"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams
Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. - George Washington
A vitiated [spoiled or impaired] state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. - Patrick Henry
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. - Benjamin Franklin
"The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind." - Benjamin Rush
"Without a clear standard of morality, virtue is impossible, and without virtue, freedom will inevitably fade away, because rather than respect the rights of our neighbors, people will use the institutions of societychief among them, the mediato destroy those with whom they dont agree on one or more issues." - Justin Haskins (11-20-2017)
God... The Only Source of Moral Values
Where Do Our Moral Values Come From?
THE HUMANIST POSITION: But all of this is based on certain unchallenged assumptions of the theistic moralist assumptions that are frequently the product of
faulty analogies. It will be my purpose here to take a fresh look at these assumptions. I will try to show the actual source from which values are originally derived,
provide a solid foundation for a human-based (humanistic) moral system, and then place the burden on the theist to justify any proposed departure.
This is a topic I had not planned to address. A few days before I wrote this Google began listing an American Humanists web page titled "The Human Basis Of Laws And Ethics." It is a well written page, as far as grammar, syntax and word use is concerned. And it is long. When something is well-written and long, we tend to assume the author knows what they are talking about. In this case the majority of the article is pure fiction.
Most of the article is directed toward showing why our moral values cannot come from a moral lawgiver. In other words, that the Christian view of god as a lawgiver is invalid.
But, there is a huge problem with the author's position. It is such a huge problem that it totally invalidates the entire article and makes reading his article a complete waste of time for both Christians and humanists.
What's the problem?
The god he describes does not exist. The article presents a strawman god... an imaginary god... who is nothing like the true god. So the author is presenting an argument that refutes itself... an article that refutes the author's imaginary god and says nothing about the true God of the Bible.
If you are going to make an argument against something, you should at least study that something... in this case God... sufficiently such that you know and understand who or what you are arguing against.
Who is God and why does all morality originate with God?
We have to start at the beginning: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1
This is an incredibly important statement. God created everything. Everything that exists was created by God. Everything. That's why He is sometimes referred to as the creator God... that's who He is.
Then God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole
earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth." So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. - Genesis 1:26-27
Yes, God even created you and me. But also note there is something different about men and women. Something unique in all of creation. We are created in the image of God. That is incredibly important. It makes us who we are and gives us the responsibility to be who we are... the image of God.
Responsibility? What are we responsible for?
God gave mankind a number of things to do. Right at the beginning He states: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over
the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. - Genesis 1:28
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. - Genesis 2:15
But we are much more than gardeners and wildlife managers. Our #1 responsibility is to glorify God and part of that involves properly representing Christ, our creator and savior.
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. - Romans 11:36
How do we do this? One way is by being like Christ. We are created in the image of God and we are to faithfully reflect who God is... we are to faithfully reflect God's character.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ - 1 Corinthians 5:20 (We are to be accurate representatives for Christ.)
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1
Walk in the same manner as He [Christ] walked. - 1 John 2:6 (Be like Jesus Christ.)
This is a foundational principle. We are made in the image of God. We are to think, speak, and act in the same way God does. We are not gods... but we carry the image of God and are to have the
character of God.
What about God's Law, the Ten Commandments?
The Ten Commandments are the foundation of God's moral law. Are they just arbitrary rules that God made up? No. Not at all. The Ten Commandments describe God's character. They describe who God is, and thus who we should be.
We are to obey the Ten Commandments because, as God's image bearers, we are to have the character of God. (Click here for more on the Ten Commandments and in particular keeping the Sabbath.)
The is one other important aspect of who we are...
God created us... what does that imply?
God created us. That means He owns us. We don't like that. We want to rule ourselves. We want to make the rules. We want to be god and make a god in our own image. But the fact is we don't own ourselves. The Bible often uses the example of a potter. Someone who makes clay pots, owns the pots they make, and they can do what they wish with them... including destroying them.
On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, Why did you make me like this, will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy. - Romans 9:20-23
Another way to look at it might be: If an outstanding clay artisan makes a clay vase, and after firing it finds there is a defect in the vase. What do they do? Throw it out. It goes on the pile of shards behind their studio. Why? Because it does not accurately represent the skill of the potter, the vase is destroyed.
Does the potter have the right to do that? Yes. He made the vase, he can destroy the vase. If the vase does not accurately represent the skill of the potter, he is not going to sell it. He destroys it.
God is the potter... you are the clay (vase). Do you accurately represent who God is?
Watch a YouTube vide on on the source of morality.
Morality (the ethical rules we are to follow) comes from God. Why? Because we are created by God in His image and we are to have the moral character of God. Morality is not arbitrary or changing, but is a description of the unchanging character of God.
What did we learn? God is the source of morality.
Next: The American humanist's source of morality
Go to the listing of topics