Thursday, April 2, 2015

Questions on Morality

Arguments regarding the origin of morality are practically sine qua non in any debate on the merits of religion. Ultimately, the question is be answered is this:

Does morality come from God?

The inconvenient stories

If that is indeed the case, how does God impart morality to His children? Presumably through the inerrant Word of God, the Bible. It is not uncommon for religious people to denounce homosexuals, divorce or abortion by citing scripture. However, it is also no secret that the Bible contains not a insignificant number of morally-questionable stories or parables.  A quick sample:

Homosexuals should be stoned.  

Children who mock prophets deserve a good mauling by she-bears.  

Citizens (including non-combatants, women and children) of a vanquished country/tribe are to be murdered. Apart from the virgins of course, which you should save for yourself. Yum.

Those who inter-marry should expect a spear thrust through their bodies (much to the glee of onlookers)

In this regard, the context defence is usually employed. However, just thinking out loud, exactly under what context is genocide or murder acceptable? I would be pleased if any one could enlighten me on the same.

Do the moral teachings derived from biblical parables and stories acquire an “updated” interpretation as social mores progresses? If so, whose or which interpretation is to be accepted as "correct"? This in turn elicits a more interesting question of whether the (inspired) Word of God is eternal and consistent.

On the other hand, if it is acceptable for biblical interpretation to evolve with prevalent values adopted by society at any given time, then surely Occam's Razor would suggest discarding the Bible altogether.

One can't help but wonder, given that morality is such an instrumental if not an overriding factor in determining the success and continuity of human civilization, why an infinitely-wise God could not have chosen a less tedious, not to mention cripplingly ambiguous, medium to deliver this all so important message.

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