the moral consequences of belief in god, or theism necessarily leads to intrinsicism

“As for God, his way is perfect; his word is flawless; he shields everyone who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30)

Religious faith directs the believer to ascribe moral perfection to god and the Bible categorically. In other words, religionists believe that whatever god does and whatever the Bible prescribes are necessarily correct simply because the former is god and latter is his divine word. I have referred to this in previous posts as “giving god a pass” (see here, here, and here).

The basic premise behind a belief in god is affirming that a categorically perfect/infallible being can exist in reality. After such a concept is adopted, it is usually augmented and shaped by the particular scripture to which the believer subscribes (e.g. the Quran, the New Testament, the Torah, et al). This premise is precisely what invigorates the moral intrinsicism which necessarily follows from theism. Without it, religion itself simply implodes.

Such a being is of course chimerical – no different than a square circle or a unicorn – since it not only undermines the very concept of morality itself, but further relies on supposed “knowledge” which is “revealed” apart from that which is rooted in the senses. Such “knowledge” is not received from a divine realm, but is instead manufactured, amounting to little more than a series of faith claims – viz. claims that have no basis or referent in objective reality.

Further, such a being is akin to the cognate of Kantian (deontological) notions of moral “duty.” For Kant, an action is “moral” because it was done out of “duty,” without any consideration of consequences or personal motives. Even if one wants to do a deed – or refrain from doing a deed – because one desires in doing so to be moral, the Kantian perspective holds that such actions have no moral value whatsoever. Kant would also say that if lying is wrong, then it is never okay to lie – even to the Nazis looking for the Jewish refugees hiding in your basement. Consequences do not matter to Kant – only the universality of the moral principle under consideration and the [absence of] motives on the part of the doer.

“Good” produced by “duty,” i.e. without considered motives or consequences, is much like what drives Islamic terrorists to kill “infidels,” Mormon rapists to impregnate underage girls, ultra-orthodox Jews to engage in embezzlement scams, and radical Hindus to behead their wives – to name but a few. The moral rationale adopted by each of them is firmly rooted in moral intrinsicism, i.e. if god commands/allows/permits such actions, then they are by definition morally good and right since god is a categorically perfect being, his word is flawless, and these believers are taking “refuge” in him.

Moral intrinsicism is merely the aggregate of theistic assumptions coming home to roost.