Proof of God?
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Proof of God?

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Proof of God?




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Slide1

Proof of God?

Inquiries into the Philosophy of Religion

A Concise Introduction

Chapter 5

God And Morality

By

Glenn Rogers, Ph.D.

Copyright

©

2012

Glenn Rogers

Slide2

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Aristotle referred to man (humankind) as the rational animal, emphasizing that it is human rationality that sets humans apart from animals.

Human thinking is significantly different from animal thinking. Rationality is unique to humans. Another feature that is unique to humans is that we are

moral beings

. Human make moral choices.

Animals make choices. But they do not make

moral choices

. They do not ask,

what is the right thing to do

? Animals do not attempt to define terms and understand concepts such as right and wrong, just and unjust, moral and immoral, good and bad. Animals do not ask questions such as,

what is the highest good

, or

of what does the good life consist

? Humans, however, do ask such questions.

Slide3

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Where did morality come from? What is its origin? The materialist paradigm suggests that humans, who were originally egoistical and amoral, simply became moral over a period of

time… Hobbes’ position (Leviathan).

People came

to

understand

that one way of living (moral living) was better than the other way (

egoistic,

amoral living) and made a choice to be moral.

Is

this a satisfactory explanation for the complex moral thinking and behaviors that transcend egoistic amorality?

No.

Suggesting that morality arose from amorality solely on the basis of rational reflection is rather like suggesting that rationality arose from non-rational matter or that consciousness arose from non-conscious matter.

Slide4

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Rationality and morality are both present in human beings. But to suggest a causal link between them is unwarranted.

I

f

there

was

a

causal link between them—rationality causing morality--one

might expect to see a correspondence between levels of rationality and morality. People who were trained in rational analysis (such as philosophers) or those who were just naturally rationally oriented rather then emotionally oriented could be expected to be more moral, or at least more morally aware. However, this is not the case.

Human did not become moral because they are rational and figured out that morality is better than amorality.

Slide5

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Morality is a feature of humanness as are consciousness and rationality. We are conscious and rational because of the kind of beings we are. We are also moral because of the kind of beings we are.

Because

we were created by a thinking substance, a mind, that is itself conscious, rational, and self-determined, we, as thinking substances, minds, are also conscious, rational, and self-determined, that is, we make moral choices.

Slide6

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Kant

In

his

Critique of Practical Reason

Kant argued that the existence of morality requires that humans strive for the

summum bonum

, the highest good, which they cannot accomplish on their own and therefore necessitates the existence of God.

Kant’s argument can be summarized as follows

:

1. People

are happy when life goes the way they want it to go—which includes the pursuit of the summum bonum, that is, achieving the highest moral goodness

.

2. But the natural world does not always cooperate with the individual’s goals for happiness

.

Slide7

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Kant

3. And since the individual is not the cause (or in control) of nature he cannot make the natural world cooperate with his goals

.

4. Because humans are both rational and moral, one of their goals must be to seek the highest good, that is, to be moral. Morality is an obligation

.

5. Because morality is an obligation, obtaining it must be possible

.

Slide8

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Kant

6. Therefore, there must be a cause of nature, separate from nature, that is able to bring together these two goals—the pursuit of morality and the happiness that comes from achieving it.

7. Therefore, there must be a supreme cause of nature that includes the pursuit of the highest good (morality) as part of its causal intentions

.

8. This supreme cause of nature must itself represent the highest good if it is to assist humanity in achieving the highest good

.

Slide9

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Kant

9. The supreme cause is God, who is necessary for the pursuit of morality and of happiness.

One of the things I find most intriguing about the argument is that while Kant felt that cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments failed in establishing the existence of God, he felt this argument (an argument unique to him) succeeded in establishing the existence of God.

Whether

or not Kant demonstrated the existence of God based on the presence and requirements of morality is for the reader to decide. What he has done, however, is set a modern precedent for linking morality and God. In his view, God is a moral God who created moral people and who wants to help them live morally.

Slide10

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Owen

The contemporary philosopher, H. P. Owen, argued that the reality of morality, including how we conceive it and how we talk about it, leads to the conclusion that God

exists. His

argument may be summarized as follows

:

Morality

makes a claim on us. We feel constrained by it. There is a pressure to conform

.

1a

. A simple impersonal force (which is what morality

would

be if it exists apart from God) could not generate

pressure

to conform.

Slide11

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Owen

1b

. Therefore, there must be a personal source for the

moral

law—a moral law demands a moral lawgiver.

1c

. Furthermore, an impersonal moral force cannot

generate

a feeling of willing allegiance as can a personal

source

of morality

.

2. Human dignity is rooted in the personal. People have intrinsic value simply because they are human beings.

3. Morality, as part of the human equation, must also be personal for it to be meaningful

.

Slide12

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Owen

4. Moral language (such as reverence, responsibility, guilt) demonstrates the personal nature of morality

.

4a

. Reverence: one does not feel reverence toward an

impersonal

force

.

4b

. Responsibility: one does not feel responsibility toward

an

impersonal force

.

4c

. Guilt: one does not feel guilt in relation to an

impersonal

force

.

5. The reality of moral failure and the paradox it presents requires a supernatural fix rather than a natural one

.

Slide13

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Owen

5a

. A moral ought suggests a moral can

.

5b

. But often we do not… we ought but we don’t

.

5c

. This kind of failure creates a problem that is

insurmountable

if morality derives from an impersonal

force.

5d

. Only a personal supernatural source can respond in

a

meaningful way to moral failure

.

6. There must be, therefore, a personal supernatural source (God) from which morality derives and that responds personally to moral failures

.

Slide14

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Owen

Whether or not Owen has made his case is up to readers to decide.

Morality As Evidence Of The Divine

I would argue that a

moral God who created moral people is the only satisfactory explanation for the presence of morality in the cosmos.

Slide15

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Morality As Evidence Of The Divine

Just

as the presence of consciousness in the cosmos can only be accounted for by the existence of an eternally-existing conscious mind that created other conscious minds, so the presence of morality in the cosmos can only be accounted for by an eternally-existing moral mind who created other moral minds

.

1a

. A monistic materialistic paradigm contains no

mechanism

for explaining the rise of morality out of

egoistic

amorality (as argued earlier in relation to

Hobbes

) any more than it does for explaining the rise of

consciousness

out of non-consciousness

.

Slide16

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Morality As Evidence Of The Divine

1b

. But a dualistic “mind paradigm” explains the

presence

of morality by arguing that that which always

existed

and is responsible for all else that exists

(

including morality) is a self-determined mind.

1c

. A self-determined mind is a moral mind in the sense

that

it makes moral choices.

Slide17

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Morality As Evidence Of The Divine

2. Moral minds can only be produced by a previously existing moral mind

.

3. It is necessary, therefore, that a moral mind exist to account for the presence of morality in the cosmos. That moral mind is normally referred to as God.

Reviewing my cosmological argument in Chapter 2 will be helpful in assessing this argument.

Slide18

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

In the Platonic dialog entitled

Euthyphro

, Socrates asks Euthyphro a penetrating question that is still discussed by philosophers today. Socrates asks his young friend, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?”

If we contextualize the question for a contemporary audience it might be phrased

,

is a thing moral because God says it is moral, or does God say it is moral because it is moral? Is a thing immoral because God says it is immoral, or does God say it is immoral because it is immoral?

The difference is immensely significant.

Slide19

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

If a thing is moral or immoral because God says so, then God is the final and ultimate arbitrator of morality. In that case, a thing is right or wrong simply because God says so. Whatever he says is right is right. Whatever he says is wrong is wrong

simply

because he said so.

If

, however, God says a thing is right or wrong because that thing is right or wrong, then concepts by which a thing can be judged right or wrong exist outside of or along with God and God acknowledges the correctness of that conceptual standard. Do the concepts of rightness and wrongness exist outside of God, or are rightness and wrongness determined by God?

Slide20

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

W

hat

is the relationship between God and morality? That question, of course, is related to the question Socrates asked Euthyphro: does God determine morality or acknowledge morality?

In thinking, then, about concerns related to God and morality a few observations are appropriate.

1. Since as I have argued, the eternally-existing mind (God) is responsible for the presence of other minds (humans) in the cosmos, and since those humans are moral beings making moral choices, it seems apparent that morality (perhaps we can say

human

moral development

) must be a part of God’s design (goal) for the cosmos.

Slide21

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

2. Even though self-determined humans are free to make their own moral choices, because God is God, his thoughts on moral issues and his goals (as far as we might be able to ascertain them) for human moral development, ought to be taken into consideration.

3. If, as I have suggested above, there is a third alternative to Socrates’ question to Euthyphro and moral rightness and wrongness, morality and immorality, are based on God’s nature (moral being rooted in what God is and immoral being rooted in what God is not) then it seems apparent that moral absolutes must exist.

Slide22

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

4. If Socrates was right and it is an either/or situation, then one of two possibilities is the case

:

1

) A thing is moral simply because God says so, which

means

if God were to say that infanticide is moral than it

would

, in fact, be moral. Few, upon thoughtful reflection,

would

select this option.

2

) God acknowledges that which is moral (or immoral)

based

on a conceptual reality that exists, a moral

conceptual

reality that exists just as a mathematical or

logical

conceptual reality exists. Given the ramifications

of

the first option, this second option seems preferable.

Slide23

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

5. If, in fact, this is the case, then moral absolutes exist.

So

whether one selects point 3, that there is a third alternative to Socrates’ question to Euthyphro, or point 4, option 2, that God acknowledges morality (or immorality), moral absolutes exist.

Either

way you end up with moral absolutes.

Slide24

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

6. Additionally, if moral absolutes do not exist the alternative is

absolute relativity

. Whether rooted in

Ayn

Rand’s Objectivism, Ethical Egoism, or Cultural Relativity, the result is the same: moral anarchy.

As

the character Ivan

Fyodorovich

, in Dostoyevsky’s

The Brothers Karamazov

observed, “…for every individual… who does not believe in God or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that egoism, even to crime, must become not only lawful but even recognized as the inevitable… There is no virtue if there is no immortality

.

Slide25

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

Either there are moral absolutes (some things that are always right and other that are always wrong no matter the context or circumstance) or everything is relative and subject to humankind’s subjective determinations.

If

everything is subjective, you inevitably end up with genocide, ethnocide, infanticide, sadism, masochism, and any other kind of

ism

or

cide

that can be conceived being advocated and practiced. History has proven this to be the case.

And

that being the case, any argument that leads to the absurd or ridiculous conclusion or outcome (in this case, that absolute moral relativity is reality) is a fallacious argument.

Slide26

Proof of God?

God and Morality

Is Divine Morality The Standard For Human Morality

Absolute relativity is absurd as it gets. There is no middle ground here. Either there are moral absolutes or there is absolute relativity. And absolute relativity is simply absurd. It is not a viable moral option.

Genocide--Rwanda

Ethnocide--Germany

Infanticide--China

Slide27

Proof of God?

God and Morality

An Abductive Conclusion

What I have argued here is basically this: that to suggest that morality just developed as a by-product of rational reflection is as unlikely as consciousness evolving from non-conscious matter.

The

reality of morality is evidence of an eternally-existing mind that is a moral mind. And that moral mind, because it is the source of all else that exists, is the source of morality because it is the source of other moral minds that exist.

The

best explanation for the presence of morality in the cosmos is God.

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