And now…on the other hand…

For a few days we’ve been discussing the faiths of the founding fathers. I’m still on that subject, but today’s post will probably upset the “other side”–those who have been with me so far.

Even thought the leading founding fathers (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Madison) were not orthodox Christians, they were theists. I believe (based on much reading and studying of their writings including their private letters) that they all believed that belief in God (sorry for all the “believes”) is necessary for a functioning social order.

They (and all the founders of the American republic [I don't put Paine in that camp as he was not directly involved in writing, debating or voting for any of the founding documents]) believed that ethics, including politics, depends on transcendence. They would have been horrified and shocked at the depth of modern secularism. And I think they would have rejected the very idea of total separation between state and religion.

Sure, they believed in and strongly advocated freedom of religion. And I have no doubt they would have extended that to atheists. On the other hand, I think if you had asked them if they thought an atheist would make a good president, Supreme Court justice, congressman, they would have said no (assuming they understood by “atheism” not deism but outright denial of the existence of God or anything like God).

I agree with them that a well functioning social order depends on a shared moral vision and that a shared moral vision depends on belief in something or someone transcendent to nature. The reason is what I have said here before many time–you cannot get an “ought” from an “is.”

I always find it amusing and bewildering when atheists argue that nature itself produces prescriptive altruism. It certainly does not. It may very well be that altruism is built into our genetic code. If it is, that does not say anything about whether a person OUGHT to be altruistic. All you can say to someone who chooses not to be altruistic is: “You’re going against your own genetic inheritance.” Their correct answer would be “So what?”

Arguing that we OUGHT to be kind, compassionate, cooperative, caring for the common good, etc., etc. on the basis that MOST people have a gene that inclines toward that is like arguing that people ought to be heterosexual because MOST people’s genes incline them that way. Most atheists I know who use the “altruistic gene” argument would not go there.

The plain fact is that, to date, no atheist (or other person) has demonstrated here or anywhere that you can derive an OUGHT from an IS. All they do is come here (and elsewhere) and bluff and bluster about recent scientific research that supposedly proves organisms are naturally altruistic. EVEN if that is true (which I don’t think has been proven) it doesn’t say ANYTHING about what OUGHT to be the case in human behavior. It may say something about what is normal, but it doesn’t say anything about what is right.

Back to my subject here. I fear that any social order that attempts to be entirely secular is doomed to fail as a functioning social order. It has no grounding for its shared value system. There is nothing and no one to appeal to above the law (as determined by legislatures and courts). As certain postmodern philosophers have rightly pointed out (I’m thinking of Caputo, for one), law and justice are not the same. At best “law” can only approximate justice.

But, of course, that is only the case IF there really is some being who embodies justice. Otherwise, justice is just an impossible ideal subject to shifting perceptions of it.

Kantians of all kinds will, of course, object and argue that there is some kind of absolute moral imperative independent of transcendence. Even Kant, however, found it necessary, at the end of the day, to posit life after death with rewards and punishments to make his rational, categorical imperative “work.” Even he knew that virtue is not its own reward.

So what should America’s shared value system and transcendent grounding for it be? I would argue it should be (and was implicitly until fairly recently, beginning with the Warren Court in the 1960s) Christian theism. That is not the same as “orthodox Christianity.” It is simply belief in a personal God who is the source of absolutes of right and wrong.

So why didn’t the framers of the U.S. Constitution see fit to mention God? I believe in two explanations. First, they did not anticipate the rise of atheism and secularism. Those seemed beyond comprehension to them (except as individual beliefs of a few skeptics). Second, they did not know how to bring God into the picture while moving toward separation of church and state. Any mention of God would, they feared, raise the specter of favoring a particular organized religion or denomination. I believe that, had they foreseen the rise of public atheism and secularism, they would have put God in the Constitution.

Now, how does what I’ve said here relate to separation of church and state? I am a strong believer in separation of church and state as anyone who knows me or has read this blog faithfully knows. I absolutely reject any government favoritism toward any particular organized religion and any special influence of any organized religion on government. I also reject any religious tests for public office OTHER than belief in God. (We already have that in an unofficial way as public officials are asked to put their hands on a Bible and solemnly swear “so help me God.”)

AA and the Boy Scouts are right–belief in God (even as just a “Higher Power”)  is necessary for adherence to absolutes of right and wrong. Without God (or something very much like God) moral relativism is inevitable. Modern secularists are living off the left overs of Judaism and Christianity. Consistent ones know very well that moral anarchy is inevitable, that might makes right (sans God).

I expect a barrage of objections. Just keep them civil and give your reasons in a calm, respectful manner as you would if you were in my living room or office.

  • ME

    “I fear that any social order that attempts to be entirely secular is doomed to fail as a functioning social order. It has no grounding for its shared value system.”

    Why is a functioning social order important? I don’t recall Jesus worrying about that. To me “functioning social order” is a euphemism for security and prosperity. Jesus’s words about the birds and the lilies tell us to forget that stuff, and to seek first His kingdom. If we work for the Kingdom of God the rest will take care of itself.

  • icthusiast

    No argument from me, Roger.

    That the ‘ought’ cannot be derived from what ‘is’ is very clear to me. In my experience what people hear, when you attempt to argue that atheism can provide no firm basis for a moral system, is that atheists are at best amoral and, at worst, immoral.

    Of course atheists can have, and usually do have, high moral values. Of course atheists can and do behave in morally appropriate ways. The issue is whether they have a reliable and stable base from which to derive their moral judgements. The distinction is too subtle for some, in my experience.

    Like you, I believe that many have an unacknowledged, even unconcious, dependence on their Judaeo-Christian heritage.

  • Jon hughes

    Great post. I’m going to provide a link to it for my atheist friends.

  • Zach

    Have you read Meacham’s American Gospel? Thesis seems similar to what you’re saying here. The most cruel irony of it all is that so called “secularists” often put into practice the implications of a theistic worldview while so called theists (and unfortunately self-described evangelicals!) fail to do so (back to your incise discussion of Social Darwinism). I’m with Peter Gomes in lamenting that those who don’t support the status quo often don’t believe in God. I look forward to the day when, as the Psalmist says, “Love and faithfulness meet together;righteousness and peace kiss each other.” (85:10)

  • Kyle

    I tend to agree with both of your posts on this. I was talking to an atheist a month or two ago. I won’t claim to be his good friend; we are just acquaintances. But, we talked about the good news, and, afterwards, we asked each other questions about our belief systems. One of the things he told me, which I had never heard, was that often he will use the word “god” in chat rooms talking about social issues as a representative word for the highest good. I live in a society thought to be more atheistic (although there are multiple and various forms of appeals to spiritual powers throughout the culture), and it’s interesting that “god” gets used as a term reaching for transcendence. They don’t mean any god, but these people validate your point when they need something beyond what they objectively know in order to talk about good and justice.

    • rogereolson

      Right. It’s like atheistic or agnostic scientists who talk about “nature” as if it were a person with intentions.

  • A Citizen

    I agree that we cannot get an “ought” from an “is”. Positing God’s existence makes God an “is”. How do we derive an “ought” from that? Seems like the correct response to “God said so” is also “so what?”

    If God has moral authority by virtue of being the creator and having the ability to punish all injustice, that’s just a variation on the theme of “might makes right”.

    God, then, encounters the same difficulties you named for atheism and moral relativism. I welcome a counter-argument.

    • rogereolson

      We’ve been around this bush numerous times here. When I say “God” I include the idea of Goodness as part of God’s eternal nature. God, goodness, transcends our finite and always changing perceptions and beliefs about goodness. God is absolute; no creature is.

      • Ivan A. Rogers

        The word “good” derives etymologically from the word “God.” This may also explain why Jesus taught, saying, “No one is good, except God alone” (Mt 10:18).

      • A Citizen

        Thank you for taking the time to respond.

        Putting goodness in the definition of God begs the question, because it is the nature of goodness and how it gets determined that is under discussion. We can still ask “what makes God good?” because transcendence alone does not answer the question. We can easily posit a transcendence who is evil. Satan may not transcend God in Christian tradition, but he still transcends our everyday reality, and that is the transcendence we are discussing.

        • rogereolson

          No, it’s not the transcendence we are discussing. In Judeo-Christian tradition there is no commensurability between God as Being Itself and Goodness Itself and Satan, a created being who decided to rebel against everything good.

          • A Citizen

            Ok, we don’t have to go with Satan if you find that controversial (though I am not abandoning my contention that Satan qualifies as transcendent in the relevant way). Let’s go instead with a creator that is also pure being, but also causes as much agony as he can without completely breaking creation or driving his creatures too insane to appreciate what is happening to them. He does this in order to demonstrate his power and his ingenuity.

            Now, both God and the God I’ve posited are equally uncreated, equally transcendent.
            Can we say what makes one good and the other bad without begging the question? If we cannot, the existence of a transcendent entity does not supply a firm foundation for morality, and we end up back where we started.

            I’m enjoying this discussion, and I hope you are too.

          • rogereolson

            That’s a good question, but I consider it secondary to the larger issue of the necessity of a transcendent source for a shared moral vision. My professor Wolfhart Pannenberg (Lutheran in Germany) argues that there is and will be a “contest of the gods” until the end of the world. But no God (or god) is wholly different than a social debate about which God or god is the true one. As G. K. Chesterton said (I think) “If God does not exist all is permitted.”

          • A Citizen

            I had just posted my comment when I thought of an even better counter-example to demonstrate that theism does no better than atheism: God as depicted by Calvinism. If I’m remembering your writings correctly, you find God as described by Calvinism to be morally detestable. If you and the Calvinists are agreed on God’s transcendence and even on God’s status as pure goodness, then transcendence or pure goodness is not available as a ground to support your opinion that in your view, God is more moral than he is in theirs. There must be something other than transcendence or defining God as pure goodness that supports your opinion. What is it?

          • rogereolson

            Ah, but you don’t know Calvinism very well. My charge against classical Calvinism is that it is inconsistent. I would never question its moral vision for humanity. My debate with Calvinism is how it depicts God’s own actions–that is inconsistent with what we both believe God commands. Our shared moral vision (love, compassion, decency, respect, etc.) is based on God’s prescriptions for human behavior, not description of God’s own decrees about what will happen. My argument against Calvinism is that it portrays what God expects of us as higher and better (morally) than what he himself does.

          • A Citizen

            It’s interesting to note that if a stable society is built on agreement regarding the existence of a transcendent goodness, it isn’t really built on the transcendent part. It’s built on the agreement part. No agreement, no unified society, regardless of whether the transcendent exists as pure being and goodness or not. That being the case, what if instead of trying to agree on whether a transcendent actually exists or not, we just skipped straight to building agreement on what values our society should reflect and how best to put them into practice?

            Ultimately, if both atheism/moral relativism and theism require some kind of intersubjective agreement, then whether the transcendent actually exists or not doesn’t get us anywhere. Theism turns out to be just as subjective as atheism/moral relativism when it comes to social stability.

          • rogereolson

            Only theism provides the possibility of challenging the current moral consensus.

          • A Citizen

            Unless of course, the deity suggested blesses the current moral consensus. Also, when Jesus endorsed the Golden Rule, he was promoting morality based on…subjective preferences: act based on how you prefer others act to you. I realize we weren’t referring to Jesus when discussing the value of theism, but its still a little ironic.

            Anyway, I won’t take up more of your time, if you feel like we’ve reached a stopping point. It’s been a very enjoyable discussion, and I’m grateful for your participation.

            Have a good one!

  • Randy Wiegand

    I think you ar e going in the right direction, but I have a couple of comments…you mentioned that many key founders were not orthodox. I would agree that Franklin was not. Many of the others claimed to be orthodox. I think they were more Christian than many Christian ministers we have today.

    I think if you looked a little more closely at the writings of the founders you’d find that when they used the word “religion” synonomously with Christianity. There was true religion: Christianity and false religion – other religions of the world. Thus, they did place Christianity on a higher level than other religions. There is even a Supreme Court decision expressing that sentiment.

    You are suggesting the founders might have rejected total separation of church and state. That point isn’t even in question. These guys purchased Bibles with government money, they hired Christian chaplains, they passed the northwest ordinance requiring instruction in religion – which they neant to be Christianity. Alot of these guys were also trying to get states to adopt state religions. There isn’t even a debate that believed in anything remotely close to total separation of church and state. They left God out of the constitution because they had seen the impact of a federal government oppressing minority religions and they didn’t want that to happen here.

    You made a reference to genetic dspositions of homesecuality. I think if you looked closely at that issue, you’d see there is no conclusive scientific evidence to indicaate homosexuality is genetic. I see the point you are trying to make but I think bringing in genetics throws the discussion off. People all know inherently that self centeredness is bad and others centeredness is good. That is one of the great proofs that God is. That’s just the way it is.

    Keep pressing on these issues.

  • http://Whatyouthinkmatters.org/blog Andrew Wilson

    Great stuff as usual. Could you clarify, though: when you say “theism”, do you mean it as a catch-all term for belief in a divinity including deism, or (as it is often used) in distinction to deism?

    • rogereolson

      In this context (viz., a functioning society needing a transcendent grounding) I mean any idea of an eternal, personal being who is goodness itself. In our Western culture we have called it/him God. “Theism” in this context could include deism (as believed in and explained by Toland and Tindal). I think that theism is completely inadequate for Christianity.

  • http://www.openhousechurch.ca Phil Niemi

    Interesting post. I do question how much foreknowledge the fathers would have had. Had not Europe, especially there ally France wondered a little further down the Enlightenment road away from both religion and more specifically concepts of God?

    • rogereolson

      Yes, the “Goddess of Reason” hardly counts as a form of theism.

  • http://theatompanopticon.wordpress.com/ Brandon Blake

    ME says,

    “Why is a functioning social order important? I don’t recall Jesus worrying about that. To me “functioning social order” is a euphemism for security and prosperity. Jesus’s words about the birds and the lilies tell us to forget that stuff, and to seek first His kingdom. If we work for the Kingdom of God the rest will take care of itself.”

    This is the problem of “Red Letter Christians.” There is a hermeneutic within a hermeneutic. What Jesus did or didn’t do is seemingly more important than the rest of scripture, ie., the Old Testament, Paul, different genres, etc.

    Second, concern for a functioning social order is important as that is an IMPLICATION of the Gospel as pointed out via folk like the late John Stott and Fuller president, Richard Mouw and many within the Reformed camp, Al Wolters. Which is to say that that it is ultimately not a question about security and prosperity but about justice.

    To use an analogy, think of a library system. We have an ordered system with library cards, nicely lined book shelves, books in order, etc. This is for human flourishing. For the benefit of persons. Jesus, in the story of the Good Samaritan was not simply concerned about the immediate needs of the individual but was also concerned about the underlying system that would have put that person there in the first place. It wouldn’t have been enough to help the individual without doing something about the laws about safety on the country side roads. You can actually perpetuate a greater injustice this way. Why bother with immediate needs without dealing with the root causes.

    This is a far cry from security and prosperity which may be a benefit of justice as opposed to justice itself.

    • ME

      To an extent I do believe what Jesus did is more important than the rest of scripture. That said, it is a valid criticism of me that I don’t place enough emphasis on the non-Jesus things in the Bible.

      I understand your point about a functioning social order being an implication of the Gospel, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Pragmatically, though, I don’t think it is important for Christians in our time. The portion of the country that is pagan or nihilist is so large that if Christians were to drop out of participating in governance it wouldn’t make much difference. We just don’t have the time to worry about the negligible influence we have on government, especially when so often it does more harm than good to Christianity itself.

      • rogereolson

        I sympathize with that, but I still had to raise my kids in this pagan society. I wanted the members of the school board to be theists if not Judeo-Christian ones. When my daughter was in middle school the most influential member of the school board was an outspoken atheist. That made a difference when the school board decided to identify the community’s “shared values” in order to post them in the public schools (which the Supreme Court allowed). I was on the task force. We found that “love” topped everyone’s list of shared community values. (It was a heavily Christian school district.) The board dropped “love” from its list of shared community values while keeping respect and some other ones. I asked why they dropped “love” and was told there is no secular basis for love (when love is meant as a value or virtue). But the Supreme Court had not restricted community values that could be taught in public schools to secular ones. I strongly suspected the atheist school board member (who was always the most outspoken at meetings) had a hand in that. But I would argue there’s really no purely secular basis for “respect,” either.

        • ME

          Speaking of love, I think there needs to be a lot more education with-in Christianity on what exactly love is. My take is an essential element of love is self-denial and the greatest aim of love is to play a part in someone else getting closer to God.

          Also, I really appreciate your take on secularly derived morals and am continually confounded that so many people don’t get what (to me) is obvious and simple.

  • DDinMS

    Thank you, Dr. Olson, for this succinct and, I believe, accurate portrayal of the faith of the founding fathers. I was trying to articulate this in a conversation with my wife the other day. I’ll definitely point her to your blog; we’re both Truett alumni. Here is my question:

    I’ve been searching for an analogy/illustration/example, for quite some time, that will better explain what happens when one removes the moral & ethical foundation–which seems to have been, for the founding fathers, their biblically-derived system of Judeo-Christian values–from the equation.

    I particularly like your comment, “Modern secularists are living off the left overs of Judaism and Christianity.” That seems to hit the nail on the head, and I wondered if you had further comment about the necessity of having in place that Judeo-Christian moral foundation and what happens when one takes away those underpinnings.

    Again, I loved your post. I think you’re spot-on. Thanks.

    • rogereolson

      What happens is sheer relativism and might makes right and Social Darwinism–eventually (not so long as the theistic foundation is still in place in most peoples’ minds). For a long time people have thought that Enlightenment rationalism (social contract theory) could take the place of a religious or spiritual “glue” to hold things together and achieve justice in the social order. Postmodernity is showing up the flaws in that theory.

    • http://rwtyer.blogspot.com Rory Tyer

      Nietzsche’s “The Antichrist” is an example of an atheist philosopher talking about what society ought to look like once its Judeo-Christian underpinnings have been proven false. This theme is elsewhere in his work of course, but Antichrist is short and a good place to start.

  • Rob

    I basically agree with you but wish to get clarification on one point. Do you think it is God’s divine command that makes something right or wrong? Or are you identifying God as The Good, the transcendent ground of goodness, by which we judge right and wrong?

    • rogereolson

      As a Christian I believe both. For a functioning social order I think it is necessary, if not sufficient, to have a shared moral vision which implies some degree of theonomy (in Tillich’s sense, not the Christian Reconstructionist sense).

  • Rob

    Don’t you think an atheist could believe in the Good in the context of ethics without recognizing that the Good is to be identified with the God worshipped by Christians? I am thinking of something like the old example of the Morning Star and the Evening Star which were once thought to be two different things but turn out to both be Venus. Anyone looking at the object described by ‘Morning Star’ is looking at the exact same thing that is described by ‘Evening Star’ –even if the observer does not know that they are two different modes of representation of the same thing.

    • rogereolson

      Yes, you’re right. But by “theism” I mean a personal, supreme being who is sole creator and moral governor of the universe. Deism (which Voltaire called “Theism”) works for the purposes the founding fathers and I have in mind–having transcendent grounding for a shared moral vision. My objection to the revisionists about the founding fathers is that they tend to portray them as orthodox Christians when that’s not really necessary. What’s important (for a shared social moral vision) is that they all believed in theism.

  • Robert

    An anonymous poster who goes by “A citizen” has been discussing the source or basis of morality with Roger. Having seen some of this anonymous poster’s comments, I want to bring out some problems with his/her reasoning.

    “I agree that we cannot get an “ought” from an “is”. Positing God’s existence makes God an “is”. How do we derive an “ought” from that? Seems like the correct response to “God said so” is also “so what?””

    The “Is/ought” distinction usually has reference to deriving morality from real states of affairs. So just because X is a reality in this world, it does not mean that we can derive our oughts from this “is”. Put another way the distinction is between “what is in fact true” versus “what ought to be true.” The anonymous poster appears to be arguing that if we posit that God exists, this fact then becomes an “is”. And so as this is an “is” we cannot derive an “ought” from the fact that God exists. What anonymous seems to miss is that Christians do not derive their “oughts” from the mere fact that God exists. But from the fact that God is a morally perfect being. Thus anonymous is engaging in a category mistake here. The is/ought error is to derive moral oughts from mere factual realities. But in deriving our moral oughts form a perfect moral being, we are not going from mere existience to a moral ought.

    Anonymous’ error is also seen in this last comment. If God is a morally perfect being and if he tells us to do something. It is both rebellious and foolish to reply to his commands with “so what”.

    “If God has moral authority by virtue of being the creator and having the ability to punish all injustice, that’s just a variation on the theme of “might makes right”.”

    It is true that God is the creator and has the ability to punish all injustice. But what anonymous leaves out here is again the fact that God acts in line with his moral character. So when he acts he does not act arbitrarily. Instead his actions always fit with his perfect moral character.

    “God, then, encounters the same difficulties you named for atheism and moral relativism. I welcome a counter-argument.”

    Actually this is not true and not even close. When contrasting Christianity with atheism concerning the source or basis of morality. What needs to be seen is that in order for morality to be both true and objective, it must have as its source, a reality that is transcultural (i.e. above and beyond all human cultures, i.e. not invented by man) universal (it does not merely apply in one context and not others) and timeless (it will not change with time or the changing opionions of men). Atheism has no source for morality that fits this description. Such a source of morality could only exist if God exists. God being transcultural, universal and timeless, could provide such a source for morality. So the only hope of objective morality is if the source is God. If there is no God, as Doestoevsky remarked “all things are permitted.” If there is no God then there can be no transcultural, universal and timeless source of morality. Instead people would be left with mere personal preferences and culturally dependent morality. And in many such situaitons what is right is whateve those who can enforce what is right declare it to be.

    “Putting goodness in the definition of God begs the question, because it is the nature of goodness and how it gets determined that is under discussion.”

    This is another mistake. If God is a morally perfect being, then he does qualify as a source that explains both the nature of goodness (goodness conforms to his character) and how goodness is determined (i.e. it lines up with God’s perfect character).

    “We can still ask “what makes God good?” because transcendence alone does not answer the question. We can easily posit a transcendence who is evil. Satan may not transcend God in Christian tradition, but he still transcends our everyday reality, and that is the transcendence we are discussing.”

    God is what he is. His nature is what it is. If he is morally perfect, then that is what he is. Nothing outside of God makes him good. Nor is there some higher reality of goodness to which God seeks to conform. So the famous Euthyphro dillema does not apply to the God of Christianity.

    Regarding Satan, unless you hold to some sort of Zorastrian duaistic belief where there are two equal Gods (good and bad). In Christianity satan is not transcendent but is a finite and created being. There is no comparison between the infinite God of the bible and Satan.

    “Ok, we don’t have to go with Satan if you find that controversial (though I am not abandoning my contention that Satan qualifies as transcendent in the relevant way). Let’s go instead with a creator that is also pure being, but also causes as much agony as he can without completely breaking creation or driving his creatures too insane to appreciate what is happening to them. He does this in order to demonstrate his power and his ingenuity.”

    Anonymous’s hypothetical God here is not at all like the morally perfect God of the bible and so I will not even waste time discussing the hypothetical described here.

    “Can we say what makes one good and the other bad without begging the question? If we cannot, the existence of a transcendent entity does not supply a firm foundation for morality, and we end up back where we started.”

    If we were deriving our ought from the mere fact that God exists, we would have a problem. But we derive our oughts from a morally perfect being, from his character.

    Roger wrote: “As G. K. Chesterton said (I think) “If God does not exist all is permitted.”

    It was not Chesterton, it was Doestoevsky.

    “I had just posted my comment when I thought of an even better counter-example to demonstrate that theism does no better than atheism: God as depicted by Calvinism.”

    But Christianity derives its oughts from a morally perfect being which provides a source of morality that is transcultural, universal and timeless. Again atheism has no such source for objective morality and so there is a wide difference between the two. This is not to say that atheists cannot act as good people. An atheist can choose to do good, he just has no objective basis for the good that he does. It is to say that they have no objective source that is transcultural, universal and timeless for morality like the theist does.

    “If I’m remembering your writings correctly, you find God as described by Calvinism to be morally detestable. If you and the Calvinists are agreed on God’s transcendence and even on God’s status as pure goodness, then transcendence or pure goodness is not available as a ground to support your opinion that in your view, God is more moral than he is in theirs. There must be something other than transcendence or defining God as pure goodness that supports your opinion. What is it?”

    Again, the Christian belief is that God is a morally perfect being. Non-calvinists such as Roger reject calvinistic theology because if it is true, it has God doing actions contradicting the actions we would expect from a morally perfect being. Put another way, all Christians believe that God is a morally perfect being (whether they are Calvinists or not). But non-Calvinists also believe that if God does what calvinists claim that he does, then that is inconsistent with a morally perfect being.

    The anonymous poster might benefit from examining what Christians throughout church history have said about God being a morally perfect person. This has been a constant thread throughout church history and you will find Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants all declaring God to be a morally perfect being.

    Robert

  • Dana Ames

    Robert, I commend to you Orthodox theologian/philosopher Christos Yannaras’ book, “The Freedom of Morality”. The Orthodox actually have a different take on God, or anyone else, as “a moral person”.

    Dana

    • Robert

      Hello Dana,

      “Robert, I commend to you Orthodox theologian/philosopher Christos Yannaras’ book, “The Freedom of Morality”.”

      Thank you for the recommendation, but I just do not believe that I will be reading that book any time soon. Just too many other books in the queue right now! :-) Including David Hart’s interesting but still to be read book by me:: THE BEAUTY OF THE INFINITE.

      “The Orthodox actually have a different take on God, or anyone else, as “a moral person”.”

      Dana could you elaborate on this statement a bit?

      And could you briefly summarize Yannaras’ views in his book which you recommend.

      Thanks.

      Robert


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