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Do we need God to be moral ?



April 07, 2013 – Comments (3)

Are we moral because we believe in God, or do we believe in God because we are moral?

 "The Bonobo and the Atheist."

Through years of research all over the world, de Waal has reached these basic conclusions: Chimps and bonobos and other primates clearly show empathy with others who are suffering. They have a sense of fairness, they take care of those in need, and they will share what they have with others who are less fortunate.

Those and other human-like characteristics, that have been clearly documented by other researchers as well, at least show they have some grasp of morality. It doesn't mean they are moral -- especially chimps, which can be very violent -- but they have the "basic building blocks" for morality, de Waal argues.

Chimps, he says, "are ready to kill their rivals. They sometimes kill humans, or bite off their face." So he says he is "reluctant to call a chimpanzee a 'moral being.'"

"There is little evidence that other animals judge the appropriateness of actions that do not directly affect themselves," he writes. Yet, "In their behavior, we recognize the same values we pursue ourselves.

"I take these hints of community concern as a sign that the building blocks of morality are older than humanity, and we don't need God to explain how we got to where we are today," he writes.

Our sense of morality, he continues, comes from within, not from above. Many activities he has witnessed show that apes feel guilt and shame, which also suggest a sense of morality.

My  take ?

We  don't  really  need  God  to be  moral,  morality  and  a  sense of  honor  or  for a lack  of a  better  word  Goodness,  is  something  that  we  all  discover  on  our   own.

Sure it  would  be  comforting  to believe  that  there is  something  more,  that we  are not just  some  mistake  or  computer  program  on  some  greater  beings  consule.


Bonobos, according to his research, know how to avoid war.

Over and over he has seen neighboring bonobo colonies gather near a common border as the males prepare to do battle. Ape warfare can indeed be violent. But when the bonobos are ready to fight, the females often charge across the boundary and start making out with both genders on the other side.

Pretty soon, the war has degenerated to what we humans would call an orgy, after which both sides are seen grooming each other and watching their children play.

So an orgy is moral? Maybe these guys understand it really is better to make love, not war.

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 07, 2013 at 11:36 PM, reddingrunner (92.11) wrote:

I don't know anyone who would say that we need to believe in God to be moral.  The question is: are moral standards objective or subjective and if objective- where do they come from or on what are they based?  Is anything (e.g. child molestation) absolutely wrong, regardless of what the perpetrator or the majority of people believe, and, if so, what makes it wrong (what gives us the right to judge)?  

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#2) On April 08, 2013 at 4:03 PM, lemoneater (56.81) wrote:

I believe God created the animals and us so using "moral" animal behavior as an argument against God's existence does not work for me . In the Book of Job God talks about the instinctual behavior of animals as an illustration of his wisdom.

You may not believe in God, but he believes in  you. Romans 5:10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!




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#3) On April 09, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Teacherman1 (< 20) wrote:

AMEN Lemoneater.

Itn't it great that even if we don't "believe in God" (whatever that means), "He still believes in us".

Hope all is well with you and yours and that you have a Blessed Day.

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