Moral Authority

Moral Authority

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ch900311B: Without God there is no moral authority.  Nobody, however strong, intelligent, or backed by logical reasoning, nor any group of people, however numerous or powerful, can say what is right or wrong, or what is “good” or “bad.”  In a democracy people vote for what they want, and that may possibly turn into law, which is then often associated with being morally accurate.  But who gave them, the collective of the people, the right to decide what is morally wrong or right?  A claim could be made that their authority was derived from some ancient creed, but if it wasn’t God, then some person or people had to make that creed, and who gave them the moral authority to do so?  And so it goes ad infinitum.

A: How about the supposition that success determines morality, i.e., “if it works, it’s right?”

B: But success is clearly subjective: my definition of success may differ significantly from another’s.  But even if there was a universally accepted definition of success, and it is attained for everybody, who’s to guarantee that it will last forever?  These things all depend on knowledge that we don’t have and can’t obtain, unless there is a God Who knows the future and may have the capacity to guarantee eternal happiness.

As everyone knows, no human being has the capacity within himself to know the future, and as far as I know, there has not yet been invented any kind of device that can help man in discerning, with perfect accuracy, any future events.  Sure, we can predict the future to a limited degree.  But in general we cannot know it, unless Somebody Who does (viz.: God again) lets us know what it is.  A person can’t even know what his own future is, or even how he’ll behave in the future.  How many times do you hear somebody say, “I would never do that?”  And yet he doesn’t actually know that, since he doesn’t know exactly how he’ll change: nobody does!  Through years of small changes in thought processes and daily habits, of experiences, tidbits of information and knowledge, and of just plain aging, large behavioral changes are effected, and the person may find himself saying, “I never thought I’d do this.”  How many times have we heard that?

Because of all this, there can never be any talk of “should” or what’s correct in general (e.g., so-called “political correctness”), without the admission of a Supreme Being or Governing Law (both of which, recall, I would classify as being types of God), simply because no person or group of people can otherwise claim that they are the ultimate authority on correctness.

A: So who gave God the right to be the ultimate authority?

B: A good question.  Why should anybody necessarily yield himself even to God’s authority?  It’s true that a person could refuse to do what God says, by simply questioning, “why should I listen to Him?  What or who gave Him the right to rule over me?  Sure, He may be able to confine me in a dungeon, destroy me, or make my life miserable, but why should that make Him the authority to which I should submit?”  And this person may not be satisfied with any answer.

Of course, the same kind of questioning could arise concerning any person, concept, or thing that is propped up as an ultimate moral authority.  In this way, somebody could argue that all morality is relative, and there could be no rebuttal.  Without any moral authority, there could not be any such thing as “right” or “wrong,” or “good” or “bad,” as discussed above.  If society adopted this idea completely, debates about any issue would be pointless.  Life itself would be pointless.  Once again, we may as well not be living, or even existing, at all.

But there’s more reason to adopting God as our ultimate moral authority than simply preserving purpose for our lives, vital though that may be; just about any other moral authority would be able to provide some kind of a purpose.  Another reason is that God – being the apparent creator of us, the Earth, our galaxy, our universe, and also even of all the minute and fine details of all those things – is evidently on a higher plane of understanding than we are.  It has not been verified that any other being – including politicians, scientists, celebrities, or any group comprised of these – has such an understanding; if so, we might consider that being or group itself to be a kind of Deity.  When we thus talk about “good” or “bad,” it can be with reference to what this God with a higher kind of understanding says is “good” or “bad.”  And it’s precisely because of His residence in this higher understanding that makes it reasonable to see Him as a higher moral authority.

Details

A: Why can’t one powerful atheist just claim that he’s the Big Cheese of the Universe and that what he says, goes, including the assumption that there never was a God?

B: Then he would have his own notion of what truth governs the Universe.  It would be his own “best guess” of what that truth is.  It doesn’t mean he’s wrong: if that guy can back his statement with truth, then I see no reason why he can’t make your suggested claim – and he would be, in essence, thus declaring himself to be God.  Either way, God ends up being the supreme moral authority.  If there are others who decide that the guy is not God, and that their own rules dictate morality, then they have declared themselves to be God.  With all these different rules concerning morality, which is correct?  The only one that could be is the set of rules declared by the one God Who can back His rules with universal truth.  And this would take somebody who possesses all knowledge concerning the Universe, which no human does or ever has.

Therefore, we may as well assume that there is a God; else how can there be any discussion about what is right or wrong?

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