There is no basis for morality in a Godless universe

This is Peter Hitchens discussing John Gray’s Seven Types of Atheism. Lots of points being made. This is one of the many that reading the entire review will bring to your attention:

Perhaps most definitive of all is his observation that godless searches for a universal law are futile. “Without a law giver, what can a universal moral law mean?” he asks. “If you think of morality as part of the natural behaviour of the human animal, you find that humans do not live according to a single moral code. Unless you think one of them has been mandated by God, you must accept the variety of moralities as part of what it means to be human.” Well, exactly. No God: no law. No law: no morals, just situational, alterable ethics. I am amazed that so few seem to realize the implications of atheism for the rule of law over power, the one thing that really sustains human civilization.

Hitchens also provides an insightful quote from Albert Einstein, which he says is not well known which is why he quoted it. It is why I quote it as well.

I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvellously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza’s Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.

A wonderful article.

One thought on “There is no basis for morality in a Godless universe

  1. Before it can be assumed a god is the source of morality, you need to prove the god. If there was proof, there would be no debate between theist and atheist.

    As for the Einstein quote. Spinoza was referring to the mystery of it all when he referred to God. He was not speaking of an entity. Einstein was likely thinking along the lines of a gnostic, I suspect he was an agnostic. The first line kind of clues you into that. Not being an atheist, not being a pantheist… a child in a library…

    Einstein was nagged about his religious beliefs. There is another quote somewhere in which he showed his frustration on the topic.

    As for morals. The Bible contains a pleather of examples of things that was considered moral at the time but at the present time are considered immoral. We may get our Philosophies from religion but we get our morality from the environment we live in.

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