Author Topic: Moral Argument for the Existence of God  (Read 1341 times)

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Offline Samuel Stuart Maynes

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Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« on: May 03, 2014, 04:46:12 PM »
The following moral argument is a brief excerpt from pages 2/3 of the Preview on my website at www.religiouspluralism.ca, i.e.

“Kant’s moral argument may be stated quite simply: God is not directly apparent in the phenomenal material world, but may exist in a noumenal spiritual realm. Since humans can ‘know’ nothing directly about the noumenal realm, the existence of God cannot be ‘proven’ beyond a doubt. However, to account for moral feelings of conscience, the existence of objective moral values, and the rationality of pursuing the highest good (universal virtue as a means to greatest happiness) we must assume the existence of God.

Without prejudice, we must assume that the rational disbeliever, as well as the doubting believer, will act as if some sort of divinity exists, recognizing (if only obscurely or unconsciously) that the moral law (the universal categorical imperative of pure reason - Act only as you would have everybody act) is the absolute upon which the whole of law and justice are grounded, and that without God, nothing is Absolute, but all is relative.

You don’t have to believe in God in order to be moral, but it helps. After all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view. Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste (character virtues, values, and goodwill). 

Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness. Then, moral maxims must be a matter of taste and muddled reason; and then there is no sound foundation for world-wide law and justice. But if there is no absolutely universal basis for moral fairness (that most people can at least dimly sense and recognize), then mediocre maxims become acceptable (e.g. When in Rome do as the Romans do... Look out for number one, and devil take the hindmost... etc.). Then ultimately, even anti-social maxims bespeaking elitist attitudes are no longer not questioned, but are respected, and even celebrated by some (e.g., David Hume’s famous moral question: “Why should I not prefer the destruction of worlds, to the scratching of my little finger?” – What’s it to me?).

Thus, we conclude that there must be One God upholding the absolute universal law of justice, mercy, and ethical behaviour; which is expressed in the personal Golden Rule (taught by Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and many others), as well as in the universal moral law of the One Categorical Imperative enunciated by Kant. This is the common denominator of the highest expression of objective morality, and we take it from Hegel that the highest idea is the absolute of its kind, and the Absolute of all kinds is God.”

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca


Offline biro

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 04:52:37 PM »
Again, we are not pluralists. We do not need your message.
https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist/works Warning: stories have mature content.

"Some people only feel good when they are praising the Lord." - Coptic bishop

Mt. 21:31 Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you."

"Our Lord will *never* stop loving us." - Fr. Michael P.

Offline Skydive

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 04:54:08 PM »
we need every message

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 04:55:51 PM »
Unfortunately this argument (and similar versions of this argument) basically amount to: 'I think it'd stink if there was no absolute morality, because without it moral chaos and uncertainty and injustice and relativism would reign, and I don't want that. Thus there must be absolute morality because that's what I prefer." You are not showing that there is absolute morality, merely that if your analysis is correct that we should want there to be absolute morality.
"when Mme. Vauquer lay down to rest on the day of M. Goriot's installation, her heart, like a larded partridge, sweltered before the fire of a burning desire to shake off the shroud of Vauquer and rise again as Goriot." - Balzac

Offline biro

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 04:58:51 PM »
we need every message

No, we don't.
https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist/works Warning: stories have mature content.

"Some people only feel good when they are praising the Lord." - Coptic bishop

Mt. 21:31 Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you."

"Our Lord will *never* stop loving us." - Fr. Michael P.

Offline Skydive

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2014, 04:59:48 PM »
I'll have to agree with Asteriktos on that one.

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Offline biro

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https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist/works Warning: stories have mature content.

"Some people only feel good when they are praising the Lord." - Coptic bishop

Mt. 21:31 Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you."

"Our Lord will *never* stop loving us." - Fr. Michael P.

Offline Samuel Stuart Maynes

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2014, 07:29:35 PM »
You are not showing that there is absolute morality, merely that if your analysis is correct that we should want there to be absolute morality.


The one categorical imperative – Act as you would have everybody act – is an “objective” (perhaps even absolute) moral law which we give to ourselves based on pure reason. This law is objective in the same sense that mathematics (e.g. 2+2=4) is a synthetic a priori object of reason, and can be relied upon.

As the great idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant put it, practical reason requires us to “act as if God exists.” For it is not God (whose will it may however be), but reason that gives us the moral law.

Not God, but pure reason dictates, and practical reason authorizes us to assume the prime moral directive expressed personally in the Golden Rule, which is universal among all major religions; and more generally in the One Categorical Imperative, enunciated by the great philosopher. Meditating on the existence and nature of God, human reason naturally and inevitably rises to a divine concept of universal pure practical moral duty, which requires freewill, and can only be perfected in a sequence of lives, with the help of God.

More than just a rational construct, the systematic unity of this comprehensive worldview authorizes us to stake our lives on the principle of universal morality – the one categorical imperative or Golden Rule – and the three postulates of practical reason: freewill, God, and immortality.

As Kant says, I would find myself abhorrent in my own eyes if I did not obey the one moral law; and the existence of God is “necessary to give this law adequate efficiency, and for us, obligatory force.” Because after all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view.

It is for the highest theoretical and practical reasons of systematic unity that we will that the maxim of our actions should conform to a universal law. This objective moral law – the categorical imperative – is expressed personally in the Golden Rule; Do as you would be done by others. In regard to any action of moral significance, this rule prompts the personal question: "How would you like it if somebody did that to you?" In more general terms, the universal categorical imperative boils down to; Act as you would have everyone act, which suggests the universal question regarding the morality of any contemplated action: "What if everybody did that?"

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca


Offline ialmisry

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2014, 08:36:42 PM »
Unfortunately this argument (and similar versions of this argument) basically amount to: 'I think it'd stink if there was no absolute morality, because without it moral chaos and uncertainty and injustice and relativism would reign, and I don't want that. Thus there must be absolute morality because that's what I prefer." You are not showing that there is absolute morality, merely that if your analysis is correct that we should want there to be absolute morality.
and that it is all or nothing: open moral relativism, and you have to accept everything that oozes out.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline JamesR

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2014, 08:42:01 PM »
I'd also point out that that the transcendent doesn't necessarily equal God. And even if it does, which God? This is my problem with virtually every Protestant Christian argument-from-ignorance. They automatically assume that it's evidence for THEIR God even though there are at least a handful of other alleged creator gods (I'll exclude the pantheistic gods since pantheism is illogical) who could have done it.

I'd also say to define the terms "morality" and "objective" and what the purpose and/or aim (if any) to these concepts are. Different people have different ideas about this.

Offline Papist

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2014, 11:01:42 PM »
Unfortunately this argument (and similar versions of this argument) basically amount to: 'I think it'd stink if there was no absolute morality, because without it moral chaos and uncertainty and injustice and relativism would reign, and I don't want that. Thus there must be absolute morality because that's what I prefer." You are not showing that there is absolute morality, merely that if your analysis is correct that we should want there to be absolute morality.
Agreed. The moral argument for the existence of God is week, especially the Kantian brand of argument offered here.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2014, 11:37:10 PM »
Dunno about all that but -

My 9 year old son came up to me and asked "Which came first the chicken or the egg".
I said "yeah that's the age old question".
He said "It would have to be the chicken, because something had to sit on, turn, and incubate that egg".

haha, it's fun...

The basis is faith, because even believing in evolution and the big bang requires faith.   I think the chicken thing makes perfect logic.
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Offline IoanC

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2014, 04:08:22 AM »
Again, we are not pluralists. We do not need your message.

Who is "we"?

Offline IoanC

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2014, 04:12:02 AM »
Before we can talk about the existence of God we realize that He is necessary unless everything fails. We may not be able to prove His existence, but we can definitely prove the necessity of it and that should be enough to believe. God is implied, not proven.

Offline stanley123

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2014, 04:39:00 AM »
Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness. Then, moral maxims must be a matter of taste and muddled reason; and then there is no sound foundation for world-wide law and justice.
Some authors claim that  ethics and virtue have arisen and developed as  part of the evolutionary process. The idea is that our sense of morality is a kind of defense mechanism that enables us to survive and do well in groups
http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Morality-Life-Mind-Philosophical/dp/0262600722/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t
http://www.amazon.com/Evolutionary-Origins-Morality-Disciplinary-Perspectives/dp/090784507X/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=07J50PHCS60H9RBADR4Q
http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Origins-Evolution-Virtue-Altruism/dp/0465020488/ref=pd_sim_b_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=07J50PHCS60H9RBADR4Q

Offline Samuel Stuart Maynes

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Re: Moral Argument for the Existence of God
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2014, 06:05:31 PM »
Some authors claim that  ethics and virtue have arisen and developed as  part of the evolutionary process. The idea is that our sense of morality is a kind of defense mechanism that enables us to survive and do well in groups.

As I recall, in his book “The God Delusion,” Richard Dawkins made the argument that reciprocal morality (I’ll be nice to you, if you are nice to me) is an “evolutionally successful strategy.”

However, reciprocal or conditional morality turns Jesus’ Golden Rule upside-down to make it read: ‘Do not as you would be done by others, but as you are done by them.’ This is just Old Testament retributive justice disguised as mutual benevolence. Better than no morals at all, the old scriptures are certainly not the last word in morality, because when push comes to shove they authorize returning evil for evil.

In fact, Jesus taught just the opposite, i.e. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you… Love you enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you...” etc., etc. (Mat. 6:38-44). But make no mistake, doing your duty and trying to "overcome evil with good" can get you killed, and often it is the moral cowards who survive.

The one categorical imperative is just a generalized version of the personal Golden Rule, and it is an object of reason which is true, not because God says it, but God says it because it is true. Whatever your moral maxims are, it is only rational that they apply to you and not just to others. The “universality” of any maxim worthy of the name moral is widely recognized, and the differences in different cultures do not amount to anything like a fundamental disagreement with the universal moral law – “Act as you would have everybody act.”

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca