Matt J. Rossano: Can You Be Good Without God? Augustine: No

Erasmus in 1523, by Hans Holbein
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Matt J. Rossano asks, Can You Be Good Without God?.

The interesting issue — the one upon which productive discussions can be built rather than useless shouting matches — is not whether you can be good without God, but what role religious beliefs and practices play in morality. From the get go, however, we have to be clear on what we mean by “morality.” For most of human history, morality simply meant “adherence to group norms.” The idea of some universal moral code that applies equally to people of all tribes, races, ethnic groups, etc. is a very recent idea and one that exists far more as a noble aspiration than a regularly implemented practice.

I think Augustine would have said no, don’t you?

Of course, this raises the question of the good which is done without the name of God attached. Of course to that I attach this quote

It’s the second contention that fascinates me; that one million kiwis are morally good without God. In the liturgy we say of God, “you are the source of all life and goodness”. As Erasmus would have it, and Jung so famously reinforced: “Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit – Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

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