This is obvious to anyone who has given a second thought to the question of relativity and ethics. If nothing is wrong, which follows from the absence of God, then everything is okay. I have always wondered how anyone can argue for the non-existence of an absolute when the claim itself must be taken absolutely to make sense.
Hi, Bob. What a strange place to meet! (And thanks for the good response to the Dostoevsky quote.) Here's a wonderful quote from Yuz Aleshkovsky, an expatriate Russian novelist of your generation. Speaking in 1979 as to why communism was doomed ultimately to fail, he said "...because Satan thirsts to destroy All, but the creator wants to save Each." I love it.
This is so true. There is no "God" (a human invention). And everything is permitted (except those actions and events proscribed by Kings or democratic law).
As clearly stated by Robertofgoodna it is not God but Kings and democratic process and many other laws of the land that has not 'permitted everything'. Not many has paid much mind to the word of God let alone seek His permission to everything! Perhaps he was just refering to the powers of land that be who in deeming themselves God has not permitted everything.
What a stupid quote!
God is just a human concept, like good, bad, justice, love, etc. It has no basis in reality. We are all connected, through Godd, which conceptualises the undoubted connection between all living beings.
Robertofgoodna, you are right in your 2nd comment. Frank C.
Hi Guys, this a great quote by Dostoevsky, but I'm sorry to say that it is almost always misunderstood, mainly by believers. Here is my explanation for both believers and non-believers, and which tries ti show how this quote is deep: For believers who take the quote at face value: If there is no God, everything is permitted. Does that mean that those who are godless in this world are doing whatever they want? Of course not. Even without the God of organized religions, even without the God that we know, people cannot do whatever they want. Atheists believe in humanism, in justice, in values, in compassion, etc, and by sticking to these values and principles, they don't do whatever they want. This is how this quote can be seen as purely stupid, when taken at the literal level, mostly by non-thinking believers who see in Dostoevsky a sort of advocate.
Now for non-believers: "If there is no God, everything is permitted" simply means that if there is no law, if there is no principle, everything would be possible. God here is not the God of organized religion. God is the Absolute, it is the founding principle. Even when we're atheists, we always believe in a founding principle. Surely we may call this principle humanism, conscience, justice, nature, or God. But the most important thing is not the name of this principle, the most important thing is what this principle pushes us to do. Again, pragmatics is more important than semantics. PS. Sorry for the typos.
Across all cultures [including the collectisation of polytheistic culture into a single generic 'God'-like entity], 'God" is the set of values [or rules] of which a civilisation's culture approves for the social interaction of Man. If there is no 'God', then there are no 'Rules', and everything is permitted.
"God" is not the "law". God is God. He stands alone, as in a complete entity. God is not nature, He created nature though. God is not the figment of people's imagination, He is the only reason people can think and have an imagination. God has revealed Himself to us through the Bible and through nature and we can have a relationship with Him through his Son, Jesus, who died on a cross 2000+ years ago. God is the standard of righteous behavior. He created us and the designer of something usually knows how to make it work the best. Look what happens when man is left to his own devices and chooses on his own what is right and wrong. We have exploitation of the weak, we have the killing of the unborn, we have "leaders" abusing their positions of power and authority, we have the slaughter and attempted annihilation of particular groups of people, etc. Me, I would much rather have the standards of behavior set by the One who created me and wants what is best for me, rather than me or someone else deciding what is ok to do. That is always fluctuating upon the whim and fancy of whoever is in power at the time.