Religion and Morality: Can They Get Along Apart?

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From where, or from whom, does morality derive? Is it possible, as Richard Dawkins has suggested, to separate the issues of religion and morality? In other words, is it possible to discuss morality, or have “it,” without religion? Would it even exist? And if so, on what foundation would that morality rest? If indeed those who are skeptical of religion would be successful in irradiating religion from society, would their still exist a cohesive, sensible morality in its absence?

For the Christian, this question is pointless, because morality does not and cannot exist outside of God–a moral Agent and Person who teaches His creation to reflect that morality (e.g., in the Ten Commandments). For example, if someone is raised with a sound biblical worldview (and I’m not talking about a perverted, self-interested bending of the text), there are a few things that simply attach to their thinking:

  • all people and genders matter (Psalm 139:14-15; Luke 7:36-50)
  • civil rights and care for the poor is a way of life, not something for community service hours (Leviticus 19:9-10; Proverbs 14:31)
  • honesty is always the best policy (Leviticus 5:1; Ephesians 4:15)
  • favoritism is unjust (Matthew 7:12; James 2:1)
  • personal discipline and prayer grows us personally (Psalm 1; Colossians 3:12-13)

The above 5 bullets comprise a mere example of a worldview that derives itself from the Bible. Now, if this was the philosophy by which our society lived, what would be the result? What would happen to the crime rate? Criminal behavior? Education level? Homeless population? Debt rate? Divorce rate?

As a Christian, I wholeheartedly disagree with Richard Dawkins and the Atheists in academia and elsewhere, who argue for the possibility of morality outside of religion. Who would determine right and wrong? I believe that the morality offered outside of religion gets us little more than excuses for shameful, selfish, unproductive behavior, in addition to the “it’s only wrong if I get caught” mentality. America is a laboratory experiment of it now, and we can clearly see the direction that it’s headed.

Blessings,

Joe

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