Can we be good without God?

A central question of any moral crisis
Some have suggested that recent scandals in the world of business, politics and the academy are practical consequences of a worldview that has pushed God out. Morality needs God, the argument goes, and without God the social fabric will be torn by uncontrolled greed, lust for power and striving for glory.

Clearly, however, you can also have a good deal of “immorality” even if God occupies a central place in your worldview. Scandals in the religious communities are proof of this, if proof is needed. Moreover, convictions about God sometimes explicitly underwrite morally reprehensible acts, as when greed and violence are justified on religious grounds. What should we conclude from the fact that those who believe in God both do evil and legitimize their deeds by belief in God? Only that belief in God is compatible with “immoral” life, not that morality does not need God.

 

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