A Primer in Religion and Morality

My recent interview for the Atheistically Speaking podcast inspired me to compile this quick primer in religion and morality, in order to help clarify the many different concepts at play when we talk about morality with and without God. I consider this a work-in-progress so any constructive criticism would be appreciated.Update (5 May 2015): I have revised and massively expanded the document. I am treating this as version 1.0 of the document and the previous version as a 'beta release' of th … [Read more...]

Not this Again!

John Mark Reynolds, Provost of Houston Baptist University, has posted an essay reasserting the old canard that atheism is the cause of mass murder. Reynolds commits all the usual fallacies of those who make this claim. For instance, though he notes that correlation is not the same thing as cause, here is what he says in his opening paragraph: Atheistic regimes killed millions in the last century. Nobody denies this fact, though some deny atheism had much to do with the murder…Yet there is d … [Read more...]

Eternal Accountability vs. Pascal’s Wager

I think I may have conceived of a novel response both to pragmatic moral arguments (such as Victor Reppert's recent post about eternal accountability) and Pascal's Wager, but I'm neither certain it is novel nor that it works.The basic idea is that these two arguments contradict one another. To the person who is uncertain about God's existence, Pascal says they have to place a bet on either atheism or Christianity. The risk of infinite loss (from atheism) compared to the opportunity for in … [Read more...]

Some Thoughts on Naturalism and Morality

It is supposed, by some, to be difficult for naturalism to account for moral properties (both axiological properties like goodness and badness and deontic properties like rightness and wrongness). William Lane Craig and Paul Copan, have each argued incessantly that naturalism cannot account for moral properties. Craig has offered the following argument:If God does not exist, then objective moral value does not exist. Objective moral value does  exist. God exists.This argument has … [Read more...]

A Very Rough Sketch of an Objection to Quentin Smith’s Argument for Moral Realism

In his book, Ethical and Religious Thought in Analytic Philosophy of Language, Quentin Smith defends an argument for moral realism which he calls the argument from veridical seeming. (1)  Ordinary ethical sentences and commonsense first-level moral beliefs imply moral realism (or “Moral realism tacitly seems to be true in ordinary commonsense moral attitudes”). (2)  There are no empirical or a priori reasons to believe that first-level moral beliefs are all false.(3)  Therefore, it is m … [Read more...]

What Explains God’s Moral Grounding Power? Part II

In an earlier article, I wrote about a question for divine command metaethics, a question that I called the Moral Grounding Question.Moral Grounding Question (MGQ): In virtue of what do God’s commands ground moral obligations? (or, in virtue of what does God have MG-power?)In that previous post, I explained the moral grounding question and showed that it is a question that defenders of the Divine Command Theory (DCT) need to answer. I also argued that one possible answer to MGQ, namely t … [Read more...]

Naturalism, Theism, and Moral Ontology: A Reply to William Lane Craig

Abstract: This paper considers William Lane Craig’s metaethical argument for God’s existence. Roughly, the argument is that the existence of objective moral values provides strong evidence for God’s existence. I consider one by one Craig’s various reasons in support of the argument’s major premise, namely, that objective moral values and the nonexistence of God are at odds with each other. I show that Craig’s supporting arguments play fast and loose with the meaning of objectivity, and that they … [Read more...]

G&T Rebuttal, Part 6: Chapter 7

Metaethics

Chapter 7. Mother Theresa vs. Hitler  In this chapter, G&T present a version of the moral argument for God's existence which I call the "Moral Laws Require a Moral Lawgiver Argument," which they formulate as follows. 1. Every law has a law giver. 2. There is a Moral Law.3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver. Like the earlier arguments, this argument is deductively valid. Like the earlier chapters about this argument, I plan to briefly summarize G&T's defense of … [Read more...]


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