Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Morality and beliefs

leave a comment »

A recent Quora question I encountered was “Is it immoral to not believe in God’s existence?” I think it’s clear that the “existence” to which they refer is an objective existence independent of human culture — the existence of (say) the sun and birds rather than the existence of (for example) chess, jazz, and the German language. The sun and birds exist independently of human culture, and thus all human cultures include recognition of those. Chess, jazz, and the German language do exist (I play chess, enjoy listening to jazz, and know a little German), but their existence is only within human culture and most human cultures don’t know those. (In my view, the existence of God(s) is the latter sort of existence: within human culture.)

So to the question: “Is it immoral to believe that God has no existence outside human culture?”

I think it obviously is not, because morality is about behavior, not beliefs. You can believe anything you want, but whether you are moral or not depends on how you treat other people. Indeed, some people have morally admirable beliefs but immoral behavior. Chris Argyris wrote (very interesting) books about this in the context of business. He discussed how CEOs, lacking honest feedback, often find that their expressed code of behavior (their beliefs in how one should behave) drifts from their actual code of behavior (how they actually behave). For example, they may believe that open discussion of ideas is valued, but when they present plans they shut down any disagreement. Morality is concerned with their behavior, not with their beliefs and ideas.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 November 2019 at 9:17 am

Posted in Daily life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.