If you believe the only way to explain common morality is by appealing to a higher power, it must be that you can't think of natural, human reasons to be good. If you could, then those reasons should be all the explanation you need. To defend your position, I ask you to submit a moral situation for which only God can be the explanation for why a reasonable person would do the right thing. In return, I will offer an entirely human answer for the moral choice I, and likely many others, would make.This challenge misses the mark by a lot. The first statement is false. The problem is not that I can't find human reasons to be good. In fact, the very fact that I acknowledge something as good means I see reasons for doing it. So where is the problem?
G.K. Chesterton said, “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”
That really sums it up. What if our reasoning fails? What if we conclude something is good and it is not? The classic example is Hitler. Really anyone doing something immoral. People have reasons for what they do. They convince themselves they are doing the right thing. They can be very wrong. So how does one know when he has made a serious moral error?
If you use reason alone you are in a lot of trouble. Anyone who has argued with someone who has arrived at a wrong conclusion through reason can appreciate how sure of themselves they can be. Whether you argue politics or religion or even sports it is not at all uncommon to have two rational people totally sure they are right but we know at least one must be wrong because they contradict. They can debate endlessly and it almost never resolves it.
So we want to do good and avoid evil. We don't want to be the guy who thinks he is doing right but ends up doing evil. We can't trust pure reason. So it helps to have something outside yourself to check your reason against. Something that is likely to be right when you are wrong. For GK Chesterton that something was the Catholic Church. For many Christians that something is the bible. The church works better than the bible here because the bible can be twisted but even that is better than nothing.
It makes me think of Breaking Bad. On that show the main character makes a lot of moral choices. They all seem reasonable. You can make an argument for any of them. Still they get him, bit by bit, further and further into immorality. I am only at the end of season two and he has done some pretty horrific things. He has completely lost his moral center and there really isn't much that he would not do at this point. There are still three season to go.
His reason is corrupted by some hard circumstances and some deep wounds. Nobody wants to judge him. Still we don't ever want to become the kind of man he becomes. How do we avoid it? One key is a moral anchor. Walt has none. No religion to be right when he is wrong.
Making important choices actually makes it harder for him to discover his error because it would involve facing the fact that he has done some horrible things. He can't admit that to himself and he certainly can't admit that to his family. So instead of getting out of the drug business he gets in deeper.
I know it is fiction but it shows how evil can grow and get out of control. We need grace. Nobody plans to be a drug addict. Nobody plans to end up in jail. Nobody plans to get divorced. It starts with a few bad choices and it gets out of control.