A moral imperative involves the feeling that you must, are commanded, and have to do something to help.  If there is a God who makes the imperative then you have to do it no matter what you think or feel.

Is it silly to wonder if it is events that give the imperative?  If a brick is about to kill a baby by falling on it does God give the imperative to help or does the situation do it?  A situation is not a person so it's hard to make sense of that.  But then God is not a person either.  He is a reality that has no body or no physical components.  If God gives the imperative because the event demands it then the event is the real "commander".  A computer can command you.  So why can't we say an event can command you as well?

Moralists say there is a difference between you not getting involved and taking the brick and killing the baby yourself. In both cases the baby will die and you know it. This is clearly not worried about the damage but about your intentions.

Now what if that teaching is right?  Even then it does not change the fact that intention can be a form of ego.  The ego or self can hide behind good intentions.  So it's about making yourself think you are good and feel you are good just because you have such a great heart.  If I help others for I want to approve of myself, then no matter how much good I do for them what matters to me is me.  It does not follow that if the teaching is right that anybody cares about it being right.  Centering intention makes egoism virtually inevitable.  Plus you will not really be able to see exactly how selfish or egotistical you are being.

If you think a brick about to fall on a baby gives you a moral imperative to grab the baby to safety that is one thing. But what if you see a miracle causing the brick to appear over the baby? What if the Lord God miraculously appears holding the brick? In one case the brick is about to fall by itself and in the other it is about to fall by itself from a hand. The brute natural fact in both cases is that it is going to fall no matter if a miracle or nature is starting the fall off. The cause of the fall may be natural or supernatural but the fall itself is just natural.

Surely we see here we want and need to think that the event is giving the imperative and if that means defying God who is about to drop the brick as one of his mysterious ways where he is forced to tolerate evil in order to do good then defy him.  So God has no right then to say to you, “I am the Lord and the master of death and I see it is best and right for the baby to die this way”.

You may say that the baby deserves it for bad karma from a past life.  Original sin says that the baby is contaminated with evil that will bear evil fruit when the baby grows up.  Maybe you should the brick fall on him for it's meant to happen to stop a child who will be really bad and dangerous one day from getting the chance.

The notion that God grounds moral imperatives implies that you should not save the baby if he drops the brick.  If a mere brute natural fact has nothing to do with a moral imperative the miracle has nothing to do with it either.  That would be the argument that if x needs help that has nothing to do with making the help loving or fair or moral for a factual thing and a moral thing are two different things.  Getting an ought from an is is a category mistake.  If the falling gives a moral imperative then it does not matter how the falling starts.  It does not care what God wants.

If it is a fact that God commands you to be moral and just and loving and fair and truthful that does not tell you if you ought to obey.  His command is just an is and you cannot get an ought from an is.

Love and justice go together.  Justice depends on truth.  This tells us what morality is.  God and morality are separate.  God commanding you to be fair does not mean you have to be fair because of him.   Yet religion complains that atheists have no grounds for declaring love and justice valid if they don't believe in a God who grounds and represents them.

Atheists do sometimes argue that suffering is what we should think about and if we deal with it, it does not matter if we reject love and justice for the results will be as good as if we endorsed them.  Ending suffering is not the same thing as being loving and fair.  It may have the same good results but the motive is different.  Hume pointed out that concentrating on how ugly suffering is, is more effective at getting you to help than moral rules telling you to do something.

The main thing to take from this essay that the idea of God as the ground of morality and justice serves no purpose but religious ideology.  We have found that the brick situation commands you.  If you need morality to be based on a command this is it.  There is nothing else.

Imagine if we all had some kind of mental block where we could not see that 2 and 2 are 4.  We would have to get to it through a process of elimination.  2 and 1 is 3.  2 and 3 is 5.  Therefore 2 and 2 is 4.  A process of elimination would have to do if you want to ground morality and justice and kindness.  If God or nothing else can do it then the brick about to fall on the baby does it.  This makes it about the baby in a way nothing else does.  Worrying about if God commands it is simply inappropriate.  Make it about the baby.

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