Tag: Morality

Film Review: Mining For God

Mining for God CoverMining For God (A Search for Ancient Truth in a Modern World) is an excellent documentary about Christianity in the United States. As filmmaker Brandon McGuire points out, even though the U.S. has been called a ‘Christian’ nation and 70% of adults in the U.S. identify themselves as Christians, many of them are not sure what being Christian really means.

That’s where the story begins.


Convince Me There’s A God – Morality 3

Convince Me Theres A GodIf you asked me when I was an atheist what I thought about serial killers, I would have said they were terrible people. If you asked me what I thought about child abusers, same answer – terrible people. If you asked me what I thought about my doing whatever I wanted to do even if other people thought it was wrong, different answer. What I did was my business. However, that came with a built-in problem.

One of the Christians I was talking with at the time called my thinking “every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes.” That sounded good to me on the surface, but he asked me what I thought about a man doing whatever was right in his own eyes if doing that meant hurting me or someone I loved? I didn’t like that, but how could I argue against it if the other person had the same attitude I did about right and wrong? What happens when what’s right for me bumps into what’s right for you?


Convince Me There’s A God – Morality 2

Convince Me Theres A GodThe journey from atheism to theism is different for each person who makes it. My journey began with science, then made a turn onto the path of ethics and morality. Webster’s Dictionary defines ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.” Webster’s defines morality as “a moral discourse, statement, or lesson, a doctrine or system of moral conduct.” Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary defines morality as “beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior, the degree to which something is right and good, the moral goodness or badness of something.”

As an atheist I would have argued that I was an ethical person. For example, I believed strongly in journalistic ethics and in ethical behavior as it impacted news coverage and the First Amendment. But what was the source of my ethics and ethical behavior? Did that source of ethics affect my personal life? No. I bent personal ethics to suit my selfish interests. What was the source of that behavior? same source? different source? no source?

Was it ethical to lie, cheat, steal, murder? Maybe, I thought, depending on the “situation.” Situation ethics became a mantra for me as an atheist. It fit my belief system well and allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do, without a sense of guilt. I didn’t believe in an absolute moral law or a moral law “giver,” so there was no penalty unless someone imposed their morality on me through some system of penalties that were too big for me to overcome (e.g. traffic laws, state and federal laws).

Having been an atheist and knowing many atheists through the years, I recognize that all atheists are not alike – even as all theists are not alike. I’ve known atheists who were more ethical in their thinking and behavior than I was and some who were less ethical. The issue is not quantity, but quality. What is the quality or source of one’s morality? Is it objective or subjective? situational? relational? revelational? Is there a “right” and “wrong” in every situation in life? any situation? If so, is it an absolute? a law that must be followed? If so, who says? or can it be different from one person to another, one couple to another, one family to another, one tribe to another, one nation to another? Can we differ in our definition of what is moral and immoral? right and wrong? Is what is right for you necessarily right for me? Should I have to bow to your ethical will? or am I free to determine my own moral course and follow that path to its eventual end?


Convince Me There’s A God – Morality

Convince Me Theres A GodAs an atheist I cared little for “morality.” In fact, how others saw morality was often something I had to overcome to get what I wanted in life. So, when Christians who talked with me about the existence of God brought up the “law of morality,” it wasn’t something I was interested in discussing – at first.

I later learned that the moral argument for the existence of God is based on generally accepted points of morality within societies. It is based on the premise of moral normativity – the awareness of civilized human beings that some actions are right while others are wrong. Here are three ways I’ve heard to state the Moral Argument: