I'm not interested in debating religion. I was raised Christian and still cling loosely to those beliefs, although I constantly question my beliefs and consider various alternatives. One obvious alternative is that there is no god whatsoever, so I want to run with that one for a second, and discuss the implications of that scenario.
Let’s just say we exist because the big bang occurred, resulting in a sun and planet with conditions that are favorable for life. A primordial soup formed amino acids, leading to proteins and eventually, organized life. We then evolved as a result of natural selection. Okay, that’s the gist of it at least. (Again, we don’t need to argue any of this here. I believe most of this as well, but that’s not the point.)
So what are we? If there is no god, and man was not created by a higher being for a specific purpose, then what does that make us? It seems to me that we are merely a collection of molecules and proteins that have developed mobility, cognitive function, and the ability to reproduce to form similar collections.
Bacteria move, and bacteria reproduce, so let’s set those characteristics on the back burner and focus on our cognition. That’s supposedly what makes us different. What exactly does it all boil down to? What is it that makes us who we are?
Our brains are a network of neurons and electrical impulses that somehow function to form thoughts, emotions, and memories. The most important part of who I am is basically a huge microprocessor. It’s a microprocessor far more advanced than anything we are capable of manufacturing with today’s technology, but the basic principle is the same. The things that make me happy activate one series of neurons, while the things that piss me off activate a different set of neurons. Regardless of the trigger or the outcome, a collection of ions is flowing down a series of axons and forming synapses.
Taken a step further, my relationships with my wife, family, and friends are merely interactions between two bodies that house these neurons. My electrical impulses are somehow compatible with my wife’s impulses, which interact with each other via light waves, sound waves, molecules that trigger olfactory sensors, and mechanoreceptors in the skin. These are all directly connected to neurons that tie back into the brain, so in effect, ions in motion. How is this different from any other electrical current? What makes the electrical current within my body any more or less important than friction or lightning? It seems rather pointless when you consider it from this angle.
Furthermore, is there any moral right and wrong in this universe? Without a higher authority to determine good from evil, how can either truly exist? If someone steals something, the only thing that really happened is that their molecules used their cognition and mobility to move an object (another collection of molecules) through space. How can that action be right or wrong? It seems no different from a rockslide, a wave on the ocean, or wind.
If one person kills another person, what basically happened is that their body ended the electrical impulses within another body. One set of molecules put a stop to another set of molecules, but that would eventually happen anyways. All of the molecules would eventually return to the earth and be used to form something completely different later in time. What determines that this activity is wrong, whereas other activities are right?
What argument can be made that killing a human is somehow worse than killing any other living creature? Humans evolved higher cognitive function, but does that make us “better” than dogs or rodents? Without a god to dictate moral right and wrong, I think absolutely not. There’s no logic behind saying that a human killing a cow for food is normal, but a human killing another human is unacceptable. Either way, it goes back to one set of electrical impulses exerting an action on another, which results in cessation of the latter. That’s a seemingly benign event, regardless of the species involved.
It seems that some god or authority figure is required to dictate the moral laws of the universe. If we assume there is no god, which I’m doing in this thread at least, then all concepts of “right” and “wrong” seem to fall apart. There is no reason for either.
If we look back at that primordial soup, before any amino acids formed and certainly before the first living creature existed, earth was a giant collection of unorganized molecules. Did the concept of morality exist then? How could it? That's like saying there are morals on Mars and certain piles of dust are better or worse than others. If there was no good or evil back then, at what point did this suddenly become relevant?
I’m not using this thread to suggest God exists by pointing out flaws in the alternative. There is ulterior motive at play here. I’m just musing at how pointless everything seems when you take god out of the equation. The lie, if you can even call it that, is that we’ve convinced ourselves there is a point to any of this. The even bigger lie is that there is no lie. Wait, what?
I know this got really long and I'll be lucky to get 5 responses, but thanks in advance to those 5 people.
-Assume there is no god and we exist by chance.
-What the hell does that make us? A collection of molecules or something more?
-How can the concepts of right and wrong exist without a higher authority to govern them?