Some moral arguing

Peace of Christ, everyone!

Do you find the moral argument particularly convincing, and if so/no, then why/why not? Do you think there are better arguments to be had?

Addendum: you don’t have to hypothetically argue for the existence of the Christian God with your preferred arguments, just a god in general.

Pax,
Charles

No not really.

Morality on its most basic level is can be explained without the need of a supernatural being defining it.
To quote my self form a different post:
[Question about evolution - #9 by gavin_kemp](https://Question about evolution)

Their are situation where it is in the best interest of the species to be cooperative and even seem altruistic and their is a strong argument that morality is one of those. Setting a set of rules that will be punished if broken also set up a system of trust that help improve exchanges between people and their for it makes sense that the bases of our morality came through evolution and enabled us to build strong bonds with more people and build much bigger and complexe social structures.
So for basic morality their is no need for god. so this covers things don’t steal, hurt or murder your equals.
The consequence is if you look at the morality that do not kill, hurt or steal from your equals is fairly universal across most cultures, but people could be quite horrendous to those they viewed as beneath them.

What Christian and by extension modern morality have is a much larger definition of equal extending to an extent to animals. and to its not clear that it’s a natural evolution of morality especially since they are gains that have to be constantly defended.

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If the “don’t murder, steal, etc.” was only thought to apply among ‘equals’, then one might as well not have those commandments at all. I mean … if morality isn’t in place precisely to help protect the so-called “unequals” (along with the equals) then what indeed is it there for? I suggest that without the protection of the vulnerable, there would be precious little left of one’s “morality” to speak of.

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I find moral argument with strangers should always start by looking for common ground. If there isn’t much then it isn’’t likely any argument will be persuasive. Even with those we know some values clarification can help for both of us.

I do agree with the author of The Righteous Mind that reasoned argument is mostly for public relations after the elephant acts. Before then we can only hope to cajole and nudge the beast a little.

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From an evolution perspective morality is their to maintain a stable society not an equal one. But a society with a dominant group and a dominated group where the dominat group abused the dominated group have worked fine and you’d observe the rules I cited applied to the dominant group and punishment would be applied if a member of the dominante group was harmed by the dominant group or the dominated group but the inverse isn’t true unless harming the dominated individual also harmed a member of the dominant group (it would generally viewed as some form of theft in this case).

The whole thing of protecting the vulnerable and equality in modern morality is something that comes largely from Christian morality and it is so engrained in our society that we don’t realize this might not be normal. Its not clear to me if the extent we have it now is an evolutionary advantage or not, I do think its largely a good thing but I’m not sure it advantageous. After all we do have to constantly fight to defend it.

Basic morality can be explained through evolution and doesn’t require god, but the principles of equality is in modern morality is something which is largely comes from Christianity and that can be an argument for Christianity but it can also be viewed as the act of good people.

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Or … not, as the case may be. One can fairly assume that the bleeding folks hanging from crosses don’t have evolutionary advantage uppermost on their mind.

Point well-taken, though. Hierarchy, tribalism, and domination were almost certainly a part of our human past (and still entirely too much a part of our present scene too). As long as one doesn’t think that the justification for necessary and good Christian criticism of (and moral improvement over) those things must come from some demonstration of accrued advantage, then I’m fine. To the extent that advantage is sought (or found) is the extent to which it has ceased to be altruism of any higher sort.

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Simple math can show that absolute equality in a society dooms the society. It works well as long as there is a surplus of resources. When there is scarcity of resources, everybody getting an equal share means nobody getting enough. This would lead to equal starvation. Maybe this is why Jesus said that you will always have the poor among you.

I agree that much of the moral values shared by the western ‘free’ societies stem from the teachings of christianity. The moral values have developed beyond the original teaching but even atheists should thank christianity from the teaching that gave the basis for modern morality in western societies.

Moral values stem from something. Who says what is good and what is bad?
Christianity has a solid ground for moral thinking as God is the one who tells what is right.
Science does not tell what is right or wrong. Without God, moral values are dependent on voting. What is considered good at a moment may become bad in a few decades if the opinion of voters chance.

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No argument for the existence of God is objectively valid, but some do reflect the subjective reasons people believe. Here is how I rate them numerically, and my brief response to them. Ask for more explanation if interested.

9 Personal Experience – accepting the subjective nature and diversity of belief
7 The failure of physical determinism in quantum physics.-- suggests a nonphysical involvement
6 Predicting the universe had a beginning – prediction is always strong evidence
4 FineTuning – involves probabilities which cannot be calculated and thus are pure rhetoric
3 C. S. Lewis’ version of the moral argument – evolution can account for morality
2 Kalam Cosmological Argument – only an argument for a first cause and nothing else
1 Ontological Argument – defining God into existence is a really lame move
-1 Pascal’s Wager – assumes salvation by mental works giving you religion which is faithless
-2 The usual Moral Argument – assumes an authoritarian morality which is utterly inadequate

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You’re absolutely right; the whole Pascal’s Wager argument is really bad, especially because it seems as if it was taken out of context to argue for God’s existence, which is kind of like repurposing a microwave for use as a tanning bed, but even still, the atheist could easily retort by saying they would have something to lose: time and dignity. Plus, you can’t force people into a relationship like that; there’s a reason why Jesus wanted people to follow him.

Thanks for your response, and peace of Christ!

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Predicting is strong evidence but what really drives it home is the alternative would predict the universe has no beginning. Could you explain in what way Predicting the universe had a beginning is different from the Cosmological argument ? You are giving very different scores but ultimately the cosmological argument shows that a universe without god can’t have a beginning.

Fine tuning combined with Occam’s razor can pretty good especially since people love to use Occam’s razor, although Occam’s razor is more good practice, not a proof.

could you explain “The failure of physical determinism in quantum physics” and C. S. Lewis Moral argument ?

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Thank you! You as well. :slight_smile:

It depends on the form it takes. It’s not my preferred argument for the existence of God and for Christianity specifically, but I think there is something to be said about Jesus’ radical teachings on forgiveness and on loving one’s enemies.

I think the struggle with the Moral Argument leading to a greater likelihood that God exists is that there are pretty good explanations for the development of morality that don’t require God in any way. Now Jesus’ morality–that’s a different story, I think.

Peace to you, friend!
-Joshua W.

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I don’t understand your confusion. Genesis is one thing and the cosmological argument is another. One is simply a claim that the universe was created thus predicting that the universe had a beginning. The other is an argument from facts concerning causation, explanation, change, motion, contingency, dependency, or finitude that the universe must have a creator.

Yes and I don’t find that argument to be a very strong one. The fact that the universe did have beginning despite what most scientists previously thought is quite a different matter.

I am a frequent critic of Occam’s razor, like: here and here.

For the first one I think I will just point you to my own set of reasons for belief

C. S. Lewis’ Moral argument was that the fact that any moral law exists points to the existence of some non-material origins because he couldn’t see a reason for it in our material existence alone. This is contrasted with the usual argument which is that an objective/absolute morality requires dictation by an absolute being… or something like that. I disagree with both arguments. I think evolution can explain the existence of moral laws. But the problem with the other argument is much greater, even to suggesting that someone who doesn’t believe in God or accepting this absolute moral authority cannot have any morality. But worse than this is the infantilism of reducing all morality to a morality suitable only for toddlers.

Indeed, the assignment of risk is terribly subjective and I demonstrated this in a previous post.

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Thank you.

The quantum physics argument was what i thought it was. The issue I see with it is it’s uncomfortably close to the god of gaps, it’s different because it explains a back door rather than a core mechanism of the universe but it still relies on our lack of understanding of quantum physics rather than things we really understand well.

I agree I feel their is an over reliance on Occam’s razor especially since in many cases it is debatable on which side is making the most assumptions. The argument of fine tuning with Occam’s razor is probably more a demonstration of the flaws in Occam’s razor than anything else.

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What evidence is there for that claim since the inception of Christianity, and separately in modernity exponentially from 1500 especially the Enlightenment?

Plenty. Read the part about the plague.

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There is a huge difference between a gap in causality discovered by science (which scientists are forced to accept despite their preferences), and a gap in what science has not discovered but has every expectation to discover. Furthermore, notice the spectrum above which places it below that of personal experience. It shows there is no claim of objective proof but only of subjective impressions which sees meaning and supernatural causation in events which others can attribute to coincidence and randomness.

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