read Christopher Hitchens, then write your article.

    • David March 31, 2017, 9:04 am

      And if you prefer a deeper analysis than Prager’s sound bite, try this essay by Ron Lindsay… https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/5640

    • el Heffe March 31, 2017, 9:12 am

      Agreed. Morality, while can surely be subjective, the premise that a god must exist for morals to have validity is a fallacy. Actions are wrong not because of god told us so. Actions are wrong because they create victims. If one would desire to be “victimized” then they are not a victim as they are actively seeking damage to the self. Of course with the caveats for the mentally unstable, etc… this is a very simple concept that religious zealots cannot grasp because they are too invested in their beliefs. If one cannot alter their beliefs based on valid, reasonable and logical arguments, then they have no critical thinking skills and it is pointless to engage these people anyway.

      • Rodger March 31, 2017, 10:06 am

        Look at history. Religion has caused wars and death and murder. If you do away with religion, you do away with most wars.

        • Rusty April 20, 2017, 11:35 am

          You know the liberals use that same logic to explain why we need to ban guns, right?

    • R U Fuluvit March 31, 2017, 10:24 am

      Ugh? Prager has debated Hitchens on this very topic.

    • Nate April 3, 2017, 4:46 pm

      Better yet, skip those Subjectivists and read Ayn Rand.

  • Merx March 31, 2017, 7:57 am

    Ridiculous! The question should killing not murder. The rationalization of it not based on religion or morals. It based on what most law is which the expection of reciprocity or simply what you want to happen to you. Since religion nor Judea Christian ethics did not exist since the start of time, one does not want to be killed wold not do that to others without the same happening. To fill the grey areas of when it was permissible to kill, even hunting, codes were developed. This considered, the thesis in this article is a loaded, specific argument that could be settled by allowing people to hit peoplè in the face at any time or place with impunity and see how quickly rules develop. Then you can rationalize them with religion.

  • jimt March 31, 2017, 7:31 am

    If you want to know if murder is wrong just think about this; someone just broke into your house and your young daughter was there with her mom, your wife. This criminal now has them in his control and he rapes, then murders both of them; how do you feel about this? Has you life just been turned upside down? Has your heart just been torn from your chest? Do you feel total devastation and terror? Would you do anything to have this not happen, or to turn back time to avoid this tragedy? I believe that you would likely answer yes to all these questions, so now you know not only that murder is wrong, but you also now know why it is wrong.
    GOD said, “thou shalt not kill”, and this is why he said it. Life is the most precious thing on planet earth. All the wealth and all the things we can posses pale in the presence of one life. There is only one of each of us in this world; once that life is taken away it can never be replaced. Every life is totally unique and precious. Someone loves you and cares about your well being. To someone you are more precious than anything in this world, the difference between joy and devastation.

    • Mark N. April 2, 2017, 2:06 am

      Life is only worth as much as you can pay someone to end it. Or, as in Pakistan and Afghanistan (and probably parts of India) the value of a life is what you have to pay the family to forgive you and end the criminal prosecution after you have murdered one of their family members. In Mexico today, the life of a peasant has no value except that which he can provide to his masters, the cartels and the government. In fact, in most of the world today, life has very little value, no more than the cost of a bullet. And neither the Christian God nor Jesus can protect you from those stark facts. In other parts of the world, life has much more value, but those areas are mostly confined to the first world countries.

  • JGinNJ March 31, 2017, 7:31 am

    Many years ago I was invited to a teachers’ conference in a rural area. I spoke in my area of expertise, and then went around to other events. There was a panel discussion on “evolution” that I attended. Most of the panel participants were invited guests as I was, from major cultural centers.
    Make no doubt about it, I am a scientist and accept evolution. But I was curious about the event. Let the show begin.
    Most of the “sophisticated” members of the panel just did not “get it”. Rather than a serious discussion, or an understanding of the questions from the audience, they relied on contempt, a superiority of their intelligence over that of the audience. “Is this really an issue here?” was expressed many times.
    What I saw was quite different. The members of the audience that asked questions did not seem to me to care about whether
    “evolution” was a valid theory or not. They did not question the science.
    What they did do is ask in many different ways the same question. Remember this was a teachers’ conference, devoted to education. “If human beings are no different from those they evolved from or others that have evolved along different paths, then how can I raise my children to they have special behavior?”
    It is a legitimate question, and one that has been part of human culture. When we learned that the Earth is not the center of the universe, and it is just a planet circulating a sun that is like many other suns, we had to deal with a loss of “specialness”. When we learn, inevitably, that there are life forms in the universe along with ours, it will deal another blow to the concept that we will have to accept.
    Up to that point I never understood why those that insisted God created the world and made mankind as the Bible described just didn’t accept the science of evolution and but claim that the process was initiated by an all powerful creator called God. That might make it easier for them, but it would not solve the fundamental question: If we are not special why must we have special behavior.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 31, 2017, 4:22 pm

      I’ll answer that fundamental question for you. It’s self explanatory by definition. ‘special’ is relative to higher or lower ‘consciousness’. and collective levels of behaviorism. Some ‘special’ is ‘more’ special than other special. Depends on context. So you can teach higher levels of ‘specialness’ without diminishing any previous level of it. It is intrinsic to the advancement of the intellectual human species to constantly ‘improve’ in order to involve to higher intelligence and ascend to higher enlightenment and consciousness…

      Where a Sardine doesn’t give a shit that much.

  • JGinNJ March 31, 2017, 7:06 am

    1) The focus on “Judeo-Christian values” is foolish. The idea that murder is fundamentally wrong is not unique to we who are Jewish or Christian.
    2) There are perhaps better examples of “values” held by groups of people who would object strenuously to a claim that they were religious in nature, yet have many of the trappings of formal organized religions. Better in the sense that they are not as universal as the concept of murder and thus might make people think about the issue more.
    3) For example, what is the rational behind not being cruel to non-human animals? Without a belief in some overriding spiritual supremacy that determines whether our behavior is acceptable or not, why should we care? Why don’t we allow commercial trade in dog meat, cat meat or horse meat (apparently eating such is illegal in a handful of states, even if it is your own pet).
    4) Why are we supposed to accept that human beings are one with nature in general and animals n particular, yet expect that we are supposed to have special behavior?

  • Dan March 31, 2017, 7:04 am

    We have heard that man is his own worst enemy! It’s true, he will lie, cheat, steal, and even take your life! Man is by nature “evil” .He doesn’t t need God or anyone else telling him how to live his life! But, on the other hand man needs Love to control his bad nature. Jesus, on the other hand tried to tell us how to Love one another and then we or a man kind would not have to live in fear of those that do not Love US! That’s why we have man laws! You commit a crime you pay the time!

  • Bryan Groves Sr. March 31, 2017, 6:12 am

    Whatever your background, religious, or atheists belief, or culture. If you have someone close to you, family, friend, someone you know well, is murdered, you feel a loss and know it was wrong. Even the most murderess SOB grieves for his brothers life. Get real people….and get this crap off your gun blog!

    • Doc Loch March 31, 2017, 10:39 am

      Your argument is purely emotional. The author is still un-initiated in his quest on this subject. He is correct but narrow. So is your response. Good is good because of it’s longest term consequences. Bad is bad because of it’s longest term consequences. Evil is evil because of it’s longest term consequences. Right is right because… Wrong is wrong because….. I hope you get the point. Now to this educated but ignorant professor. Morality is not an opinion and is just as verifiable as the roundness of the earth (which he takes on faith by the way as do all of you). Morality can be measured objectively by it’s consequences. How much does murder cost in relation to it’s alternatives? Over what period of time is this cost/benefit? These costs and benefits are what have determined right and wrong. This is complex economic math over a long period of time, but it is as proveable as any other scientific fact (remember these supposed facts are always being tested and some fail). Now to the issue of God. Since right is a beneficial consequence over the longest period of time, and wrong is a negative consequence over the longest period of time, then there is an issue of temporality here. The question becomes when does one see the ultimate consequence of an action. This is the danger of a world without an after-life or a supreme being who “makes things just.” The problem with a true athesit (as opposed to most who are agnostic) is that as long as it appears to be beneficial to them in the realm they can comprehend to be “good” they will be good. This,however, is often dependent upon those who are calculating a time frame of longest beneficial consequences as eternity. So, when it comes down to ultimate survival the true atheist MUST kill and eat his partner if he is set on his view of a long term good which is survival of his seed. Or he must secumb to extinction (oddly humans have invented this evolution idea which has poorer scientific support than most theories, but insist on trying to survive indefinitely when all species must give way to the next by their own plan!) This is already an essay, but I submit that God is scientific, if he exists, he is verifiable. I and anyone can prove it, but just as with any experiment, if I do it, I know, not you. You would have to do the experiment too. Otherwise you would just be going by faith. Think about it. Any supposed fact you know you have accepted by faith (believing it was true enough to do what was necessary to prove it). Then you either proved it or you still continue to believe it base on someones else’s claims. Is the earth round? How do you know? Is the sun a mass of incadescent plasma fusion products? Who told you that? Why do you believe them? Many people just want to believe what brings them the most pleasure for the short period they can concieve of. This lack of planning often limits future benefits and choices. Having someone tell us what to do (even if some initial pain is required) to get a better, longer term outcome is a good thing. Having a God tell us is the ultimate ability to have the longest beneficial consequences. Why would one limit ones future?

  • JD MAK March 31, 2017, 5:54 am

    This article is fraught with outright lies, hypocrisy, historical inaccuracies, misrepresentations and logical fallacies. Apparently GunsAmerica believes in the 2nd Amendment, but not the 1st. Not unlike 99.999999% of Christians, who can quite accurately be described as cafeteria Christians, picking and choosing which parts of the Bible they like and disregarding or ignoring those parts that make them uncomfortable. No different from Muslims who deny that their Quran clearly directs them to murder unbelievers.
    There are a growing number of secular conservative patriots in this country and painting us as amoral is not only a low blow, it is ignorant, counter-productive and downright evil. Disgusted and disappointed that you would even spread such dribble.
    Cue the attacks from butthurt Jewish, Muslim and Christian believers in 3…2…1…

  • Alex March 31, 2017, 5:48 am

    So if tomorrow God told you that you should start killing people, would you do it? Of Course not, because you know that it’s wrong. Morality exists outside of religion or deities. Additionally, if you started killing people and claimed that God told you that it was OK, the world would think you were crazy. And they would be right.

  • F. Swenson March 31, 2017, 5:04 am

    The author writes:

    “In a secular world, there can only be opinions about morality. They may be personal opinions or society’s opinion. But only opinions. Every atheist philosopher I have read or debated on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.”

    The author obviously never had the good fortune to have discussed this with Ayn Rand, who explained quite clearly how a system of morality can be built upon an objective view of reality. The result is a RATIONAL system of morality based simply on understanding the “basic nature” of man, and the facts about the world around him. The author ends his quote above with the words “objective morality”. Ayn Rand called her philosophy “Objectivism”

    It all starts with Aristotle’s basic laws of logic, the first one of which is “A is A”. Things are what they are… Not what anyone might “believe” they are, or “feel” they should be.

    The opposite of Faith is Reason.

    fs

  • Will Drider March 30, 2017, 10:58 pm

    For the philosophical idiots, here is the proof that murder is wrong: the murderer is taking a life that does not belong to the person doink the killing. From what ever point you believe human lifes begins, that “individual” owns its own life even when under the care of parents.
    The semantics of the obsurd question and theory are simply rectified when we make the following substitutions: replace good with right, evil with wrong and murder with homicide. We must further identify the type of homicide as to whether it is justifiable or not because we all know some people just need killing be it a BG in your house at 2AM or a execution at a prison.

    You will find the word “EVIL” in Court transcripts but you will not see it written in any Law (including AWB past and present. Lol). I don’t think the mental health professionals have a diagnosis of “EVIL” either.

    • Somegunguy March 31, 2017, 7:09 am

      I love Ayn Rand, but I love God more. Rands words never pulled me up out of the slum life nor convinced me of the worth of myself or my fellow man. Nor could they have. That power is reserved to God and the love he gives to us all freely. That said, Rand challenged my views on many gospel principles and forced me to change my understanding, or rather mistunderstanding, of some gospel principles I had incorrectly held. Sadly I think her hatred of christianity as a demotivator in seeking logical justice was misplaced. Men’s cowardice and sloth are the true culprits there. Just look around today to see this in action. We know many in government are corrupt but we allow them to get away with it. Not for Gods sake, but our own. That said, she was an amazing woman and the lessons she learned under Godless communism should not be forgotten.

  • Mark N. March 30, 2017, 9:23 pm

    This is a gun blog, and this nonsense has no place here. Nor does an opinion that the ONLY morality is the Judeo-Christian morality. There are many very moral people who are not Jewish or Christian.

    Moreover, his entire premise is contrary to the Bible. Moses handed down the laws int he Ten commandments, but Jesus rewrote them so that they were no longer commanded, but instead moral choices that people should make. Compare them side by side and you will see the message. We are not children; we chose to be moral. And morality is as much a civil code that controls the relationships between large numbers of people living in the same community as they are religious ones. It is religion, however, that gave the rules the power of whatever god that society chose to believe in. Where death is commonplace, laws hold little sway; but the threat of eternal damnation carries far greater meaning for the believers.

    To say that morality is not “objectively verifiable” is nonsensical. “God” is not objectively verifiable, any more than the words spoken to us by other humans as supposedly the Word of God can be objectively verified as to their source. Because we are not talking about scientific facts, we are talking about abstract principles guiding “civilized” human behavior. Morality is no more objectively verifiable than any given law. And morality changes over time. Once upon a time, the British believed, as did most Europeans, that enslaving blacks was perfectly moral. OVer time, that belief changed, and it bacame immoral to own other humans. Eventually the same happened in America, although it took a war to win the argument. Yet we still find plenty of places around the world where slavery is practiced to this day, and it was quite common everywhere in world at the time of Jesus. I don’t seem to recall any prophet coming down and declaring the Word OF God that slavery is immoral–and many haven’t gotten the message. So which is it? Is it immoral because God says so, or because people have made that decision based on then current societal norms and beliefs?
    And if murder is sooo bad, why are so many of the Christian Right to in favor of capital punishment–legalized murder by the state. And why do humans get to say that killing in war isn’t murder, when it is in fact the organized and intentional killings of other human beings, again by the state? It seems to me, from Denis’ comments, that war is good and murder not murder if you happen to be on the winning side, the side that says that your morality is superior top the other sides morality. Again, I don’s see any burning bushes or thunderclouds emanating lighting bolts deciding who the “proper” winner of any conflict should be.
    Because whatever God you do or do not believe in just doesn’t care.

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