This post is inspired by this post from Hesedyahu. Hesedyahu speaks of an argument from others that God doesn’t exist because God is immoral. I can’t get into the nuts and bolts of the position Hesedyahu is arguing against, for I don’t understand it enough to do so, but their post prompted a few thoughts of my own. Is God’s morality unquestionable? Is the absence of intervention in horrific events a sign that God doesn’t exist, or is it a signal that God does not care?
“If God is all-powerful He cannot be good, if God is good He cannot be all-powerful!” – Lex Luthor, Batman v Superman
In previous discussions with both Christians and Muslims, I have been told God’s morality is all-encompassing and unquestionable. I’ve been advised – almost literally – of that classic expression, ‘God works in mysterious ways’. Now, Hesedyahu is a Gentile and I can’t confess to understand what Gentiles believe, but given their belief in God is it a stretch to believe they regard God as an unwavering moral bastion?
We hear much about free will and about how evil corrupted the world (I can think of a particular Christian sparring partner to have alluded to that argument on many occasions). However, we also hear that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. This idea is a staple of religions the world over. If God has such vast power, and is such a beacon of all that is right and moral, questions need to be asked. Through inaction, this being has permitted tremendous suffering throughout history. Virtually every corner of the globe has seen war, disease, famine and poverty affect it in some way. The religious often decry abortion as evil, yet God permits thousands of miscarriages (or, depending your point of view, causes them) every day. God permits wars to destroy entire civilisations, and all the people in them. God even permits terrible illnesses that they could stop with a thought. Indeed, God could reshape the universe to be paradise for humankind, yet instead we can survive in only certain parts of one planet in this entire universe (and even then, with serious challenges).
We hear a lot about how atheists and agnostics lack objective morality. These arguments are usually based on a fundamental misunderstanding of atheism, often conflating atheism for political ideologies. Whilst his experiences relate to Christianity rather than Gentiles, Bruce Gerencser’s site perfectly explains how having religion in one’s life does not make someone better or superior morally.
There are instructions in religious texts that call for homosexuals to be put to death if they engage in sexual acts. There are instructions to forcible convert non-believers or followers of other faiths to the one true religion (ok, but as they all make this claim, that creates a problem, and has historically led to a lot of violence). There are countless other dubious moral ideas across various religions. If we are to believe these documents are the Word of God, can we really claim God is moral, or that we shouldn’t question them?