Does Morality Make Sense Without God? or Is God Necessary for Morality?

India is distinctly the birthplace of certain atheistic or agnostic religio-philosophical systems that have upheld morality without any reference to God as the Moral Governor of the universe. The systems of Samkhya, Yoga, Jainism, and Buddhism didn't find the concept of "God" as necessary for the validation of moral principles. Of course, popular religion as practiced by the masses cannot let go off the personal connection with a Deity or a Revered One, whatever be the theological explanation of the same. Yet, in polytheistic, atheistic, and monist traditions, God is not the source or ground of morality.

This seems to pose a pragmatic problem for the Moral Argument which some philosophers, like Kant, have considered to be the only possible argument for the existence of God. The problem, however, only relates to the nature of morality in each system. Most of the Indian systems are karmic in nature, though differing in their cosmological and ontological theories of reality--for instance, Jainism teaches a dualistic pluralism while Advaita propounds a non-dualistic cosmology. Whether these cosmologies can successfully sustain their respective karmic theologies is another issue. Philosophers in each system have tried to debate with those of others for centuries with little or no agreement.

The logical course eventually leads to a questioning of the supposedly cosmological foundations of the moral theory. However, one also needs to answer whether it is the cosmology that undergirds the moral system or is it the moral system that undergirds the cosmology. In other words, which is the first hypothesis: the moral theory or the cosmology?

Obviously, one cannot escape the fundamental nature of faith in the ultimate sense. But, faith can be questioned. One can still analyse where each of these systems is headed to; whether it be dissolution and recreation or the quest for awakening. The moral question, then, cannot succeed in not trying to address the issue of the whole picture, or worldview.

The significance of the theistic moral argument is in doing justice to the very intrinsic nature of morality.

1. Morality is inter-personal; therefore, its ground must be the infinite, inter-personal God.
2. Morality is absolute; therefore, its ground must be the transcendent and immanent, immutable, absolute God.
3. Morality implies rewards and punishment; therefore, justice must be provided by a moral God and not an amoral mechanism, which is deterministic in nature.
4. Morality is intentional; therefore, the Moral Governor must be omniscient.
5. Morality is practical; therefore, the Moral Governor must be omnipotent.
6. Morality is beneficial; therefore, the Moral Governor must be good.
7. Morality appeals to the affective; therefore, God must necessarily be Love.