Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The God Hope: A Lame Case for Morality

What rational have I for the "God Hope?"

That was the question I received from one of my friends just an hour or so ago. It has since left me spiraling out of control. 

When I first came up with the "God Hope" idea it sounded great. It was a way to live a moral life and have, what I felt, was a rational reason for it. Even if I don't believe in God, the hope of God was a good enough reason to behave in a moral fashion. 

[Morality, as I am defining it here is: The ability to do what is right even if it means sacrificing personal pleasure. Of course, I realize that in order for there to be a "right" or "wrong" in an ultimate sense there almost needs to be a god of some kind or another...]   

To be clear, I want to live a moral life. I get pleasure from it. For whatever reason I have always seen a moral life to be an ideal. I say "for whatever reason" though I strongly suspect it is a result of both my religion and the culture that surrounded my upbringing. 

So, if I were to claim that I lived my life according to reason and at the same time wanted to live a moral life, I would need a way to reconcile living morally and living rationally. Hence: the "God Hope." The hope that all of life has purpose and my goal to make the world a better place was not for naught. 

In truth, I have discovered it is but a rationalization for an inner need to be moral, without much rationale in it. On what basis have I placed this hope? Why should I believe God does exist, or even if he does, that he also views morality as a great ideal? Perhaps he has a different set of morals? Perhaps he despises morality? Though the "God Hope" allows me to live a moral life, is it not the same "leap of faith" the religious people make? Can I really say that I live a life of reason basing so much of it on an irrational hope?

The flaw in the "God Hope" simply is: Morality -- as an ultimate -- is only an ideal if there is purpose (God) to life. I believe morality is the greatest ideal. Therefore, I hope there is a God. 

The flaw is so glaring I am embarrassed I hadn't seen until now!

Reason in a godless world could only lead us to an amoral society. Would there ever be a reason to help someone in need, if by doing so I would be causing pain to myself? Is there any logic behind sacrificing one's life no matter the cause? Is there a case to be made for it's value outside of religious belief / God hope? If so, how strong is it? It seems to me that moral societies are better societies. Places one would want to live. The question remains:  Can I fool myself enough to sacrifice my own life for that better society? The society, because I sacrificed myself, I will no longer get to enjoy? Morality as an ultimate ideal is baffling without God, therefore: religion, therefore: God hope. What will be of logic. Is the only way to live a fulfilling life to fool oneself into belief in God / purpose? Or is there some logic for morality without the need to take refuge inside belief?

I know these are not new questions. I know that philosophy has been dealing with these questions for centuries. I am realizing now that the "God Hope" may have been an attempt to circumvent the centuries old predicament. A way to be a morally religious atheist. I now see it was but a lame attempt. 

I don't think I am a real atheist. Perhaps deep in the corners of my mind there linger fragments of faith that cry out from the depths. I may have thrown out religion as ultimate truth, but have I held onto God in someway or another? It would seem I have. 

I don't know how long I will hold onto God. I also do not know how I could go on in life without God.  

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