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William Lane Craig Doesn’t Believe in Objective Moral Values

Avalon has supported this blog since its earliest days (and before, when I had a small corner of apologetics.com), generous with both comments and the occasional correction. He is today’s guest blogger.

Dr. Craig’s famous moral argument goes like this:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

He defines objective moral values like this:

To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.

We may safely replace the definition of a word for the word itself without altering the meaning of a sentence. Let’s do so now to clarify the argument:

1. If God does not exist, values and duties independent from what anyone believes do not exist.

2. Values and duties independent from what anyone believes do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

I take issue with #2. It is not self-evident that values and duties independent from what anyone believes do exist. Since every example of objective moral values Dr. Craig uses (Nazis, murder, rape, torturing babies for fun, etc. …) is in agreement with what everyone believes, I submit that they are not independent from human belief.

Therefore, I submit the following argument:

1. If God does not exist, values and duties independent from what anyone believes do not exist.

2. Values and duties are not independent from what anyone believes. They exist by consensus of belief.

3. Therefore, the existence of values and duties has no bearing on the existence of God.

Dr. Craig goes on to explain,

It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.

Note that Dr. Craig has chosen an example of near universal agreement. How is it that Dr. Craig knows that the Nazis were objectively wrong? Isn’t it because everyone (except Nazis) agrees with him? This merely endorses his opinion that the consensus view is objectively true. But he’s just said that what we believe (individually, collectively, or universally) is irrelevant to the actual truth of the matter. Why rely on the consensus view to support your claim of objectivity? Is it just his intuition?

Suppose Dr. Craig’s scenario actually happened and everyone was brainwashed. Assuming a good brainwashing leaves no trace of your former beliefs and no memory of being changed, what position would Dr. Craig hold in this post-brainwashed world? Would he not point to what everyone (now) knows as evidence for the Nazis being objectively right? What makes the consensus view objectively right before we’re all brainwashed, but objectively wrong after we’re all brainwashed? According to Dr. Craig’s definition, where our beliefs are irrelevant, isn’t it entirely possible that our near universal beliefs were entirely wrong beforehand and the act of brainwashing simply put us onto the objective truth? Does Dr. Craig think his intuition remains unchanged after being brainwashed?

If Dr. Craig believes his own argument (values and duties independent from what anyone believes do exist) then why doesn’t he provide an example? He’s had opportunities to do so, yet he never appeals to his own argument.

For example, when asked about the Canaanite genocide that God ordered, Dr. Craig could simply reply that that was the objectively right thing to do even though we all believe it was wrong. But he doesn’t. Instead, he abandons all objective morality and cites many other, subjective moral theories (ones he supposedly rejects). These include cultural differences (“our moral sensibilities in the West”), upbringing (“shaped by our Judeo-Christian heritage, which has taught us…”), and consequentialism (“the death of these children was actually their salvation”). All of these reasons indicate someone who believes in the subjective nature of moral values rooted in what we all collectively believe about them.

The same is true when confronted with the problem of evil. Dr. Craig could say that we may perceive evil in this world, but we’re all wrong and it’s all objectively good. But he doesn’t. Instead he jumps right back on the subjectivist bandwagon and becomes a consequentialist when he says:

What I am simply saying is that God’s aims in this life, in this world, are for a maximum number of people to come to know God and His salvation as fully as possible. And it is possible that that would not be achieved in a world that did not involve as much suffering and evil as this world does. Far from being counter-intuitive, I find that very plausible. In fact, I have recently done a study, using a missions handbook, of nations of the world in which there has been intense suffering, and what I found over and over again is that it is in precisely those nations that evangelical Christianity is experiencing its most rapid and sustained growth.

So, in his mind, it’s not that what we perceive as evil is actually an objective good. We’re right again and it’s really evil, but it’s just a means to a greater good.

It is not self-evident that values and duties independent from what anyone believes do exist. Dr. Craig never provides an example of such independent values and duties. No one has ever provided evidence of independent values and duties that differ from human belief. And Dr. Craig refuses to use his own argument when the opportunity arises. Therefore, I submit that Dr. Craig doesn’t believe in objective moral values, that is, values and duties independent from what anyone believes.

So here’s the challenge to any objective moralist who agrees with Craig’s definition: give me one example of an objective good that everyone believes is wrong, some basic act that we all believe is evil, but is independently (that is objectively) good despite what anybody believes.

But perhaps I’m being unfair. Suppose it’s the case that objective moral values happen to be exactly the same as the consensus view of mankind at this point in time. If that’s the case, then it’d be impossible to provide a counter-example because none would exist. It could be that every moral consensus now is objectively true. If so, then we have a new definition of objective moral values: Objective moral values are the consensus values of mankind at this point in time.

If objective moral values are always identical to our consensus beliefs then their independence is irrelevant. We are then perfectly capable of determining moral values by a consensus of belief and no outside source (God) is necessary.

When people complain about the lack of values,
They are usually complaining about the fact
that other people fail to value the things they value,
and they are presupposing that the things they value
are the things that are truly valuable.
— Richard Garner

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Randy Gritter

    WLC uses the Nazi’s because everyone agrees they are wrong. That is that they are objectively wrong. That living in a society where it was the dominant philosophy in no way diminishes the wrongness of it. If you don’t agree with this you should just say so. If you had lived in Germany during that time that you would not have said the Nazis were wrong. That wrongness depends on consensus so when the consensus was absent the wrongness was also absent. There there was nothing inherently bad about killing all the Jews. If Hitler really thought that was the best thing for society then why not govern that way?

    If that is what you are saying then you are right. WLC should not use the Nazi’s as an example of objective evil. But I doubt very much you want to say that. I doubt it because I think genocide is objectively evil and I think you do to.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      This appears to be a false dilemma: Either morality is objective, or it is completely relativist. There are other options.

      • smrnda

        There’s no one right way to design software or build bridges. I think of morality as like an engineering problem. We might all agree that bridges shouldn’t collapse, but that might be about it.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Reginald: I agree about your point about this being a false dilemma. It makes me wonder whether the apologists who claim that it’s a true dilemma are stupid or liars (… or is that perhaps a false dilemma as well?)

        My approach is to simply say that I reject the idea that objective moral truths exist. This way, I can avoid their “moral relativist” strawman invention.

        • avalon

          Hi Bob,

          “My approach is to simply say that I reject the idea that objective moral truths exist.”

          It’s important to note that while objective moral truths don’t literally exist, that doesn’t mean there can’t be true statements about them. Moral values are abstract things like numbers. Do numbers really exist? Does there non-existence mean that 2+2 no longer equals 4? We simulate belief that numbers exist but they are figures of speech which represent real things, like two apples and two apples. When we say 2+2=4, we’re referring to the standard account of math, not to the objective existence of 2′s or 4′s.
          Likewise, ‘moral values’ are abstract figures of speech which we attach to certain behaviors (behaviors found throughout the animal world). They don’t literally exist, but we can still make true or false statements about them according to the standard account of behavior. We unconsciously simulate belief that moral values exist just like we do with numbers, but they are figures of speech for the real content they represent (behaviors which are mutually beneficial).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          avalon:

          “All abortion is wrong”: is this objectively true or false? I have seen no evidence that such a truth claim is objectively true or false, so I reject the idea of objective moral truths. I agree that truth claims can be made about such a moral statement, but they would be from the platform of the individual speaker (individual or group).

        • avalon

          Bob,

          ““All abortion is wrong”: is this objectively true or false?”

          Neither. That is a question of decision, not values. The values involved are respect for human life and personal bodily autonomy. Both of those are true according to the standard account of human behavior. We value both.

          “I have seen no evidence that such a truth claim is objectively true or false, so I reject the idea of objective moral truths.”
          That’s because it’s not a value statement, it’s a decision statement.

          ” I agree that truth claims can be made about such a moral statement, but
          they would be from the platform of the individual speaker (individual or group).”

          But they aren’t identifying a moral VALUE. What they’re claiming is that one value should always outweigh the other. We can indeed make true statements about basic values. That’s what Jonathan Haidt showed in your previous post.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          avalon:

          And WLC would say that “all abortion is wrong” is an objectively true statement. Somewhere outside of humans’ minds, this truth resides. If humans had never been invented, “all abortion is wrong” would still be objectively true, he would say.

          I’m trying to start from WLC’s position and evaluate it. I find the position to be a bold claim without evidence to support it.

        • avalon

          “And WLC would say that “all abortion is wrong” is an objectively true
          statement. Somewhere outside of humans’ minds, this truth resides. If
          humans had never been invented, “all abortion is wrong” would still be
          objectively true, he would say.”

          It seems utterly ridiculous to say anything about morals “if humans had never been invented” . Morality is about human relationships, our interactions with each other. To say it’s “wholly independent of human beings” makes the very words “good” and “evil” meaningless. That’s why I noted that he always uses those words in a human framework.

          The same is true of God being the “ground of morals” because he’s good “by his nature. If (as the legend goes) God existed all alone at some time in the past, what would it mean to say he was perfectly good? Good to who, in what ways? Being the only thing that exists, he’d be the best and the worst, the oldest and youngest, the fattest and slimmest, etc…But none of that means anything since he’s the ONLY thing around.

          What Craig actually means is that God is perfectly good BY HUMAN STANDARDS. He’s just Craig’s IDEAL of human goodness. And this is not “wholly independent of human beings”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good points.

    • avalon

      Hi Randy,

      “WLC uses the Nazi’s because everyone agrees they are wrong. That is that they are objectively wrong.”

      According to Craig’s definition, it doesn’t matter what everyone agrees with or thinks. He clarified it in his opening statement for the Sam Harris debate:
      “if God exists, objective moral values exist, wholly independent of human beings.”(WLC)

      With such a definition, there can be no example of any OMV.

      “If that is what you are saying then you are right. WLC should not use
      the Nazi’s as an example of objective evil. But I doubt very much you
      want to say that. I doubt it because I think genocide is objectively
      evil and I think you do to.”

      If I believed in God and the bible it’d be fairly easy to say the Holocaust was objectively right (according to God’s standards). If Craig can justify the Caananite genocide, why not the Holocaust?
      For example, you could say God was angry because the Jews rejected his son. He was patient, he waited almost 2000 yrs. You could say he “hardened” Hitler’s heart against the Jews. You could say he regretted what he did (just like the flood) and let the Jews have their own country after the war. You see, when God sets the standard for morality things get pretty crazy….

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Randy: I think “the Nazis” is a stand-in for “a group of people that are universally agreed to be bad.” This is hair splitting, but not every German citizen was a member of the Nazi party. Further, the Final Solution wasn’t a public initiative (like the Civilian Conservation Corps or an all-volunteer army, for example), so not every Nazi party member even had a chance to critique the Final Solution, let alone would agree with it.

      The German citizens of towns nearby concentration camps who were forced to tour the camps after their liberation were horrified.

      Again, this is hair splitting, but while we’re hurling accusations, it might be good to be clear that the truly bad stuff was the project of a small group of Germans.

    • MNb

      “everyone agrees they are wrong”

      Except that not everybody does. You can find more than enough human beings in Russia and Greece who think Nazi’s were right. With some effort I probably can find a few compatriots (I’m Dutch) too. Search tip: Stormfront.

  • Jake

    So here’s the challenge to any objective moralist who agrees with Craig’s definition: give me one example of an objective good that everyone believes is wrong, some basic act that we all believe is evil, but is independently (that is objectively) good despite what anybody believes

    I’ll take a stab at this, even though I’m not an objective moralist:

    -Suicide can be an objective good in certain circumstances
    -Torture can be an objective good if the outcome is favorable enough

    Obviously I’m cheating here a bit- not everyone thinks suicide is wrong all the time, and not everyone is against torture in all cases (I’m not entirely sure what I believe on either case). On the other hand, you haven’t left me much recourse but to cheat- if literally nobody has to believe it, then how could I possibly know what it is? The best an objective moralist could do- even if objective morality was true- was to say “there is likely at least one thing that I am absolutely convinced is wrong, but is actually right, even if I don’t know what it is.” (It’s not a very helpful belief, but it could, in principle, be accurate)

    My first inclination was to challenge premise 1, rather than premise 2. Given his definition of “objective moral values,” God doesn’t seem to be necessary. If we define “right” as “causing the maximal amount of happiness for conscious beings,” or something similar, then it’s trivially easy for something to be “right” even if everyone thinks it’s wrong. There are numerous examples through history where society was just flat out wrong about what leads to happiness (or simply didn’t care):

    -Slavery is ok
    -Women are to be subservient to men
    -Marriage should be based on property
    -Homosexuality is wrong
    -Human sacrifice to appease the gods is ok
    -God X has told us to go to war with tribe Y
    -Killing and eating animals is ok (this one hasn’t swung yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does within my lifetime)

    We could certainly in principle still be wrong in our current view of these things- perhaps gender is more central to identity than modern liberal society would like to admit, and we have swung too far toward homogenization of gender roles in marriage?- but we know we were wrong in the past. Past!values aren’t optimal, since Present!values are demonstrably better.

    It’s worth noting that the reason I don’t consider myself an objective moralist because the definition I’m using for “right” is inherently subjective- it depends on what exactly it means for a conscious being to be happy. And there’s no reason it has to be the same for every conscious being.

    All that said, I enjoyed the post- I agree that people who invoke objective morality don’t actually follow through on it. In practice, our subjective moral standard is the only standard we have access too, and even in there was an objective standard, it’s unclear how we would possibly know it other than by some kind of “it’s good because God defined it as good!” brute force method. And nobody actually does that- instead they come up with reasons why slaughtering innocents was ok.

    • avalon

      Hi Jake,

      This is another big problem for OMV. By definition, it’s unknowable!

      Exactly! How it is we can look back into the past and shake our heads over their morals but still think people in the future won’t do the same with us?

      It’s also interesting to note that science has played a big part in improving many of the moral errors from the past. Take slavery, for example: people keep slaves because they thought they were less human than whites. Look up Jefferson’s experiment with a black woman, a white woman and a baby ape. He was trying to prove the baby ape would be attracted to the black woman because she was closer to ape than the white woman! There’s lots of apologetics for slavery written at the time claiming blacks couldn’t make it on their own in society and therefore needed to be taken care off as slaves.

      Same is true for homosexuality, women’s rights, human sacrifice to improve crops or weather, etc…
      The best moral decisions are the ones that start with the most accurate information. That’s what makes us better today and that’s why we’ll get better in the future.

  • RichardSRussell

    If we were descended from mantises instead of apes, it would be immoral NOT to eat your husband’s head off during coitus.

    Since a “belief” is
    “(1) An acceptance [by a person] that a statement is true or that something exists; or
    “(2) Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.”
    it is clearly a matter of opinion. Opinion exists only in the human mind. There is no external reality that it corresponds to. Therefore it cannot be objective, only subjective.

    If you look in the dictionary under “sophistry”, there’s a picture of William Lane Craig right next to it.

    • Greg G.

      Dangit, Richard, you stole my example. That’s objectively wrong.

      It would be moral for a mantis to use her mate’s body as food for their offspring. It would be immoral to permit him to remain in the vicinity as he would be a direct threat to the offspring and would compete with them for prey. If he had subsequent offspring, they would compete with her offspring for prey.

      They see eating the mate’s head as objectively moral. They back it up through personal revelation. Why else would they be called praying mantises?

    • Reginald Selkirk

      If we were descended from mantises instead of apes…

      I think this is a strong criticism of objective morality. Our current morality is so obviously anthropocentric.

  • MNb

    Craig actually presents a circular argument. Torturing babies for fun is objectively fun; hence there are objective norms and values; one of them is that torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong.

    “They exist by consensus of belief.”
    You have empirical confirmation of this point. Craig doesn’t have any. He can’t explain why morals of several Papua tribes for centuries, before they met Dutch missionaries, included cannibalism. Hero Jesus apparently didn’t care too much to tell them it was objectively wrong to kill other people for eating them to take over their physical and mental powers.
    I like this example better exactly because those Papua’s have lived in isolation until at least 1900, while the Nazi’s operated in a hostile moral environment.
    Like you I have noticed that christians, with their supposed objective values, tend to become very utilitarian when it suits them. This is an excellent example:

    http://www.go2war2.nl/artikel/2467/Kuipers-Rietberg-Helena.htm

    “Zeg kerel, zou het nou zo erg zijn als jij om het leven kwam, als er duizenden jongens gered werden?”
    Well, chap, how bad would it be if you died while thousands of boys were saved?”
    This woman, Heleen Kuipers, was an orthodox-protestant. The chap, Frits Slomp, a protestant preacher, couldn’t answer. Kuipers herself died late december 1944 in a concentration camp, so her words weren’t hollow.

  • Greg G.

    Is God subservient to an objective morality that exists no matter what he thinks? Then there is no relationship between the existence of God and objective morality. Does God determine what objective morality is? Then it is not objective, it’s simply God’s whim or whatever his nature happened to be by chance.

    If there is an objective morality, how do we determine it? If it is related to consequences, our lack of foresight means we are limited to probabilistic expectations.

    It seems to come down to practical morality. We are expected to act within societal norms so others will do likewise unto us.

  • RichardSRussell

    We can use evolution to explain much of morality. If a practice proved harmful, those who avoided it lived long enuf to produce descendants; those who didn’t took themselves out of the gene pool.

    A perfect example of this is the Old Testament proscription on eating pig meat. It’s true that eating undercooked pig meat may produce tricky noses, but would you volunteer your family to test the various hypotheses surrounding the observable fact that many people who eat pig meat end up puking their guts out and occasionally dying from it? No, I wouldn’t, either.

    So, rather than run the experiments, they just stopped at the first observation and said “Don’t eat pig meat. It’s unclean.” And it had the desired effect: their descendants lived! So it became a tradition, then a rule, then hardened into a commandment, then ossified into “objective morality”.

    That’s where all the rest came from, too, in all likelihood.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Richard:

      Folk wisdom could be the origin of some of the Old Testament prohibitions. Mary Douglas has a more thorough analysis of the kosher laws.

      More here.

  • Neo

    So, you guys don’t believe in “Natural Law”.

  • ZenDruid

    Consider the concept of treating other humans as chattel. Is that one of Craig’s OMVs?

  • SparklingMoon

    There exist two worlds; Physical and spiritual. Physical world is further divided into two; one can be perceived by sences like sight hearing tough taste etc and the existence of other by its signs and now a days through scientific instruments also.This hidden world is also physical in its nature.

    There exist a third world that is called in religious language ‘Spiritual’ and that exist (not somewhere above but)deep inside of this physical world and a scientific instrument has no reach there to discover it.The whole system of this physical universe is made to assist a person to discover and recognize this world as God belongs to it.

    Human nature is the only source for a person to reach and recognise this very hidden and ethereal spiritual world. The whole history of religion confirms that all prophets have devised the practice of morals in the love of God to shine human nature to eccess God. They not only presented a particular code of morals before his followers but also presented their own practical examples to encourage them to recognize that spiritual world and to make a contact to God.

    It all shows that there is a close relation between human morals and spiritual world. As an improvement in human morals of a person brings a change in that spiritual world also and it shows some signs to this person.

    • SparklingMoon

      The consciousness of morals in human nature has a close relation to God as these morals are manifestation of God’s different attributes. It is important to understand the working of the system of this universe, to understand the relation between God and human morals.

      God is a Spirit and highly spiritual in His Person, His existence is in Heaven (as informed by religions )and God’s heaven is a name of the highest height of his spiritually and sanctity.(this heaven has no relation to physical height)

      God says that He was hidden and He had created the universe to be recognized. He created everything from nothingness (of physical) only through His attributes and that are spiritual. The countless particles of this universe are physical manifestation of his countless Attributes.

      The Sanctity and Holiness of His Spirituality stops him to make a direct
      communion with a physical therefore Angels were created by Him first to play a middle source between Him and physical universe(for its creation and later for its sustenance.)

      These ‘Angels’ are spiritual in their nature,therefore keep an ability to communicate with spiritual God and on the other hand to communicate physical particles also because of their being a creature of God (as Angels also have been created by God like His other creature) The role of these angels is only to infuse the sustenance of each and avery particles of this universe after taking it from different attributes of God.

      Different particles of this universe are manifestation of His different attributes and every particles gets its sustenance from the same attribute that relates to its composition and structure through a different angel. In short ,God not only brings into existence the particles of an object but also Provides its sustenance constantly according to its need by angels from his attributes.

      A physical body of a human being is a physical manifestation of God’s all attributes(for the reason man is called the image of God) therefore the particles of human body gets its sustenance by all His attributes through soul. Soul provides sustenance to body from the very first moment of its physical existence to the last one in this physical world.

      This working of attributes of God,more are less, in a human body is closely related to its structure and conscious or nature of a person is composed according to it in the beginning. Different people shows different attributes like generosity kindness bravery more or less according to their structure and nature and this manifestation of natural faculties of a person have no relation to any religion.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Moon: This doesn’t help me, I’m afraid. This is simply a summary of your theology. I want evidence. If you don’t have any and just believe the way you do for emotional or historical reasons, that’s fine. Just let me know, because I keep assuming that you interact here because you have evidence that your worldview is the correct one.

        (And on a different topic, can you point me to a Muslim source that rebuts the Christian idea of the Trinity? I understand that Muslims see Christianity as a polytheistic religion because of the Trinity. I can anticipate the Muslim argument, but I’d like to hear from an authoritative source instead of guessing. Thanks.)

        • SparklingMoon-

          This doesn’t help me, I’m afraid. This is simply a summary of your theology. I want evidence.
          ——————————————————————–
          An evidence and knowledge of the existence of this ethereal realm, working beneath each and every particles of our physical universe is only bestowed by God Himself through descent ion of knowledge.The door of inspiration is ever open and is not confined to any country or religion .It is true, however, that it is limited to the straight path. By treading along this path these blessings can be achieve , inasmuch as it is necessary for the achievement of every

          thing to follow the rules and methods which are necessary for its achievement. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has explained about this world:

          As God has invested man with the faculty of reason for the understanding,to some degree, of elementary matters , in the same way God has vested in him a hidden faculty of receiving revelation. When human reason arrives at the limit of its reach, then at that stage God Almighty, for the purpose of leading His true and faithful servants to the perfection of understanding and certainty,guides them through revelation and visions. Thus the stages which reason could not reach are traversed by means of revelation and visions, and seekers after truth thereby arrive at full certainty.

          This is the way of GodAlmighty,to guide to which Prophets have appeared in the world. Without treading this path,no one has ever arrived at true and perfect understanding. A person who desires everything to be disclosed at the stage of reason. He does not know that reason cannot carry a burden beyond its strength, nor can it step further than its capacity.He does not reflect that,to carry a person to his desired excellence,God Almighty has bestowed upon him not only the faculty of reason but also the faculty of experiencing visions and revelations. It is the height of misfortune to make use of only the elementary means out of those that God has, out of His Perfect Wisdom, bestowed upon man for the purpose of recognizing God, and to remain ignorant of the rest. It is extremely unwise to let those faculties atrophy through lack of use and to derive no benefit from them.

          The wonders of this third world are numberless. In comparison with the other two worlds,they are like the sun as compared to a grain of poppy seed. To insist that the
          mysteries of that world should be wholly revealed through reason would be like shutting one’s eyes and insisting that visible things should become perceptible through the sense of smell.

          He further says:
          I tell you truly that every door can be closed but the door of the descent of the Holy Spirit is never closed. Open the doors of your hearts so that it might enter into them.(Surmah Chashm Arya, Ruhani Khaza’in,vol.2,pp.175-)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Moon:

          Do you completely not understand what I’m asking for? Or is this deliberate?

          I ask for evidence, and the first line of your response is this:

          An evidence and knowledge of the existence of this ethereal realm, working beneath each and every particles of our physical universe is only bestowed by God Himself through descent ion of knowledge.

          Look: I don’t believe in God. Can this be news to you? You must first establish that the “ethereal realm” and “God” exist and then we can figure out how they fit into reality.

        • SparklingMoon-

          Muslims see Christianity as a polytheistic religion because of the Trinity……. I’d like to hear from an authoritative source instead of guessing. Thanks.
          ———————————————————
          Religion Islam confirms Christianity as a true religion but rejects the conception of Trinity as a part of the teachings of Prophet Jesus. As it is a necessary part of Islamic faith to believe and respect all prophets equally therefore God Almighty has described and saved their person and original teachings in the verses of the Quran. Quran,not only,has presented the real teachings of all prophets, sent by God to the people of Israel but also has pointed out all human changes that later had been made by their followers in the Bible. Jesus;the last prophet of Israel, is also described in the verses of the Quran: (4:172-173), (5:73-75) (5:76-78) (5:117-119)(21:26-30) (18:2-6) (19:89-94) (59:23-25)

          Trinity is a production of Roman’s culture in Christianity. It neither exist in Old Testament nor in the words of Jesus in Gospels and nor in the Quran. It seems also not possible for Saint Paul to introduce the conception of three gods in Christianity as a follower of Old Testament. At a time of spiritual darkness Revelation is descended by God for the guidance of His people through Holy Spirit to a Prophet and he delivers this message of God further to His people , therefore a belief to all three God, Holy Spirit and Prophet is equally important. This conception of saint Paul seems,during the time of three four centuries, had taken a totally different form and shape in Niece Creed.

          Jesus had never called himself God or son of God or part of God in the meanings as is described by the followers of Trinity. He always called people to God Almighty:(John 17:3)(John 5:30) (John 5:37) In Luke 1:32, he is called the son of the Highest and in 1:35, the son of God; but these expressions in Biblical idiom do not at all connote Divinity or partnership in Divinity. In many verses of the Bible the expression son of God is applied to prophets,to the righteous and to believers. (Psalms 82:6) (Exodus 4:22) (Psalms 89:27)(1. Chron 22:10) (Matt. 5:9) (John 3:1) . (John 10:31-33)

          God Almighty is called father to all righteous people by him (John 17:21-23) . (Ephesians 4:6) (John 14:20) and distinction between Jesus and God was well understood by his disciples and the early Christians,(Philippians3:3)
          (1 Cor.8:6)(John 20:17)

          Jesus affirms the Unity of God in his sayings: ( Mark 12:29-30 & 32) (1 Tim. 6:15-16) and calls God alone is the true source of honor,:(John 5:44)(35:11 )(Matt. 19:16-17)(Mark 13: 32) (Matt-12:31-32) and he used to Pray to God Almighty (Luke 5:16) (Luke 9:28)(Matt. 26:39).

          There is a book ”Jesus in India” of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that reveals truth about Prophet Jesus. Second book is ”Christianity from fact to fiction” by Tahir Ahmad. It is written without any references of religious books, to invite human reason to find a truth about Jesus. Both books are online free to read.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Moon: Thanks for the input and references. Have you read my recent post on the Trinity?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Moon:

      There exist two worlds; Physical and spiritual.

      What’s the evidence for this claim? Why is this explanation better than “physical is all there is”?

      • SparklingMoon

        What’s the evidence for this claim? Why is this explanation better than “physical is all there is”?
        —————————————————————–
        It is proven that all that is physical and visible to us is divisible into smaller and yet smaller particles, leading into ethereal, incomprehensible, and imperceptible world. Obviously, it gets its energy from a source not easily visible because of its size, and size of particles it is comprised of. There is hidden wisdom in all of this system. It is at those smallest of the smallest and ethereal places where angels operate to fulfill their duties.

        The All-Powerful One has not confined the events of the world to a visible system, but there is also an invisible system which is in operation all the time. The sun and the moon and the earth, and the vapors that become rain, and the winds that blow fiercely, and the hail that descends upon the earth and the shooting stars have physical causes for all their actions and changes and revolutions and occurrences which are set out in books on astronomy and physics, yet those who possess insight know that behind these causes there are other causes which regulate them and which are called angels. Whatever they are connected with, they carry it to its goal and in their functions they keep in mind the spiritual objects that God Almighty has committed to them (A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, pp. 124-133)

        As God is the creator of all properties of the material things. These properties are inherently present and get manifested through the agency of Angels.The invisible system is related to the angels and there is no branch of the visible system which does not have the invisible system behind it.

        Matter is dense and God is Incomprehensible. When we look at laws of nature we see that God’s rules work upon visible things with forces working upon the finest and invisible. Human body is controlled by Mind, Soul, spirit, whatever we call it, it is invisible and ethereal. Once it departs from the physical body, the physical body becomes useless and lifeless.

        • Greg G.

          It is proven that all that is physical and visible to us is divisible into smaller and yet smaller particles, leading into ethereal, incomprehensible, and imperceptible world. Obviously, it gets its energy from a source not easily visible because of its size, and size of particles it is comprised of. There is hidden wisdom in all of this system. It is at those smallest of the smallest and ethereal places where angels operate to fulfill their duties.

          It’s not obvious where the energy comes from but there are theories that indicate the energy is like negative space. By creating a virtual pair of particles, the potential energy between the particles from all their interactions is equal to the energy of the particles. Even if the physical realm is like peeling the layers of an infinite onion, it’s still physical. Inserting angels in there is an appeal to ignorance fallacy.

          Human body is controlled by Mind, Soul, spirit, whatever we call it, it is invisible and ethereal. Once it departs from the physical body, the physical body becomes useless and lifeless.

          The body is a bunch of chemical reactions within the cells and between the cells. The reactions continue while they are fed fuel and oxygen. They are not perfect and accumulate inefficiency over time. We don’t know how to restart enough of them to resume the reactions when they are interrupted. The ancients thought that breath itself was a life force. Now we understand it’s the need for oxygen. Thinking there’s a spirit is another appeal to ignorance.

          How do you determine the differences between the physical, the spiritual, and the imaginary? It’s not so hard to distinguish the first from the latter two, so how do you make the distinction between spiritual and imaginary?

  • Leoal

    I think an interesting example would be something WLC would say is objectively moral or immoral, yet he personally disagrees with.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Leoal: Good point. Unless the number of objective truths is quite small, you’d think that he wouldn’t be arrogant enough to say that he, unlike most people, is wise enough to know which are which.

    • Greg G.

      Yes, perhaps a position he has changed his mind about would work. Was he wrong about an objective more then or now.

  • stop2wonder

    1. If Magical Morality Faeries do not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

    2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

    3. Therefore, Magical Morality Faeries exist.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Daniel Fincke continues to defend objective morality after having admitted they do not exist.

    Relatedly, in two posts from the spring I try to defend the use of the phrase “moral objectivity” on pragmatic grounds and show how on my definition of moral objectivity it can be found and justified in various common sense ways.

    He has acknowledged that truly objective morality does not exist, yet still tries to justify use of that language. Kinda sad. Since has has recognized his cognitive dissonance, he should probably STFU about it until he can come to a more reasonable position internally.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Sometimes I guess you’ve got to spend the five minutes up front defining your terms.

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