Author Topic: Moral Argument for God  (Read 2285 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 588
  • Darwins +48/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2012, 10:08:12 PM »
If Genesis is true . . .

You can Genesis on these nuts.
Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2628
  • Darwins +167/-71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2012, 10:21:56 PM »
I'm sorry, Jstwebbrowsing, but my 7 year old is smart enough to know that the whole Adam and Eve, garden of Eden thing never really happened.  Nobody really thinks it happened anymore, do they?  I mean seriously?  Come on.  Nobody believes in that now.

Am I missing something here? The way you express this is out of character. Was this a continuance of some separate discussion perhaps?
The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2012, 10:25:45 PM »
As a person with a single digit IQ, I have to ask a question here.

What is the reason for arguing whether a moral value is objective or relative?

The simple reason is that I believe the existence of objective moral values correspond to reality. I think it’s important for readers to know that I am not arguing from the assumption of God and then moving to objective morals. Quite the opposite is true. Human experience seems to agree that we are capable of perceiving acts as moral or immoral in an objective manner. From this conclusion, it is reasonable to where such objective morals come from. After testing multiple possibilities, I and many others find God to be the most plausible source. Of course, this line of thought continues on to further conclusions of significant consequences.


Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that the prohibition of killing is indeed an objective moral value. That is, it comes from somewhere else than the society in which it is honored. It is not a relative moral value, it is accepted as and defined as an objective one.

What would the difference be? I ask this because I had a recent discussion about the death penalty with several people, including two I know to be church-going christians. Both of them were very much in favor of the death penalty.

So if their stance against killing others is objective yet they are supportive of killing others, why is the difference important. Five or six years ago I was talking to one of those men and brought up the subject of collateral casualties and civilians being killed in wartime Iraq. He shrugged his shoulders and said that stuff like that happens. He wasn't concerned. And yet I've no doubt that he would very much support the existence of objective moral values. In his case, handed down by his God.

So, if objective moral values are subject to change at the convenience of the follower of such things, how are they any different in the real world than a relative moral value? If one who thinks his moral values are objective and come from outside his or her mind and society can shrug their shoulders at the news of a car full of children being killed at a military roadblock, are they still supposed to be somehow superior to those who shrug their shoulders for reasons of relative morality, so to speak?

I certainly agree that Christians (among many others) have held many moral positions and opinions. In this case, I would refer you to the distinction between the reality of objective moral values and knowledge of moral values. Most of the discussion tends to revolve around what the moral values actually are with the assumption that they actually exist. Since they actually moral values actually exist, we can have some assurance that there is at least a target to aim at. Relative morality gives us no such standard. So it is not the objective moral values that are changing but what we think they are. That is a discussion that is ongoing.



And those of us who are horrified about unnecessary death but who aren't really sure where our morality comes from: are we inferior beings?

Not in the least. People can be moral without knowing the basis for their morality. Christians should be the first to admit this given they believe we recognize the existence of a perfect God and how often we fail to live according to his moral law.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5963
  • Darwins +644/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Entropy isn’t what it used to be
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2012, 10:51:21 PM »
Thanks for the response, PhilosoB.

I guess I could have worded my main question much more simply. If there are objective moral values and most of us ignore them, do they qualify as values?



Never trust an atom. They make up everything!

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2628
  • Darwins +167/-71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2012, 11:04:05 PM »
If there are objective moral values and most of us ignore them, do they qualify as values?

I think so, especially when we know that we're ignoring them (which we do). The idea of a moral compass can generate a mountain of debate (and does), but I tend to think the idea rings true to most people at least on a certain level. I think we're prone to, and very good at, second guessing what we feel to be true deep down.

This is opinion - I can't defend it other than to appeal to my own experiences and perceptions of things.
The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5963
  • Darwins +644/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Entropy isn’t what it used to be
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2012, 11:14:13 PM »
Thanks magic. That, along with what PhilosoB just wrote, helps. I don't think I agree that morals are objective, but at least I now understand a bit more where you are coming from. And of course, as a dyed in the wool atheist, I certainly don't credit god with morals, whatever else they may be.

I have many reasons to think that the source of our base values are genetic/evolutionary and/or social constructs. I give credit to the evolved brain for those that appear universal. They rest I credit to the various societies we have invented.

But given that my IQ is probably 8 at best, I'll sit back and listen and see what you and others have to say.
Never trust an atom. They make up everything!

Offline magicmiles

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2628
  • Darwins +167/-71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2012, 11:20:30 PM »
And of course, as a dyed in the wool atheist

Are you sure you're an atheist and not a possibilitist?  ;D

The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

Offline Add Homonym

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2274
  • Darwins +186/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • I can haz jeezusburger™
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2012, 11:33:08 PM »
If the moral statement “do not steal” exists abstractly, there is nothing to make anyone obligated or accountable to it beyond what humans may subjectively decide.

This is where your straw man starts.

Murder has an accountability factor, because if you go around murdering everyone you see, then there is nobody left. By a process of evolution, murder is limited.

Theft is a different issue. This is why you pick it as a straw man. It appears like solid moral, but it's not. There are many moral frameworks where theft could be deemed fine. Animals have a personal distaste for things being stolen from them, but this does not mean that you can pretend this distaste amounts morality. Christian ethos wants people to dispose of their assets, and Buddhists say you should detach. Governments steal taxes from us, "for out own good", and Robin hood was a good guy, because he stole from others who gained assets by exploitation. Communism, spoken of in Acts 4, decries assets, and encourages sharing, on pain of death. There is no magical way to figure out whether theft is good or bad, but you do know that under our current capitalist system, asset theft from another hurts them. But why is hurting them immoral? Pain causes growth, and asset divestment is a part of religion. The reason why theft is defined as bad, is that we perceive evolution, and think that to thieve creates an unfair advantage or disadvantage to an organism's success. We want 'justice', so that organisms have a 'fair' chance to reproduce, and pass on their productive genes. In other words, we perceive fairness to be part of our purpose. Without it, we lose faith in what we are doing. We need a rationale for whether theft is good or bad. Other animals accept theft as part of the genetic competition process.

Objective morality exists only when it causes a severe disadvantage to a species. Otherwise, everything is "relative". That's why religion cannot decide how many wives a man should have; how many slaves he can have; whether he should get divorced; whether he should flog his children; whether he should stone gays; whether he should work on the sabbath; whether euthanasia and abortion is bad.

All that is left is for theists to create emotional straw men, and challenge you to say something is absolutely immoral - usually involving children.


Another thing to think about, is that there is no way to conceive of a world without morality, because morality extends down to atomic rules. You might think that an immoral man might get up, eat his children, have sex with the dog, rape his neighbour, and then defecate in the street. However, is that a lack of morality? There is actually no way to conceive of how bad you can possibly behave. What's the worst you can behave? Get up one morning and torture the universe? Kill yourself?

The reason that we cannot behave in a totally immoral manner, is because it is impossible. The laws of the universe push me to behave in a certain way, which approximate sanity. However, once we have a achieved a measure of sanity, everything else is relative.
I strive for clarity, but aim for confusion.

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2012, 12:17:16 AM »
First, I don’t think most people have an issue with assuming objective moral values exist. Humans are able to recognize or perceive immoral actions particularly in extreme cases such as the Holocaust or torturing babies for pure enjoyment. Humans perceive these acts as immoral not in the sense that they simply disagree with it like opinions or dislike it similar to disliking a particular food or because it goes against the prevailing societal norms. Acts like the Holocaust or torturing babies is recognized as objectively wrong beyond all opinion or norms.

Disagree completely.  This is nothing more than an emotional plea.  Your entire argument here is based off the fact that we have more powerful emotional ties to thoughts of torturing babies and the Holocaust than we do to other, more mundane things; and thus they differ from simple opinions.  Why do you think that even matters here?  It does not.  Strip away the emotional attachment you have to it, and the phrase "The color blue is the best color in the world" is an opinion in exactly the same way that "Killing babies is wrong" is an opinion.  BOTH of those statements give the impression of objectivity, when no such thing exists, nor is it required to exist in order to understand how it works in the real world.  I could also say, "I think the color blue is the best color in the world" and know that it is an opinion in exactly the same way as I can say "I think killing is wrong" and know that it is an opinion.  My emotional attachment to one over the other is the only distinguishing characteristic between the two.  And quite frankly, I don't why you think the universe gives a shit about yours or my feelings on the matter.

This a tough post to respond because it appears so obviously false and yet reflects the fact that we in North America have so little experience with true evil. I have a hard time believing that a Holocaust survivor would be able to type such words or that such words could be spoken to a Holocaust survivor without a twinge of how truly wrong we would be.

Instead of marching into Nazi Germany to save the Jews, this view suggests that a letter to the Jews stating our emotional regret over the differing opinions between Jews and Nazis would have been just as appropriate. Sorry to the Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals that you are being systemically exterminated but that is what the Nazis think is best and you simply happen to disagree with them. And since we are not morally obligated to do anything, we will not.

I’m not sure how else to respond to something that is so obviously wrong. Sorry if it comes across a bit harsh but I think it adequately illustrates the point: True, objective evil and immorality does exist, regardless of emotional ties. The Nazis opinion to murder Jews is not the same as my opinion toward chocolate ice cream. Certainly, moral issues often involve emotional connections, but this does not dismiss the objectivity of moral acts.



Since our sensory experiences happen at the individual level, and thus our moral experiences occur at the individual level, wouldn't that simply be more evidence that they are subjective?

No, because are sensory and moral experiences are not defining want actually is (subjective); rather, these experiences are discovering what actually (objective)



It should also be noted that neither the existence of the physical world nor moral values are completely provable since we cannot step outside own experiences to verify either’s existence. It makes no more sense to deny the existence of the physical world than it does to deny the existence of moral values.

I don't think you've done anything here that moves you closer to the idea that they are objective.  This would work equally whether they are objective or subjective. 

I am showing that if one is accepts that the physical world is objectively exists (as most do), then it is reasonable to accept that moral values objectively exist.



I don't actually know what your bottom line is here PhilosoB.  It seems like you are just trying to say that objective morals exist and that's that, and if we can't accept it, then the conversation is over. 

The point at issue is that if objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists. If this conclusion is true, than there are significant issues that arise.


Offline Add Homonym

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2274
  • Darwins +186/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • I can haz jeezusburger™
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2012, 12:32:28 AM »

This a tough post to respond because it appears so obviously false and yet reflects the fact that we in North America have so little experience with true evil. I have a hard time believing that a Holocaust survivor would be able to type such words or that such words could be spoken to a Holocaust survivor without a twinge of how truly wrong we would be.

Instead of marching into Nazi Germany to save the Jews, this view suggests that a letter to the Jews stating our emotional regret over the differing opinions between Jews and Nazis would have been just as appropriate. Sorry to the Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals that you are being systemically exterminated but that is what the Nazis think is best and you simply happen to disagree with them. And since we are not morally obligated to do anything, we will not.

I’m not sure how else to respond to something that is so obviously wrong. Sorry if it comes across a bit harsh but I think it adequately illustrates the point: True, objective evil and immorality does exist, regardless of emotional ties. The Nazis opinion to murder Jews is not the same as my opinion toward chocolate ice cream. Certainly, moral issues often involve emotional connections, but this does not dismiss the objectivity of moral acts.


It's not obviously false. The problem is that you are confusing your opinion with morality. We all (now)(mostly) have an opinion that killing Jews and Gays is bad. That is the rule that we wish to now live by, until we change our minds. However, it is not morality.
I strive for clarity, but aim for confusion.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5963
  • Darwins +644/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Entropy isn’t what it used to be
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2012, 01:18:48 AM »
Okay, I have to get in on this again. If objective morality is real, how can so many disregard it. Either individually or at the same time? If your god has built this truth into us, how can hundreds of thousands of Germans participate in the Holocaust? How can the Mongol Hordes (certainly not christian but still human and presumably just as infected with objective morality if it exists) ride across Asia and kill nearly 40 million people?

An objective morality that is that defective seems lacking. Or nonexistent.

The Germans ordering the deaths of so many Jews, gypsies and gays did not consider their actions immoral. Most of the rest of us did. We whites paid bounties on the bodies of dead American Indians in California into the early 20th century. Most of us now are horrified that such things happened, but that doesn't change the truth. Young black men were being hung in the American south when I was a kid in the 50's. Again, someone somewhere had to consider that morally acceptable or they wouldn't have done it. Does this God of yours provide objective immorality too? If he exists, he must, because otherwise it would never occur to humans that have objective morality built in to do immoral things. Especially on that scale.

If every human fits into some scale (say 1 to 10) of morality, and we average out what that number is for all of humanity, I would guess it would come out somewhere around 7 or 8. That becomes the subjective morality that makes sense to me. But the reason the number isn't closer to 10 is that there are a bunch of folks down around 2 and 3 that will do anything to anyone at any time. The average of 7 or 8 is fairly acceptable. That number makes us look fairly civilized. But those that top out at 2 or 3 look pretty awful. Like the Nazis.

It all makes sense to me when I only include humans in the equation. When I try to toss in a wonderful God like character, nothing makes sense any more. Because our behavior should, if built in by a deity, on average be better than this. And seldom if ever demonstrate the inhumanity that leads to mass slaughter.
Never trust an atom. They make up everything!

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2012, 01:34:26 AM »
If the moral statement “do not steal” exists abstractly, there is nothing to make anyone obligated or accountable to it beyond what humans may subjectively decide.

This is where your straw man starts.

Murder has an accountability factor, because if you go around murdering everyone you see, then there is nobody left. By a process of evolution, murder is limited.

I fail to see how this is a form of accountability. All this seems to demonstrate is that murder is limited to the amount of people on earth. Accountability means being answerable for one’s actions. The existence of some limit does not constitute accountability in any regard.


Theft is a different issue. This is why you pick it as a straw man. It appears like solid moral, but it's not. There are many moral frameworks where theft could be deemed fine. Animals have a personal distaste for things being stolen from them, but this does not mean that you can pretend this distaste amounts morality. Christian ethos wants people to dispose of their assets, and Buddhists say you should detach. Governments steal taxes from us, "for out own good", and Robin hood was a good guy, because he stole from others who gained assets by exploitation. Communism, spoken of in Acts 4, decries assets, and encourages sharing, on pain of death. There is no magical way to figure out whether theft is good or bad, but you do know that under our current capitalist system, asset theft from another hurts them. But why is hurting them immoral? Pain causes growth, and asset divestment is a part of religion.

Besides misconstruing biblical passages, this simply demonstrates the difficulty on defining moral values, which is a topic of moral epistemology, as I defined earlier. I am arguing about moral ontology, the existence of moral values. Difficulty in defining moral epistemology does not come to bear on plausibility of an objective moral ontology.


The reason why theft is defined as bad, is that we perceive evolution, and think that to thieve creates an unfair advantage or disadvantage to an organism's success. We want 'justice', so that organisms have a 'fair' chance to reproduce, and pass on their productive genes. In other words, we perceive fairness to be part of our purpose. Without it, we lose faith in what we are doing. We need a rationale for whether theft is good or bad. Other animals accept theft as part of the genetic competition process.

What do you mean by “perceive evolution”? I’m not completely sure what you’re arguing here. Are you trying to show that humans are try to give rationalization to an act that other animals simply “accept” as genetics at work?


Objective morality exists only when it causes a severe disadvantage to a species. Otherwise, everything is "relative". That's why religion cannot decide how many wives a man should have; how many slaves he can have; whether he should get divorced; whether he should flog his children; whether he should stone gays; whether he should work on the sabbath; whether euthanasia and abortion is bad.

Stating “objective morality exists only when it causes a severe disadvantage to a species” appears arbitrarily. Do you have an argument for this. Since everything is relative, does this mean you’re ok if religious people stoned gays or flogged children as it would be relative to their faith?


All that is left is for theists to create emotional straw men, and challenge you to say something is absolutely immoral - usually involving children.


Another thing to think about, is that there is no way to conceive of a world without morality, because morality extends down to atomic rules. You might think that an immoral man might get up, eat his children, have sex with the dog, rape his neighbour, and then defecate in the street. However, is that a lack of morality? There is actually no way to conceive of how bad you can possibly behave. What's the worst you can behave? Get up one morning and torture the universe? Kill yourself?

The reason that we cannot behave in a totally immoral manner, is because it is impossible. The laws of the universe push me to behave in a certain way, which approximate sanity. However, once we have a achieved a measure of sanity, everything else is relative.

So basically anything goes?

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2012, 02:11:04 AM »
Okay, I have to get in on this again. If objective morality is real, how can so many disregard it. Either individually or at the same time? If your god has built this truth into us, how can hundreds of thousands of Germans participate in the Holocaust? How can the Mongol Hordes (certainly not christian but still human and presumably just as infected with objective morality if it exists) ride across Asia and kill nearly 40 million people?

An objective morality that is that defective seems lacking. Or nonexistent.

The Germans ordering the deaths of so many Jews, gypsies and gays did not consider their actions immoral. Most of the rest of us did.

So who was right? Or is this just a case of differing moral opinions? On what standard are you able to make you decision?


We whites paid bounties on the bodies of dead American Indians in California into the early 20th century. Most of us now are horrified that such things happened, but that doesn't change the truth. Young black men were being hung in the American south when I was a kid in the 50's. Again, someone somewhere had to consider that morally acceptable or they wouldn't have done it.

If they thought it was morally acceptable, on what grounds are you going to disagree?



Does this God of yours provide objective immorality too? If he exists, he must, because otherwise it would never occur to humans that have objective morality built in to do immoral things. Especially on that scale.

I agree that such atrocities were immoral (and not in a disagreeing opinions, sort of way). The fact remains that these evils came to an end because someone thought what was happening was wrong and did something about it. Evil persisted for a while but good prevailed. It is because objective morality exists that we can say we have progressed from immorality acts to more moral behaviour. If morality is relative, then the morality the accepted lynching was simply a different than present day morality; our morality is not better or worse that the 50’s lynching morality, just different.


If every human fits into some scale (say 1 to 10) of morality, and we average out what that number is for all of humanity, I would guess it would come out somewhere around 7 or 8. That becomes the subjective morality that makes sense to me. But the reason the number isn't closer to 10 is that there are a bunch of folks down around 2 and 3 that will do anything to anyone at any time. The average of 7 or 8 is fairly acceptable. That number makes us look fairly civilized. But those that top out at 2 or 3 look pretty awful. Like the Nazis.

Which scale are you using to define the degrees of morality? Do Nazis get scored 2 because you disagreed with their opinions and actions? Or is it that their acts were just plain wrong and vile?


It all makes sense to me when I only include humans in the equation. When I try to toss in a wonderful God like character, nothing makes sense any more. Because our behavior should, if built in by a deity, on average be better than this. And seldom if ever demonstrate the inhumanity that leads to mass slaughter.

There is no necessary connection between being created by God and how humans actually behave. What does correlate between these two ideas is that humans ought to know how to behave and yet we behave otherwise. On a strictly naturalistic framework, there is no specified behaviour humans ought to follow. Any natural description of human behaviour attempts to presents how humans actually behave without comment on if such behaviour is moral or immoral.

Offline Anfauglir

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5965
  • Darwins +371/-4
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2012, 04:48:16 AM »
Objective moral values exist.

Coming a little late to the party....hi PhilosoB, welcome to the forum!  I've got a couple questions which I don't think you've covered thus far....

What makes an objective moral value "objective"? 

What makes a particular value a "moral" one?


Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2012, 05:53:39 AM »
..emotion or clan (societal) standards do not provide a basis for objective morals, assuming animals even have a moral capacity, for society and emotion are subjective to its members.
Really? OK. Can you name any objective moral that does not stem from emotion or clan (societal) standards? Why argue for something that doesn't exist?

The fact that humans perceive moral values and duties is a significant defining factor between humans and animals. If we erase this distinction and group humans as simply another animal, then we must also erase the idea that murder (among many others) is an objectivity immoral act.
Bullshit! Scientists do no such thing. No-one but a puffed up theist would espouse such a thing.

Murder is not an objectively immoral act because one can easily come up with scenarios where it  does not cross social mores.

Murdering a man who is dying a painful lingering death.
Murdering a man who is about to kill your family.
Murdering a man who has a terrible contagious disease that could kill many.
Murdering a man who cannot kill himself because of disabilities.
Murdering a man who is hated by a large section of society, (Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden.

You touch on an important distinction here that applies to other posts in this thread. I am arguing for the existence of objective moral values. In philosophical terms, I am referring to moral ontology, the reality of moral values. My purpose is show that moral values do objectively exist.

What I am NOT trying to demonstrate at this point is what those moral values may be. This is moral epistemology. I am not trying to sidestep any objections but make an important distinction. It is possible to accept that moral values exist objectively even if we don’t know what all those values may be. We can agree that murder is objectively immoral and then converse on what actually qualifies as murder. However, it becomes more difficult to have such a discussion about specific moral values if we cannot first agree that moral values due, in fact, exist.
You gave the example of murder as an objective moral - I shot it down - You claim you don't want to actually give any examples of objective morals.
It sounds as if you are really just wanting to bullshit us because you know there isn't any meat to your argument. You posit that the proof of god is the existence for objective morals, yet can't provide any real evidence of them any more than you can for your imaginary god. Are you here just to improve your typing skills or do you really have connection with a real god? Tell us about your evidence for a real god. I'm sure that you weren't just sitting around one day and thought about objective morals and suddenly became a christian. If it wasn't the evidence you used, why try to BS us with it?
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Anfauglir

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5965
  • Darwins +371/-4
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2012, 06:21:47 AM »
What I am NOT trying to demonstrate at this point is what those moral values may be.[/color] This is moral epistemology. I am not trying to sidestep any objections but make an important distinction. It is possible to accept that moral values exist objectively even if we don’t know what all those values may be. We can agree that murder is objectively immoral and then converse on what actually qualifies as murder. However, it becomes more difficult to have such a discussion about specific moral values if we cannot first agree that moral values due, in fact, exist.

To add to what Brakeman has said.

Nobody here will disagree that moral values exist.  What we will disagree with is that objective moral values exist.

I find it hard to understand how it is possible to agree that objective values exist, but be unable to name them?  Sure - we could agree a definition of what an objective moral value might be,  but that does not necessarily mean that an item in that category exists.  For example, we could agree on the objective criteria for "beauty", but may not be able to find an example that meets the criteria we set.

I also doubt that anyone will expect you to provide a definitive and exhaustive lists of ALL objective morals!  (Though I think the list might be rather shorter than you might hope).  But just one, single example of an objective moral, along with the definition of "objective moral", would be a starting point - as you say, we can then proceed to discuss it.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline gonegolfing

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1224
  • Darwins +23/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • God ?...Don't even get me started !
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2012, 09:49:30 AM »

There is no necessary connection between being created by God and how humans actually behave. What does correlate between these two ideas is that humans ought to know how to behave and yet we behave otherwise. On a strictly naturalistic framework, there is no specified behaviour humans ought to follow. Any natural description of human behaviour attempts to presents how humans actually behave without comment on if such behaviour is moral or immoral.

PB, I would go back and reread all of your posts and try to get back on track with your original thoughts.

It's evident to me that you're well on your way now to refuting your own argument and it is confirmed by the statement above. You've reduced god to an idea--which is correct--but it doesn't bode well for your particular argument.

You're also being intellectually dishonest with yourself and arrogant in assuming that a naturalistic framework automatically makes humans live a haphazard existence. You fool yourself as well by stating that a natural description of actual behaviour should at the same time comment on if the behaviour is right or wrong............. Human morality is constructed by the ethical concerns of conscience minds and its judgements of right and wrong behaviours and do so keeping the best interests of themselves and society in mind. The accumulation of similar subjective judgements produce ubiquitous morals.

Your confused in your definition of terms and therefore your argument is sure to fail based on that fact alone. On top of that, your slowly but surely moving your goalposts ever so little with each post to accommodate each refutation that is presented to you to try and keep your thesis alive.

You PhilosoB have no morality. This is objectively true throughout the population that possess the god idea because when one gives their minds over to it they no longer have a moral sense of their own and are simply doing what the idea states that they should. To do what an invisible sham authority tells you to do proves that you not only do not have a mind of your own, but you lack your own sense of morality and the motivation to help construct it according to your own personal and societal needs.

The fact that the christian god, Jewish god, and muslim god has deemed homosexuality immoral and punishable by death must surely put you on the spot ? If you disagree with and speak out against this divine moral fiat then you blaspheme your god and that of course is an immoral action on your part and punishable by death and torturous death eternal as well.

Your trapped when using this line of thinking and argumentation. You become a prisoner in an abyss of primitive nonsense and vile delusion which is rigid and unchangeable. If you would allow yourself to better understand normative ethics and inherent character then you would be able to separate yourself from this mistake that you are making.

If one reads carefully what you are saying they'll see that what you are actually saying--and you may not actually see it yourself-- is that morality isn't just from god, but morality is god. Therefore without the spirit of god in a life--which brings all ethical truths into ones life--one is without the resulting morals then that goes along with the spirit being present.

This is of course obviously wrong and would be arrogant on your part to claim such a thing.   
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline Alzael

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3577
  • Darwins +112/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2012, 10:06:15 AM »
First, I don’t think most people have an issue with assuming objective moral values exist.

You think wrong. Aside from the idea being patently ridiculous I have a huge problem with it, because it means that something else is dictating what my own views should be to me. I have a big problem with something else forcing me to think in a certain way. Especially when that something is clearly acting in it's own interests that are unknown to me. I'm not a big fan or tyranny.

Acts like the Holocaust or torturing babies is recognized as objectively wrong beyond all opinion or norms.

No they aren't. Otherwise they would have been recognized as wrong by the people that did them. If morals were objective then everybody everywhere would agree they were wrong. They might still violate the morals, but they would know that what they were doing was wrong. The Nazis were convinced that what they were doing was the right thing. Just as other similiar groups have done throughout history. The problem is that they believed they had god on their side too. That's the thing with people who believe in objective morals, there's no room left for changing them if it turns out they don't work. If you believe that your morals are absolute then there's little to stop you going to extreme lengths in their name. Do I need to point out the entire very long and bloody history of your own faith to show you that?

Secondly, and closely related, moral values are perceived just as the physical world is. Just as through sensory experience we perceive the existence of the physical world, our moral experience allows us to perceive the existence of moral values. It should also be noted that neither the existence of the physical world nor moral values are completely provable since we cannot step outside own experiences to verify either’s existence. It makes no more sense to deny the existence of the physical world than it does to deny the existence of moral values.

However we perceive the physical world through our own subjective experiences. That's why we invented science and logic, to help remove the limitations of our subjective senses and enable us to gain objective information that doesn't change with the person looking at it. Your argument supports subjectivity, not objectivty. As denying morals, that's a Strawman. No one has denied morals. It's your unfounded and unrealistic claim of objectivity that is being denied.

I have not made the assumption that objective moral values come from God. Having ruled out other viable options, I concluded that God is remains a plausible foundation.

No, you have not ruled out any other viable options. Which is what I pointed out to you. Or rather you have, but you have done so arbitrarily and without providing a valid reason. Following your logic again, you ruled out everything but a supernatural cause. That does not necessarily equate to god. Simply a supernatural cause. You simply decided that it for some reason must be a god if it is supernatural.

I have simply argued that moral values are most plausibly found in a supernatural being commonly referred to as God.

An argument which you still have not actually managed to support. So far your argument is nothing but assertions built upon arbitrarily ruling out all other possible options and declaring god to be the most likely.


I have not intentionally tried to exclude other possible source of moral values. As for your two possible candidates, moral values that simply just exist is how I would define existing abstractly, beyond physical or material world. This I have ruled it out as it does not provide the obligating factor necessary to compel moral duties.

Which has nothing to do with whether they exist, or whether they are objective. Again, as I said you are ruling things out for no reason, or more precisely the wrong reason. This is my point, your argument does not care about reality, it is based on what you want reality to be. You want there to be an obligating factor, so you rule out abstract morals because there is no such thing if they exist. However that does not mean that they don't exist as an abstract. Just that you don't like what they mean. This is why your argument cannot support itself. Because it's based not on what it, but on what you want.


As for constants in nature, if you are able to discover a moral framework from natural laws, I would like to hear it.

Evolution. Morals have evolved as survival mechanism for the betterment of a species. A species that works well together and helps one another has better survival chances than a species where everyone kills one another. This is a very simplified version of the concept of course, since it isn't really the point here. If you want more elaboration your can just google evolution of morality. But these form the basis of our modern morality.

By definition, God is a perfect being, therefore any changes would mean he was not perfect to begin with.

Agreed, but it dodges the point. God has changed over time, repeatedly.

Ancient civilizations thought that child sacrifices were a good thing. So long as such actions are acceptable to a given society, this makes child sacrifice ok? I think this conclusion goes against the moral perception of most people.

It does now. However it didn't then. If order for your position to work it would have had to be equally wrong to them as well. But it wasn't. It was right to them because they decided that it was right. It was what their god (who they also believed gave them an objective set of morals) told them to do. In our modern day we believe different so we don't view it as a good thing to do. It works rather simply that way, doesn't it?

I’m not sure what argument you are using to back up this claim. I fail to see how objectivity implies universal consensus. The world is objectively round yet that has not always been the consensus.

That's because people did not always have the information to know that it was round. However that we have the information no one can dispute it, unless they willfully choose to ignore such a thing. Morals should be the same way if you are correct. If morals are objective then everyone should be able to look at them and immediately see that they're right when shown the evidence. Some still may choose to break the morals. But the fact that they are right and the evidence for them should be self-evident. This is not what happens however.

I believe I am using the common definition of objective. Something that is objective is exists independently of human opinion or perception. Therefore, objective moral values exist independently of human thought or perception. If moral values and duties originate in the nature of God, then they exist outside of human thought and are consequently objective.

No, you're not. Objective is not independant of human thought or perception. It is independant of conscious thought or perception. All conscious thought, invluding gods. That's why I told you before that your argument is redefining the word. If morality comes from god it cannot be objective. It is entirely subjective because the morals are dependant on what god wanted them to be. Also in order for morals to be objective it would mean that god is subject to them as well. So when god tells people to kill, that is just as evil for him as when humans do it. You can't get around the horrible things god does by claiming that he had some better purpose or that he had the right to do it as a god (which you have not said, of course, but is the common Christian claim).

Your moral view simply replaces deciding on your own sense of right and wrong, with accepting what someone else (in this case god) tells you is right and wrong. This is the flaw with religious morals, they aren't really morals. Theists aren't moral people in a truly meaningful sense. They're obedient. The theistic worldview is not one where you create your own values based on your own opinions, experiences in life, and personal values. It's one where you're handed down a set of prescribed behaviours from on high and patted on the head when you do as you're told and taken over the knee and spanked when you do bad.

Unless the god that you are suggesting is incapable of consious thought, then his morals cannot be objective.

To answer briefly, once again, God, by definition, is perfect in nature, therefore, any commands from God would also be perfect, particularly within the context of when the commands where given. It seems reasonable that if we know moral values come from God, that those commands should be preferable to those from man.

This assumes that the perfect commands are in our best interest. As I said, we don't know why god does what he does. There is no guarantee that what he wants is what's best for us. Also, if god were perfect then he would communicate to us in a perfect way. So we go back to the previously mentioned flaws of there being different morals for different people at different time periods.

Most importantly however, this assumes that humans want perfection handed to them. Or want perfection at all. I certainly don't. What would be the point in perfection if I just get it given to me. It's much more interesting to work to improve things.

The problem is that theists are essentially lazy. They don't want to have to think about morals, they don't want to have to answer the big questions like where we come from, they want all of reality in a nice,easily digestible package that they can use to fit into every aspect of their life when they need it. Which is fine to an extent, many people have other things to do that are important such as raising their kids. However being too lazy to think about these things or find out answers on your own is not an excuse to just sit around make things up. Reality is harsh, it is dirty and complicated and involves a lot of serious work to understand it.
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline velkyn

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 15420
  • Darwins +169/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • You're wearing the juice, aren't you?"
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2012, 11:12:26 AM »
my take:

Also, to clarify my position, I will be arguing for the gods of the lower and upper kingdoms of Egypt.

To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then the gods of my pantheon exists.
2. Objective moral values exist.
3. Therefore, the gods of my pantheon exist.

no christian god needed. Are Ra, and Sekhmet real?  Is Ma'at real? 

and another take on it.

1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.
2. Objective moral values exist, and slavery (genocide, etc) is a wonderful thing not to be resisted at all per my bible.
3. Therefore, my god exists and objective morality includes allowing slavery (genocide, etc).
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

http://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/

Offline Seppuku

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3849
  • Darwins +124/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • I am gay for Fred Phelps
    • Seppuku Arts
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2012, 11:37:13 AM »
Velkyn illustrates an excellent point. Which god(s) exist? Don't all have a system of objective morality? Other gods could well have decided what the objective morality of the world is.

But the main flaw with this moral argument is: it presupposes that the object morality of the bible is genuinely objective. It is absolutist, granted, but in order to measure its 'objectivity' it needs to be measured up against God. In a way, we're looking at circularly logic.

For the bible's morality to be object it has to come from God -> We have objective morality in the bible therefore there must be a God.

I'd say this is very similar to the ontological argument for God. God is the idea of the ultimate perfect thing in existence, but if we can think of a perfect being then it must exist because it wouldn't be perfect. Therefore God exist. Or to represent in the above fashion:

For us to conjure up the perfect being this perfect being must exist -> we think of the perfect being, therefore it must exist.

You can't make a statement that presupposes something else is true to be true.

The issue is, the bible's morality could well have just been decided by man and no deity what-so-ever, just like ALL of the other deities dreamt of. Man has had many ideas about absolutist morality? Who can say the bible does not contain man's morality and not Gods? Many moral systems exist without the need for God.
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline Zankuu

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2030
  • Darwins +121/-0
  • Gender: Male
    • I am a Forum Guide
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2012, 11:41:38 AM »
Am I mistaken thinking that PhilosoB is incorrectly saying objective morality when he's arguing for an absolute morality?
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

Offline Alzael

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3577
  • Darwins +112/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2012, 11:46:56 AM »
Am I mistaken thinking that PhilosoB is incorrectly saying objective morality when he's arguing for an absolute morality?

No, you're not mistaken. I've pointed it out to him several times now. He's redefined what objective means. But since he stated what his new definition is we're kind of letting it slide and running with it.

It's the typical Christian thing. They alway claim gods morals are objective because they can't justify their worldview any other way.  However since their morals can't be objective they have to change what the word means or resort to huge swathes of word-twisting.
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline Timo

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1178
  • Darwins +82/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • oyeme
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2012, 01:31:56 PM »
Okay so....

By obligation, I mean that we have a moral duty to act according to objective moral values and to do otherwise is morally wrong. If the moral statement “do not steal” exists abstractly, there is nothing to make anyone obligated or accountable to it beyond what humans may subjectively decide. Contrary to this, moral values that originate in the nature of God also come with the moral responsibility and accountability to God. God provides the appropriate authority to provide accountability for moral values and duties.

Relatedly, this is not “might makes right” in the sense of God’s moral commands being arbitrary. As I am sure many know already, the common understanding is that God’s moral commands emanate from his nature which is, by definition, perfect in love, mercy, justice, etc. Rather, from another perspective, it is through God’s might that he is able to provide ultimate justice regarding moral evils.

I'm not saying that you think that God's moral commands are arbitrary.  In this thread, I've already related the fact that most people who run this argument claim that God's moral commands come from his nature, which itself seems to me to be more about the Euthyphro dilemma than saying something about God that is Biblical....but that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, it just seems to me that you're arguing that what makes them true, more true than they perhaps would otherwise be, is that they carry with them punishments and rewards.  I really don't see another way to read this business about "obligations" or "ultimate justice."  But maybe I'm not reading this correctly.  So hopefully you can clarify this point:

Would it be right to say that we have an obligation to act morally or that we are accountible to God even if God didn't provide that "ultimate justice"?  In other words, if there is no heaven or no hell, no anihilation of the eternal soul, or whatever variation you happen to believe happens to our soul when our bodies die, would it still make sense to say that we have an obligation to act morally?

Also, with respect to that business about God's being perfect in love, mercy, etc, this is something that I hear all the time from apologists.  But I think it's the sort of thing that can really only make sense coming from a theist who is otherwise uncommitted to one of the monotheistic religions.  I specifically don't find this to be a tenable position for an adherent to any of the Abrahamic faiths to take if they also take Biblical history or law seriously.  For example, you wrote in your response to Alzael:

Denying the existence of objective moral values requires a lot of courage. By denying such existence, you are implicitly stating that murder or rape or child abuse are not objectively immoral or evil acts. Such behaviour may not be something you would do but someone else may think otherwise, which would make these acts acceptable to them. If you deny objective moral values, subjectivity is the only recourse.

The problem, of course, is that in the Hebrew Bible there are instances where God asks His people to kill children (and in some cases, their rape is implied.  See: Numbers 31.)  Now, I know that there are people that will argue that this really doesn't constitute "murder" since it was God that ordered the killing of those children and that, given that we are something like God's play-things, God can kill or otherwise harm us as he sees fit....or that because the command to kill came from God it is just and therefore not murder....or something.  But for me, I always get the sense that apologists use extreme examples like child rape or the Holocaust to somehow shame people who don't believe in objective moral facts.  In fact, you did that.  You wrote this in response to a post arguing for an entirely subjective morality:

This a tough post to respond because it appears so obviously false and yet reflects the fact that we in North America have so little experience with true evil. I have a hard time believing that a Holocaust survivor would be able to type such words or that such words could be spoken to a Holocaust survivor without a twinge of how truly wrong we would be.

This is problematic for all sorts of reasons.  The first is obviously, you don't know Jeff.  You don't know his background.  For all you know, his family came from a place like Rwanda, the Sudan or Bosnia.  Perhaps he knows a little something about genocide first hand.  Perhaps his views on the subjective nature of morality are informed by these sorts of experiences.  You have no way of knowing from his post.

Perhaps the larger problem is that you're not making an argument.  Rather, you're insisting that Jeff, who you assume is a pampered and privilaged Westerner would agree with you about objective moral facts if only he weren't so ignorant about the lived experience of people who have had to endure the real evil of genocide.  What makes this sort of thing almost infuriating to me is that all the while, you are affirming the moral perfection of a god that is depicted as having ordered the genocide of the Caananites in your Bible.  If genocide is wrong, if the Holocaust was wrong, then surely the genocide of the Caananites would have to be considered wrong.[1]

So nah, if we take the Bible seriously, it doesn't make much sense to say that God's nature is "perfect in love, mercy, justice, etc."

On a side note, I think that your claim that we in North America haven't seen our share of evil just betrays a complete lack of perspective on your part.  Here in the US, we maintained an apartheid state for the better part of the twentieth century in which Blacks were subject to formal and informal discrimination in both public and private life as well as subjected to unprovoked but not infrequent violence and humiliation.  We were routinely tortured, mutilated and strung up.  Our assailants, along with their friends and families, would pose for pictures with our burnt and mangled corpses.  It happened here.  And there are people around today that can tell you about it, people like my grandmother.  Even today, we maintain a system of mass incarceration in which even non-violent offenders can expect to be subjected to beatings, to stabbings and sexual assault, which itself might result in the transmition of an STI.  We maintain a regime of drug prohibition that has turned some of our most vulnerable communities into retail space for an illegal drug market and all of the violence that surrounds it.  That's happening today.  And I can tell you about it.  And below our southern border, the drug trade has turned into an all out war with casualties in the tens of thousands.  Drug cartels leave the heads of their victims in public places as a warning.  Also, fun fact.  Did you know that marital rape wasn't even considered a crime in all fifty states until 1993?

If we're going to call things evil, aren't these the things that should count?  And given that these things have happened in North America and that some of us have had experience with these things, don't you think that your retort was a little ridiculous?  I do.  You should apologize.


Peace
 1. Were it to have actually taken place.  The archeological evidence seems to favor the position of the minimalists.
pero ya tu sabes...

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 978
  • Darwins +16/-69
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2012, 01:55:32 PM »
I'm sorry, Jstwebbrowsing, but my 7 year old is smart enough to know that the whole Adam and Eve, garden of Eden thing never really happened.  Nobody really thinks it happened anymore, do they?  I mean seriously?  Come on.  Nobody believes in that now.

Am I missing something here? The way you express this is out of character. Was this a continuance of some separate discussion perhaps?

Yes I have referred, in passing, about this before.  Mainly, I just found it slightly humorous and greatly mind boggling that this same argument has existed for thousands of years.

The other part "though shalt surely die" is also still debated by theists to this day.  Most I find, at least those of christendom, don't beleive they ever really will die even if not dieing means living in a place of fiery torment.

But I also wanted to draw attention to this argument and cement it in people's minds that this argument really does exist even in this day because I am sure to bring it up again in the future.

But I don't want to derail this thread.  If someone wants to continue with me then please create a seperate thread and we can discuss it.  I'd rather not at this point but since I already stuck my foot in my mouth I will if I have to.




"I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird thee, though thou hast not known me"  (Isaiah 45:5)

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2012, 04:32:12 PM »
So if the claim that objective morals indicate god, I should be able to see the converse of this.

If I take an objective moral of the supposed god, say Hardening of the Pharaoh's heart or, perhaps clearer, the smiting of the righteous, man of god, Uzzah, for trying to save the Ark of the covenant from smashing on rocks, and see that this is not a true moral held by any sane person, then I can deduce that god is not real since his objective morals are not real.
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1982
  • Darwins +183/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2012, 05:08:51 PM »
This a tough post to respond because it appears so obviously false and yet reflects the fact that we in North America have so little experience with true evil. I have a hard time believing that a Holocaust survivor would be able to type such words or that such words could be spoken to a Holocaust survivor without a twinge of how truly wrong we would be.

You are still letting your emotions guide you here PhilosoB.  You just proved my point.  My statement is true. You just can't take your feelings out of it while I can.  Take them out and it's still an opinion.   That the holocaust was awful is not in dispute by me.  Subjectively, I think it was horrible.  Awful.  Terrible. 

Point of fact, however...  If your God exists, then He allowed it to happen.  So no matter how angry we all are about it, He must have wanted it to happen else He would have stopped it.

Instead of marching into Nazi Germany to save the Jews, this view suggests that a letter to the Jews stating our emotional regret over the differing opinions between Jews and Nazis would have been just as appropriate.

No it doesn't.  I never said I thought it was a good thing.  In fact, I believe it was one of the worst tragedies in modern history.  That's my opinion and it's a strong one.  That has nothing to do with whether or not it was backed up by a higher power.  I don't need to point to a higher power in order to claim the holocaust was awful any more than I need to point to a higher power to state that green is a great color.  Again, the only difference is your emotional attachment to that opinion. 

Sorry to the Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals that you are being systemically exterminated but that is what the Nazis think is best and you simply happen to disagree with them. And since we are not morally obligated to do anything, we will not.

I hate what the Nazi's did just as much as you did.  Why do you belittle that fact?  I wish you would stop.  It has no bearing on the discussion.  We aren't trying to see who has a bigger pity penis, we are trying to figure out whether our morals are backed up objectively.  You are conflating the two and it's just pissing me off.
 
Interesting phrase there... "morally obligated".  What does it mean to you? 

I’m not sure how else to respond to something that is so obviously wrong.

The way you responded was fine, if not predictable.  Unfortunately for you, you are completely wrong. 

Sorry if it comes across a bit harsh but I think it adequately illustrates the point: True, objective evil and immorality does exist, regardless of emotional ties.

Don't apologize for stating your opinions.  You did not illustrate your point at all.  You just keep stating your point.  There is a difference.  An illustration would be showing evidence of the objectiveness of morality.  You haven't really done that.  Something like... "Everyone shares exactly the same moral opinion about X" would be a good start.  Or "God has shown that X is always morally wrong no matter what, and here is my evidence for it..." would also work.  The fact that you haven't presented anything like that is not my problem, its yours.   Present something with some umph behind it or come to grips with the fact that you are just floundering here. 

Let me ask you something.   Did Hitler think he was doing evil?  Did Stalin?  Did any of the crusaders who butchered people by the thousands?  No.  They did not.  People act based on what they think and feel is right.  You are the same.  So am I.  Hitler thought the Jews were an abomination and deserved to die. That was his personal OPINION.  Regardless of how strongly or weakly we 'feel' about it, neither you nor I share that opinion.  That is a fact. 

The Nazis opinion to murder Jews is not the same as my opinion toward chocolate ice cream.

Tell me what you believe to be the difference then. You just described both as opinions and you were right to do so.  I have stated that the only difference here is the fact that you (as well as I) are more emotionally attached to our opinion on the former.  That does NOT change the fact that they are our individual opinions. 

Can you not say the following?   "Killing Jews is wrong"  and "Chocolate ice cream is the best".  Both statements hint at objectivity, do they not?  Is objectivity REQUIRE for either of them?  No.

Can you ALSO not say the following?   "I think killing Jews is wrong", and "I think chocolate ice cream is the best".  Both statements are subjective, are they not? 

Certainly, moral issues often involve emotional connections, but this does not dismiss the objectivity of moral acts.

Often?  Show me a moral issue that is not tied to emotions or beliefs in some way before you say this.  Otherwise 'often' should be replaced with 'always'. 
If the only thing that distinguishes moral opinions from non-moral opinions is our emotional attachment to them, then to me, that is a slam dunk argument against objective morals.  And that's really how it is. 

I am showing that if one is accepts that the physical world is objectively exists (as most do), then it is reasonable to accept that moral values objectively exist.

How do you get from accepting the physical world exists to accepting moral values objectively exist?  What path does your brain take to get there, because I do not see how one follows from the other. 

The point at issue is that if objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists. If this conclusion is true, than there are significant issues that arise.

But you can't automatically get to "my God exists" from "objective moral values" exist.  All your work is still ahead of you.  If objective moral values exist, they could come from any version of god you want. 

They don't exist, however.  Neither God nor objective moral values exist. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2012, 05:49:59 PM »
(With the amount of responses, I wrote this post to address the objections I thought were most prevalent.)


It seems more clarity on the issue of objectivity is necessary. I may have misstated or failed to express clearly why moral values are objective.

To clear up a possible misstatement, I am not arguing that morality is objective because they are based on God’s nature. This would imply a priori that God exists. Rather, I am attempting to show that the existence of objective morality necessitates the existence of God.

When I say moral values are objective it means that moral statements contain truth values that are independent of human beliefs or thoughts and that correspond to reality, the same as a statement about the physical world corresponds to reality independent of human belief.  “The apple is red” and “Murder is wrong” are both statements that correspond to reality and are true independent of human thought and perception. Additionally, when we use such statements, we are saying that the subject contains a particular property, such that the apple has the property of redness and the act of murder contains the property of “wrong-ness”. If the act of murder contains the property of “wrongness”, it cannot also contain the property of “right-ness”; therefore, any act defined as murder would be wrong, in itself.

This should also address the objection regarding objectivity requiring a lack of all conscious beliefs, not simply human beliefs. Moral values and duties are independent of even God’s beliefs since they are rooted in his unchanging nature. Even if it was possible for God to have beliefs or commands that differed from his perfect nature, those beliefs would morally subject to God’s perfect nature (but this is, of course, a hypothetical absurdity and not viable in any possible world scenario. God will always act perfectly in every possible world.)

All this discussion on definition, though necessary, is distracting from the practical implications of objective morality or lack thereof. If objective morality exists, acts can be classified as truly moral or immoral, good or evil regardless of public consensus or personal opinions. If one person says “Killing babies for personal enjoyment is evil” and another, contradictorily, believes “Killing babies for personal enjoyment is good”, an objective morality allows us to state that one of these individuals is objectively wrong. We can say that in no situation or society or era or personal regard that killing babies for personal enjoyment is a good or moral act.

Alternatively, while most of the discussion has rightly revolved around objectivity, it is necessary to address the case for subjective morality. If morality is subjective, there is no foundation for determining when an act is truly moral or immoral, good or evil. If someone thinks killing babies for enjoyment is good and another holds the contradictory position, by what standard are we to decide who is right? Further, how do we know that the standard we would decide to use is, in fact, the correct standard?

A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner? Was a true, objective evil committed with the genocide of the Canaanites or are you subjectively disagreeing with genocide?

Timo mentions that I have overlooked much the great suffering and evils that have occurred in North America specifically the ongoing drug war and the atrocities committed against Blacks to which he has personal connections to. But on what grounds are we saying that such acts were truly evil and not just differing opinions or societies? Timo, on which moral foundation are you appealing to when you say I should (or ought) to apologize for my supposed sleight?

Before anyone or any action can be defined as truly moral or immoral, good or evil, an objective morality must be assumed. Before we say God has committed truly evil acts, we must posit the existence of an objective moral standard to measure him against. Otherwise, it’s one opinion against other, one society’s rules versus another society, one culture opposed to another culture. Good and evil become nothing more than shifting sands. If you are not willing to accept objective morals, then criticism of immorality toward God or any act fall into the category of subjective opinion. Either objective morals exist therefore you can begin to reason God is truly immoral, or objective morals don't exist and you simply disagree with what God has done. It cannot be held that moral are subjective and that God is truly immoral. Nor does a supposedly evil God exclude the existence of objective morality.

(As some have commented, extreme moral or immoral cases are used in these kinds of discussion because they present the most clear cut examples. If agreement cannot be reach on whether the Holocaust was truly objectively evil or not, there is no point in discussing less clear situations.)

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #56 on: April 30, 2012, 06:24:06 PM »
Instead of marching into Nazi Germany to save the Jews, this view suggests that a letter to the Jews stating our emotional regret over the differing opinions between Jews and Nazis would have been just as appropriate.

No it doesn't.  I never said I thought it was a good thing.  In fact, I believe it was one of the worst tragedies in modern history.  That's my opinion and it's a strong one.  That has nothing to do with whether or not it was backed up by a higher power.  I don't need to point to a higher power in order to claim the holocaust was awful any more than I need to point to a higher power to state that green is a great color.  Again, the only difference is your emotional attachment to that opinion. 

I would add that just because a moral is labeled subjective, this label gives no measure of force or conviction. A theoretical "objective more" could be much much less convicting among society.
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline HAL

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5003
  • Darwins +98/-17
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #57 on: April 30, 2012, 06:28:56 PM »
I know I'm not the best at philosophy, but I don't understand something.

If morals are objective, where is the moral "object"?