Looking at Mr. Daniel Razon’s reasoning we can clearly see the problem: People like him have defined goodness as equal to God. There are two versions of this “argument” – One, Goodness and God are almost the same entity (based of some quotes from the Judeo-Christian holy scripture) and Two, As long as there is goodness and a person believes that goodness exists, there is a moral Lawgiver which is God.
According to the article I have read regarding Mr. Razon’s so-called refutation on the issue of being good without God, he used several Bible passages such as Mark 10:17-18 and Psalms 100:5. VIOLA! Case closed…or is it?
I don’t know…Is Mr. Razon pulling us by the leg? Anyway, based on his..er…refutation..Uh what makes God good? Is it his love, his mercy or his sense of justice?
And what is meant by “good”?
Goodness is an action that purposely benefits the human organism or society. That’s how I define it. The problem here is that people like Daniel Razon simply equate goodness to God, based on their holy scripture. Christian apologists like Giesler and Ravi Zacarias for example use this to connect God to the concept of a moral Lawgiver – So God must be good all the time. But is the goodness of God based on the Bible just a perception of the writer on how goodness should be defined? It seems like it. God is good because the author of a particular chapter in the Bible wants God to be good…based on his own definition of goodness. For example, God is good because He supposedly loves the people of Israel. That’s not a universal definition of “good”. Is it?
According to the authors of Mark and Psalms only God is good. But do these writers include…well those other books in the Bible that Daniel Razon didn’t include in his argument? Verses like: Numbers 31: 17-18, 1 Samuel 15:3 and Ezekiel 9: 4-7.
Tell me, are slaying infants, the elderly and women amount to goodness?
How about verses like Numbers 11: 1-2; 16:27-32, Lev. 10:1-2 and 2Kings 2: 23-24? Do they tell us of an onmi-benevolent deity that is full of mercy? Giving punishments that are shockingly harsh in comparison to the acts committed is not about mercy and justice.
Why do we need to kill innocent lambs, bulls and doves to appease a so-called good God? Surely an omni-benevolent deity does not need blood and death to calm his nerves.
There more of these found in the pages of the Old Testament which lead Thomas Paine to write, “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistant that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.” [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]
How about the New Testament?
Sure the New Testament contains some good moral value…but again the whole plot of the book is about blood sacrifices. Again, why is blood and death necessary to mollify the wrath of an omni-benevolent God?
It is also interesting to note that Jesus believed that love could be commanded and that those who disagreed with him would be damned. He believed in compulsion to comply with his viewpoint. He also portrayed his Father in heaven as the instigator of a morality based on “promises and threats” – too far from Daniel Razon’s “Good God”.
In the light of the following issues, it seems that Daniel Razon and others like him have failed to prove that goodness is impossible without God. In fact it seems that goodness is independent from God.
Besides, since God’s goodness is prescribed by rewards…well it really doesn’t tell us exactly what is “good”. Goodness is good because it is good – not because of benefits or by force. People who do well solely for personal gain or to avoid personal harm are not about being “good” – it is self-interest.
There are other sources of being good…contrary to popular Christian belief. For example, there is what we call our “common moral decencies” which are deeply rooted in us for our survival as a species as Joseph Fletcher wrote based on his studies in 1979:
1.) Our highest good is survival of the human race – Our posterity has a moral claim on us for the consideration, both as to its safety and as to its biological improvement.
2.) Look at how the consequences will, on balance, effect the total human well being.
A rational person needs no God belief to understand that murder or lying is bad. It’s not because God opposes them, but because of the consequences these acts will produce in the human community. Morality as I have already said is deeply rooted in human experience for our survival.