The Origin of Morality?

First, the actual word; as do many words, has its roots in Latin. Moralis literally means “pertaining to manners”. The translation is broader. Which is “proper behavior of a person in society”. Given this, it really has little to do with right and wrong, so much as it speaks to what is acceptable in a society.
How these morals, or this guideline for acceptable behavior, came about, seems as though it should be fairly straightforward. The first group of humans, or human relatives, realize that there is strength in numbers. Which in turn increases the chances of survival. Understanding this would lead to the knowledge that killing within the group would weaken the group, and therefore should be frowned upon. Similarly, any action that caused one member to want to kill another, like stealing, and lying, would also be frowned upon. (Since women were considered a belonging, sleeping with someone else’s woman would be akin to stealing.) So there we have it. The bases for all moral code. and no moral giver is necessary for this to develop and eventually become more and more complex. It would be taught to so many for so long that it would become innate.
Each religion has morality codes which are taught to have come from the god(s). My hypothesis is that, since one the earliest forms of worship was ancestor worship, this imagery makes since. Their ansestors would have been the moral givers. It doesn’t take a great deal to see how this would translate to a god(s) law giver as religion evolves. Using a Christian example, because that is the one I am most familiar with, Moses is given Ten Commandments, to set the moral tone of his people. The thing to point out here, is that many of these commandments already existed. Moses himself fled Egypt because he had committed murder. So the Egyptians had a set of morals that made murder, at the very least, “bad”.
While I am on the subject, let’s go over the Ten Commandments. If you want to follow along, its Exodus 20:2-17 1. You shall have no other gods before me. We have to get into the original language, but one might conclude that it’s okay to have other gods, as long as this one is above all. You’ve really got to understand the early roots of polytheism and its transition to monotheism to understand where I am coming from here. 2. You shall not make idols. This one is interesting. Mainly because, in it, the biblical god describes himself as a jealous vengeful god. Now, this could work to discredit the description of this god, by some, as love. You have heard it before; “God is love”. In Corinthians 13: 4-7, you get a biblical description of love that seems to disqualify, at least the Old Testament version, of god. 3. No using the lords name in vain. This one requires a bit more study. On the surface it appears simple enough. However, many apologetics have made much more out of this one. So I will leave it for now. 4: Remember the sabbath. I really like this one. This is the passage that YEC use to argue six literal days of creation. This is of course easily disproven by every field of science. But that’s a debate for another time. Now we get into the meat of morality. Or rather the literal meaning. How one should conduct oneself in a society. 5: honor mom and dad. That’s a tough one for some people. Does that mean biological parents, the parents who raise you, perhaps one that beats you, rapes you, or sells you into slavery. See, again, it appears straight forward at first glance. However, for what is supposed to be the only thing actually written by god’s own hand, it seems a bit short sighted. 6: No murdering. Going back to original translation, it is Murder vs. Kill. Because as we find out, god is more than fine with killing. Of course I also think they loosely interpreted the word murder. As I can not see how the slaughtering of non combatants like women and children is not murder. 7. adultery 8. stealing 9. Lying and 10. Don’t covet. Here there seems to be some unnecessary clarification. It also seems a bit redundant. You have the three previous commandments that tell you not to do what coveting leads to. So why have an additional commandment that seems to speak to thought crime?
So what’s my point? Here we have an opportunity for the biblical god to really set his people on the right path. The only record said to be directly written by his hand. And this is the best he has. Four self serving commandments and six that tell them what they’ve already known was the correct way to behave. So while this doesn’t serve as any kind of proof, it gives me enough to reasonably discern that our current morality had no supernatural origin. But that’s just my opinion. What are your thoughts?

0 comments on “The Origin of Morality?Add yours →

Leave a Reply