DOES MORALITY COME FROM 'GOD'? (1) Biblical Morality

Which ‘god’ does this question refer to? There are thousands of ‘gods’ that we can instantly dismiss – Thor, Zeus, Anubis, Ixcacao, Cloacina, etc. How to distinguish those extinct ‘gods’ from the presently fashionable ones is a question for another day. What about Allah, Shiva, Yahweh, Jesus and others that are still being worshipped? Well, there’s the next problem: the various current ‘god' based faiths each have different moralities. Islam forbids the consumption of pigs, while Hinduism bans eating cows so, we are entitled to wonder, which is ‘correct’? 

Mindful of the target audience of this blog, I’m going to make an executive decision to focus on the Christian 'god'. So the question becomes, “Does morality come from the Bible?” For the moment, let’s assume that morality DOES come from the Bible. That immediately prompts another question, “Why was Biblical moral guidance so late arriving?” The Bible originated as the (Jewish) Old Testament around six thousand years ago, yet man (species Homo sapiens) has been on planet Earth for about two hundred thousand years. How did we manage without Biblical moral guidance for the previous one hundred and ninety four thousand years? Surely we ought to have murdered ourselves to extinction, knowing no better, while waiting for the Bible to get published… 

 In fact, the Bible predicts that our despicable behaviour should have caused this to happen by describing humanity as having ‘fallen’ into ‘original sin’ as a result of the eating of the ‘forbidden fruit’ in the ‘Garden of Eden’. It even recounts how ‘god’ attempted to purge mankind of its ‘sinfulness’ by deliberately causing a worldwide flood. If true, then Yahweh is a genocidal maniac rather than a 'loving father'! That leads me to the next question: “Is the Bible a good moral compass?”

Overall, the answer to that has got to be a resounding “No!” Admittedly, there are a few snippets of advice and examples of behavior that are beneficial to our species, but these are heavily outweighed by multiple exemplifications of malicious behavior, including the aforementioned genocide and advice on how to punish women, children, homosexuals and slaves. Take the ‘Ten Commandments’ for example. The top five, obviously the most important in the eyes of the authors because they put them first, contribute nothing to the betterment of mankind while, on the other hand, many malicious acts that are now rightly regarded as criminal are simply left out. 

Don’t believe me? See for yourself. The first Commandment is the assertion that:

I am the LORD thy God 

and the next four are instructions that thou shalt:

Have no other gods but me

Have no graven images or likenesses

Not take the LORD’s name in vain 

Remember the Sabbath day

The Commandment authors obviously gave a higher priority to safeguarding their doctrine, and therefore their income, than to issuing advice on how to minimize detrimental behavior in society. Not until Commandment Number Six (Honor thy mother and thy father) does anything appear that is remotely useful for fostering a well-ordered and peaceful community. Meanwhile murder is relegated to number seven and there is no mention at all of malicious bodily harm or rape! Ask yourself, were the Commandments written by bullying, misogynistic men who didn’t want anyone to wreck their control, ruin their income and spoil their fun? 

Well, were they?