Morality and the Bible

This was originally meant to be a brief little blurb, but then I just kept typing. Anyway, here it is. Today’s episode of Atheist Dave, titled Morality and the Bible:

Do you subscribe to the “moral code” laid forth in the Bible?

Do you acknowledge the fact that the Bible not only condones slavery in multiple passages, but even encourages it at times?

Do you acknowledge the fact that several parts of the Bible show the Judeo-Christian god committing or endorsing mass genocide?

Do you agree that slavery, murder, and especially genocide are morally wrong? Do you sometimes find yourself saying things like “Yes, but that’s not how the world is anymore. Things were different back then“? This is called grasping for straws. That’s fine, though – you’re right – the world isn’t like that anymore. Yes, there’s still genocide and slavery going on in some parts of the world, but on a much smaller scale, and we both agree that they shouldn’t be – that humanity is better than that. Right?

Okay.

What you’ve just proven is that your morality exists outside of your religious beliefs. Your morality is not dependent upon your religion, or upon a book that was written thousands of years ago. You can still say “Okay, so the Bible teaches some pretty good lessons sometimes, but these other things in it are bad.”

Your next step is to discover that if everything in the Bible really is true – if it really is the word of some sky god – then regardless of your set of moral beliefs, this god still endorses slavery and genocide and lets rapists get off easy, unless you agree that a rapist’s punishment should simply be that he marry the woman he raped. Your next step is to realize that even if the god of the Bible exists (whom we’ll give male properties to, to make it easier), then he’s not such a great guy. He flooded the world, killing countless children, infants, and animals, to punish the fact that there were a lot of bad people. Would you burn down an entire forest just to kill the murderer hiding in it?

“Oh, but he regretted it,” you might say. That raises another question: how does a so-called “perfect” god do things he’ll regret later? Anyway, it doesn’t matter. If he exists and what the Bible says is true, then he killed everything. That’s not the sort of thing you look at and say, “Well, as long as you’re sorry…”

Let’s use the story of Lot. Lot lived in Sodom and was saved because he was the only “good” person in the entire city. Apparently god still saw evil in the rest of the city (including the children) and figured they deserved to die. Not to mention, when a bunch of men were about to rape a couple angels Lot sent out his daughters for them to rape instead. And yet the entire family was saved. Except Lot’s wife – as the city was burning, she turned around to look and god killed her. Afterward, Lot’s daughters got him drunk and then essentially raped him, became impregnated by their own father, and each bore a son.

It that how god judges good character? To me, and to most rational people who look at the story of Lot without the context of it being in the Bible, the story is nothing more than obscene. Please tell me this is not where you gather your moral standards. This book has a few good messages, sure, but so do most books – Aesop’s Fables teach wonderful moral lessons but you don’t believe animals can talk like people, do you?

Oh wait, there was that snake in the garden at the beginning of the story.

Long story short, morality is just another product of evolution and even you (not you, you – over there – the religious one) didn’t get yours from a book.

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6 thoughts on “Morality and the Bible

  1. Yes, the existence of altruism, compassion, generosity, kinship, and compassion can be explained very well by evolution by natural selection. Thanks for posting this!

    For the religious person (over there) wanting more support for this claim, here are some books that I like that present and summarize the peer-reviewed, published research that lays out the evolutionary origins of our moral instincts. They’re all available as audiobooks too!

    Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life by Dacher Keltner;

    Natural Selections: Selfish Altruists, Honest Liars, and Other Realities of Evolution by David P. Barash;

    Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are by Frans de Waal;

    The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson;

    The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule by Michael Shermer;

    The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks.

      • the bible has its own meaning and unique language, it doesn’t mean literally that a snake or serpent is talking.

        you have read it in the bible so search in the bible what a serpent is, not in a dictionary.

        let us read revelations 12:7-9

        “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

        so the serpent in the bible is not a snake but a devil.

  2. Pingback: Infinite punishments for finite crimes? | Atheist Dave

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