Does Our Direct Awareness of Ethics Point Us To God?

 

I want to consider, in this paper, whether our direct awareness of ethics points to God. We are all aware of our personal moral experience, as we intuitively react to our changing surroundings, to determine whether some action is good or bad, right or wrong. I grew up in the aftermath of apartheid, I was well aware of my perceptions of right and wrong. I also knew that all people had these experiences, once confronted with inequality or injustice, regardless of race, gender, orientation or persuasion, all people would intuitively know such injustice is wrong. I am convinced that God is the best explanation for the direct awareness of our objective moral experience; therefore, I want to build a case for God’s existence from morality.

Before I discuss the argument I want to clarify the terms, “intuitive” and “objective” which I will be using extensively. On the one hand, in the Declaration of Independence1, Jefferson acknowledges that some truths are “self-evident.” I would agree that all people (regardless whether you believe in God or not) can directly experience moral truths in the same way we all experience the external world. This is what is meant by “intuition.” On the other hand, we can, quite reasonably, determine that there are valid and binding universal truths that we experience in the natural world, like gravity for instance. My belief in gravity doesn’t make it so, gravity is universally binding to anything that has mass. That is what I mean by “objective;” that something is beyond the opinions of the person.

Now with some understanding of the terms, lets go ahead and discus the argument for God’s existence from ethics. The argument, as popularized by Dr. William Lane Craig in his writings and debates, goes as follows:

1). If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2). Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3). Therefore, God exists.

This argument is logically airtight. That is to say, the argument is valid so if the premises are both true then the conclusion follows necessarily. The only way to refute the argument is to provide a defeater for one of the two premises (Dr. William Lain Craig, Reasonable Faith, Third Edition, 172)

The Absurdity of Ethics Without a Personal Being

I would say that if God does not exist, then, objective moral duties and values do not exist. That is to say that a personal Creator is a necessary basis for morality because we don’t hold inanimate objects morally accountable, we hold persons morally accountable. Our moral obligations are between persons, not objects. You are not committing an immoral act by shutting down your computer or taking food from your fridge or selling an old car – we know this intuitively; however, killing a person for fun or taking food from an orphan or selling a girl into sex trafficking, is by all accounts, immoral. The only way we can make sense of universal moral laws is if the Author of life is a personal being.

How Do Duties Differ From Values?

A Creator is also able to account for both moral duties and moral values. Let’s consider the differences: moral duties are acts that we are obligated or forbidden to do, and moral values are acts that we are permitted to do.  We should do all things that are right, and do nothing that is wrong like don’t murder and don’t steel, but we are not obligated to do all things that are good like becoming a violinist or a professional athlete.

The Hidden Assumption

Thomas Jefferson went on to say, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” God provides a firm locus for “unalienable” human value and human rights. Being uniquely made and endowed by a Creator would set mankind apart from animals and explain why mankind has a sense of value that transcends natural explanations. This also provides an explanation for why injustice devalues an individual, and why people ought to be treated with respect and dignity. The “ought” cannot be explained by how the world “is,” why should we think the world ought to be a certain way? This does give a robust foundation for the moral reality we already experience through our direct awareness. I’m convinced that human value is so powerful, that with this single assumption most of the objective moral values and duties, we are directly aware of, can be constructed and sustained; the question is not if humans are valuable, rather, what is the basis for believing this assumption in the first place?

1). Without God, Morality is Indifferent

Without God we cannot assume human value, dignity or worth because such a claim would equate, merely, to speciesism – humans favouring themselves over other animals, much like we understand sexism or racism. If the universe is the product of unguided accidental processes, over vast periods of time, then there really is no value or goodness to life. Consider Richard Dawkins’ quote.

“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Basic Books (1995), P. 133

And so, Dawkins affirms that if God does not exist objective moral values and duties do not exist. In his attempt to eliminate God, Dawkins has been forced to reject objective moral good or evil, to remain consistent, and adopt the idea that morality is simply indifferent.

2). Objective moral values and duties do exist

It might surprise you to find out that while Richard Dawkins affirms the first premise, he also affirms the second premise, by creating his own moral code Dawkins masterminded his own alternatives to the Ten Commandments in his book the God Delusion as proof that he thinks people should behave in a certain universal way (Richard Dawkins (2006), The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 406.). Our direct awareness of what is right and wrong points to the other premise in the argument for God, that objective moral values and duties do exist. That is to say that there are things that are universally wrong for all peoples in all places, regardless of weather we acknowledge they come from God or not. A good example of this took place in Germany when the Nazi’s were charged with crimes against humanity. Hitler and his party had been very careful to pass laws to ensure that their heinous actions were sanctioned by German legislation. Therefore, in order to declare that the Nazi’s actions were criminal, the judges had to appeal to a moral authority that was higher than a person or a society. This was accomplished by using the Rule According to Higher Law, a law above man’s laws. This law clearly refers to a universal moral standard, outside of ourselves, which we all know exists (Andy Steiger, Thinking?, 112). Notably, C.S Lewis made reference to the objectivity of morality in his paper – Right and Wrong As a Clue To The Meaning Of the Universe.

[T]he standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others. -C.S. Lewis, Right And Wrong As a Clue To The Meaning Of The Universe, 6

Now we might be able to think of examples were people have thought that harming little children for fun is acceptable by showing they are oblivious to an objective moral standard, but that does not debunk moral objectivity, it merely exposes them as sociopaths or psychopaths. Notice, we use this objective moral standard to identify those in society that are depraved or unfit in their moral actions. If a person wants to deny the reality of objective moral truths it literally forces them into the corner as a psychopath, and since I don’t consider my audience to be psychopaths, I would encourage you to think clearly about whether denying a universal moral standard is worthy of the consequences (Michael Horner, Misunderstandings and Objections to the Moral Argument for God, To Everyone an Answer: 10th Annual EPS Apologetics Conference).

 


 

8549284_f520
Altruism
8218446_f520
Abuse

Let me ask the reader, are these two photos indifferent?  Dawkins says there is no difference, is that what your direct awareness is telling you right now? No difference between altruism and abuse?

 


3). Therefore God exists

God is the best explanation for the direct awareness of universal moral duties and values. If anything is an injustice, then you affirm that God does exist, as the paradigm of a universal standard, above man’s laws. This was evident in the global outcry for justice, concerning Apartheid and the Holocaust. We can trust our moral intuition as valid, unless there is some defeater, for thinking otherwise. In the absence of a defeater for our direct moral awareness, our prima fascia is justified (Michael Horner, Misunderstandings and Objections to the Moral Argument for God, To Everyone an Answer: 10th Annual EPS Apologetics Conference).

Euthyphro dilemma

Lets consider a popular objection to the moral argument for God’s existence called the Euthyphro dilemma. Notice that in defending the two premises we have not committed ourselves to a particular account of the relationship between God and moral values and duties. The objection, first recorded in Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, goes as follows: either something is good because God wills it or else God wills something because it is good (Dr. William Lain Craig, Reasonable Faith, Third Edition, 181). If something is good because God wills it, then goodness is arbitrary. God could will that abuse is good, and then we should be obligated to express our narcissism by violence; this aims to show that God’s arbitrary laws are an unstable mooring point for moral objectivity. But if we say instead that God wills something because it is good, then goodness is independent of God and his existence seems unnecessary as a basis for objective moral values and duties to exist.

As we consider the two horns of the dilemma, it would only qualify as a logical dilemma if there were only two possible answers. If another possible answer exist then the dilemma becomes a false dilemma by definition. One possible answer is that God is good because his nature is the paradigm of goodness. If God’s nature is the paradigm of goodness then he can will something because he is good. God by definition is the Greatest Conceivable Being, so if anything better than him exists, then that would be considered God. That means that God will only command what is required, forbidden or permitted based on his loving, pure and Holy nature. God’s commandments are reflections of his character, which is not arbitrary or independent of himself, thus splitting the horns of the dilemma into a false dilemma. Another point to ponder is how can Euthyphro account for: The Absurdity of Ethics Without a Personal Being and The Hidden Assumption, which I previously mentioned?

Conclusion

We have seen that for any moral argument to be compelling, it must account for human rights and values. Also, without God, morality is indifferent and humans are no more valuable than the rocks and bugs that share our chemistry, and no act of altruism or abuse can be good or evil. However, when we experience injustice we recognize it by our reactions to it, regardless of our beliefs about morality. Our reactions to injustice expose our true beliefs. We know that torturing Jews for fun is universally abhorrent. So if we affirm both premises, the conclusion is unavoidable, God exists. We also saw how God’s goodness is a reflection of his moral character proving Euthyphro’s dilemma to be false. You can be moral without belief in God, but your direct awareness of morality has its basis in the nature of God. The way life “ought” to be is an appeal to the paradigm or perfection of our moral awareness, this appeal is only coherent if God actually exists.

1 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  -Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

 

Primary Sources

William Lain Craig, Reasonable Faith, Christian Truth and Apologetics, Third Edition, Crossway (2008), p. 172-183

Andy Steiger, Thinking?, Answering Life’s Five Biggest Questions, Apologetics Canada (2015)

Micael Horner, Misunderstandings and Objections to the Moral Argument for God, To Everyone an Answer: 10th Annual EPS Apologetics Conference

C.S. Lewis,  Right And Wrong As a Clue To The Meaning Of The Universe, p. 6

 


 

Secondary Sources

Norman L. Geisler, The Big Book Of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books (2012), p. 362-365

William Lain Craig, On Guard, Defending Your Faith With Reason and Precision, David Cook (2010), p. 127-146

Ravi Zacharias, Beyond Opinion, Living The Faith We Defend, Thomas Nelson (2007), p. 178-208

Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Crossway (2004), p. 168-193

Ravi Zacharias, Vince Vitale, Why Suffering?, Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Faith Words (2014), p. 140-162

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (2006). p. 406

Paul Copan, The Moral Argument for God’s Existence, 4Truth.net.

 


 

Images

http://hubpages.com/education/Are-You-Altruistic

https://history105.libraries.wsu.edu/spring2015/2015/01/20/police-brutality-a-history-of-race/

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31 thoughts on “Does Our Direct Awareness of Ethics Point Us To God?

  1. You know one way I know God exist, is by how Christians live their life. For one to call themselves a Christian did they first repent of their sin in their life? Did they ask Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son to come into their heart and life, and to cleanse away all their sin, by his precious blood? Did they confess by faith a belief in what Jesus did for them; by dying on the cross, going to Hell, and the grave, and after three days and nights rose triumphantly over Hell, death, and the grave, and now sits on the right hand of God the Father, in Heaven? As a Christian have they followed in the footsteps of Jesus? Have they been water baptised? Have they asked and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues? Do they read the Bible (KJB) and do they understand it, and do they live by it? There is more to knowing what is good, and what is bad, what is right, and what is wrong. There are some sinners who are far better people than some so – called Christians. Also to know if God exist, how can a sinner really know more about God, unless he becomes a truly Born – again Christian, and that God by the Holy Spirit will reveal himself to him, by his word.

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    1. Thanks David for sharing how “[you] know God exists.” I feel that your comment doesn’t really engage with the paper, but I welcome opinions.

      May I suggest a little book that really helped me communicate my views in a way the hearer/reader can understand, it is called Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis. It’s a classic and a must read for anyone who has a heart for communicating Christ in our culture. Just like in Acts 17.

      Bless you brother!

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      1. Hello Ark!

        That’s a great question. As I mentioned in the article there is a “hidden assumption” with this way of thinking; furthermore, values and duties would become subjective based on how your species developed.

        Consider, if a lion kills a zebra- the lion doesn’t MURDER the zebra. And if a shark forcibly copulates with a female shark, then that’s reproduction – not RAPE. In the animal world we see aspects of altruism but the grounding foundation of RIGHT and WRONG, GOOD and BAD do not exist.

        The most one could accuse someone else of was being out of step with the herd, not that anything is WRONG.

        How do you account for direct awareness of morality given evolution?

        Thanks!

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        1. And I forgot to add…
          your belief is based upon presupposition, so how do you arrive at the conclusion that your morality comes directly from a god.
          And which god?
          And where did you find out about this god?

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    1. Natural selection is an amoral process which does not distinguish between good and bad but only survival and non-survival which are not necessarily the same thing. Famous biologist Thomas Huxley, known as Darwin’s bulldog, wrote a brilliant essay detailing why evolution cannot give a basis for universal morality. He highlights this point and says,

      “The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before”.
      What Huxley points out is that all of our behavioural traits are all equally a product of evolution, the ones we classify as bad are as much a product of natural selection as the ones we call good. So we really have no basis or standard on which to say some of those traits are good and some are bad if they are all equally a result of evolution.
      Natural selection works by eliminating traits in the gene pool which are detrimental to survival. If trait X inhibits the survival of the species, overtime natural selection will work to decrease trait X in the population’s gene pool. However if trait X does not hinder survival – natural selection has no problem with it and preserves it. Judging by the fact that “immorality” is a consistent feature of human nature as much as morality, natural selection clearly has no problem with those immoral traits. Natural selection has no preference – rape, murder, love, racism, slavery, equality are all the same – as long as they don’t harm survival they will be preserved.
      The individual who follows his desires to rape and kill girls is only acting in accordance with the desires which natural selection has preserved within the human gene pool. So again the premises of evolution by natural selection when followed through to their logical conclusion give no basis for the existence of objective moral values.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And a god/creator does?
        If this is your claim then:
        a) Please identify the god to which you refer
        b) explain how you became aware of this god – religious text, direct communion, child indoctrination or adult conversion.

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  2. Hi Ark, Survival is a weak argument against morality because you could say that rape is advantageous to propagating society. What your left with is one society disagreeing with another society, just like in the Second World War.

    I gave my argument in two premises, 1) if God does not exist, objective moral duties and values do not exist, and 2) objective moral values and duties do exist.

    To avoid the existence of God you have to provide a defeater to one of the two.

    Thanks.

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    1. You always begin with the usual prepositional statements.

      There have been numerous scientific studies done that refute your god based assumptions.
      Surely you have at least looked at these studies?

      … you could say that rape is advantageous to propagating society.

      Really? You would even suggest this? I am surprised. But maybe I shouldn’t be as you are a student” of William Lane Craig, type apologetics, am I right?

      And survival is a lot stronger argument than god.
      And once again you have not even bothered to identify which god your are talking about and already using the term as a pronoun.
      Please clarify the god you refer to? Thanks.

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      1. Ark, I’m with you regarding 2000 deities(excluding the 330, million hindu deities) but you just go one more than I do. Let me ask you this, as an agnostic you might be open to the evidence and not persuaded ,but as an atheist you know with certainty that no God exists; which god are you denying?

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    1. All gods. Although some one recently pointed out that as I do not know all of the gods I am, strictly speaking, agnostic.
      As are you for that matter. How’s that for irony? Quite funny when you thnk of it.

      Regardless, so far no one has offered evidence to convince otherwise. They all appear man made.
      Every believer, including you, of course, accept their god/s on faith and faith alone.

      And you are STILL using a capital G.
      Is this simply out of ( bad ) habit?
      Let me remind you – again – the name of the Judea/Christian god is, Yahweh.
      Its name is right there in the bible.
      Surely you are aware of this?
      Do you have some sort of self-imposed personal injunction against saying or writing the name?

      Please try to use it during our discussions as it makes it so much easier for me.
      Thanks.

      To the meat:

      1.How did you become familiar with the god you believe, Yahweh?

      2.Do you believe rape is advantageous to human propagation?

      3. Have you read any studies that show morality is part of evolution?
      3a. If so , please list at least one, and demonstrate why such studies are ( according to you) false.

      3b. And if you have not read any studies … why not?

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      1. The king demands to be entertained by the jester, but sadly the jester can never survive this kind of expectation because the possibilities for failure are endless and the probability of success is low… It’s your choice how you want to interoperate the evidence Ark, How can anyone satisfy your skepticism but yourself. Are you skeptical for the sake of truth, or skepticism? Remember we don’t hold criminals to the charge of 100% proof, we hold them beyond a reasonable doubt.

        In this case I’m making the argument for God (the greatest conceivable / possible being) based on our direct moral awareness. I have heard no defeater to the two premises, so the conclusion stands.

        Now moving on, I’m defending what you would call Mere Christianity and therefore the pronoun God will suffice.

        1. The way I came to know a belief cannot undermine its validity. Regardless of how I came to be “familiar” with God, it has no weight regarding whether Christianity is true or not.

        2. Rape is reprehensible because it dehumanizes someone made in the Image of God, it goes against God’s purpose for humanity and it violates a uniquely valuable person. But there seems to be no grounding for meaning value and purpose if Naturalism is true, therefore it might be unpopular in a herd to rape but if “survival” is the ultimate purpose then I see no obvious OBJECTIVE reason why its WRONG? Can anything be justified as being right or wrong through evolutionary theory?

        I have read enough to know that empathy or herd morality could not have been enough to convict the Nazi’s. What they did was objectively wrong.

        Now Ark I think your a reasonable guy, and I rather enjoy our interactions, but how do you explain human value and worth from evolution? Even Hitler believed in survival of the fittest (and eugenics), can you provide a robust reason for why he was wrong without assuming human value?

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  3. The way I came to know a belief cannot undermine its validity. Regardless of how I came to be “familiar” with God, it has no weight regarding whether Christianity is true or not.

    It has no validity in the first place, being man-made.
    You could only have known Yahweh, through Christianity which is largely a misnomer as you follow the doctrine based upon the rantings of the biblical character, Saul of Tarsus.
    So, therefore your belief is simply a willingness to accept the supernatural. Unless your belief is from childhood indoctrination, most adult conversions come about because of emotional issues brought on by some sort of trauma.

    The patterns are generally the same throughout adult conversion and those who deconvert go through similar trauma until they have fully thrown off the shackles of god belief.

    So what was it with you, if I might ask? Childhood indoctrination or adult conversion due to some sort of emotional trauma?

    Now moving on, I’m defending what you would call Mere Christianity and therefore the pronoun God will suffice.

    No, it will not as you have failed to demonstrate that your deity is the only deity. And even if it was, god is a description not a name.
    Thus he is simply one among many.
    Even as a Christian your god is Yahweh. Period.

    if “survival” is the ultimate purpose then I see no obvious OBJECTIVE reason why its WRONG? Can anything be justified as being right or wrong through evolutionary theory?

    And this is exactly why I say you must have been suffering some emotional trauma to even contemplate this.
    And obviously there are some lingering mental health problems you have not recovered from.
    That you believe you need a deity to tell you the difference illustrates the point perfectly.

    And once more, you did not answer the questions as I asked.

    Please list at least one study you have read that clearly demonstrates why morality is derived from evolution and then explain what evidence you have to refute it. Thanks.

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    1. If it is man made, I’m sure you will able to find countless other religions that started with the isolated torture and death of eyewitnesses without recanting even at the prospect of life and liberty.

      Your overgeneralizing, more agnostics are made through indoctrination and trauma than Christians.

      “No, it will not as you have failed to demonstrate that your deity is the only deity.” – I got’ta see this, please support a deity, in that case, that I may have the chance to be skeptical also.

      Lets consider the Stanford Encyclopedia on the matter. Link Below

      First it affirms that evolutionary ethics didn’t necessarily have to be this way(as they are today), consider Darwin’s Quote:

      “It may be well first to premise that I do not wish to maintain that any strictly social animal, if its intellectual faculties were to become as active and as highly developed as in man, would acquire exactly the same moral sense as ours. In the same manner as various animals have some sense of beauty, though they admire widely different objects, so they might have a sense of right and wrong, though led by it to follow widely different lines of conduct. If, for instance, to take an extreme case, men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering. Nevertheless the bee, or any other social animal, would in our supposed case gain, as it appears to me, some feeling of right and wrong, or a conscience (Darwin 1871, 73). ”

      Secondly it tries to validate “norms” and value.(http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-biology/ (Sections 1.2B and section 4.2))
      “If one rejects the existence of moral truths, the latter would then lead to an error theory (Mackie 1977). ” – from above link, conclusion.

      In this case the argument still stands that God exists. And in no way does Metaethics from Naturalism do away with God.

      Now you still have not answered my first question about: which premise (in the essay) you reject and why?

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      1. If it is man made, I’m sure you will able to find countless other religions that started with the isolated torture and death of eyewitnesses without recanting even at the prospect of life and liberty.

        The man-made comment refers to your god, Yahweh, which was a Canaanite deity and part of a pantheon. Yahweh even had a consort, until the Jews adopted him, dropped his consort and elevated him to top spot. You know this of course, surely?
        What torture of eyewitnesses? In fact, what eyewitnesses are you talking about? And eyewitnesses to what, exactly?
        Again, citation please to back this.

        Please, if you are going to espouse apologetics then for heavens’ sake provide evidence to back your statements otherwise I am going to be chasing you for such with every reply., and it makes for endless and unnecessary back and forth.

        Your overgeneralizing, more agnostics are made through indoctrination and trauma than Christians.

        Citation, please?
        Historically, Christians are primarily cultural – indoctrinated from childhood. As are Muslim, Jews, Buddhists Hindus etc …
        How severe will depend on the denomination/cult they are brought up in.
        The most severe are Fundamentalists, such as Jehovah Witnesses and Young Earth Creationists.
        All Biblical literalists fall into this category.

        This is undeniable, and so your overgeneralizing agnostics claim looks like opinion and thus is likely unsubstantiated.
        But I am open to any evidence you have for this claim. In fact I am fascinated to read the stats on this , so please present them.

        As for adult conversion, I stand by what I said regarding emotional trauma, and it applies to every born again Christian I have ever engaged. You can include peer pressure here as well. And this I can back up with a good number of links you might require to at least a dozen deconverts right here on word press who will state in writing how their conversion
        ( and deconversion) came about.

        “No, it will not as you have failed to demonstrate that your deity is the only deity.” – I got’ta see this, please support a deity, in that case, that I may have the chance to be skeptical also.

        This reads like mumbo jumbo, I’m sorry. Could you please explain it?

        Lets consider the Stanford Encyclopedia on the matter. Link Below etc …
        For now, let’s not. Well, not until you identify at least one study that you have actually read which shows morality comes with evolution, and the concise reasons why you refute it.
        I have asked for this three times so far and you have simply ignored my request.
        Once you have given detailed reasons then I will gladly answer your question.
        However, I have already explained why your premise is rejected, because of evolution.
        You are a presuppositional apologist. Much like Craig.

        And I am still waiting for the answer regarding where and how you discovered your god – your testimony, if you like.
        Surely you are not embarrassed to share it?

        And I would like to know whether you consider the Pentateuch historical: namely, Genesis, including the Flood and Exodus and Conquest.
        Another question I have previously asked and you have ignored.

        It would make it easier if you simply addressed the questions I have asked in a bullet response format. Direct and concise.

        As I mentioned before, how you regard the Pentateuch has considerable bearing on this discussion.

        Thanks.

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  4. @pklopper

    I am curious As it b ears heavily on this particular topic, exactly how much of the Pentateuch do you consider is historical?
    For example; do believe in the veracity of Genesis, including the Garden of Eden, Flood, Exodus and Conquest?

    Thanks.

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    1. Great question Ark, I view it all as historical because at the very least the documents are historical. If I remember correctly, you had a hard time understanding the difference in historical document and historical events. FYI your post about this question is historical already.

      My Christianity is based on the empty tomb and that the resurrection is the best explanation of the evidence. If Jesus really rose from the grave then his words are life and truth. What better way to know about what happens when you die than from a person that had a death experience, not just a near death experience – though there is plenty of evidence for those and for the soul BTW. My point is, Jesus spoke an many of these things as true and I believe his words.

      Jesus spoke often about Genesis and Exodus. References to Genesis: Mark 10:11, Luke 11:50-51, Luke 17:27.
      -Jesus references the burning bush incident when explaining the resurrection (Ex 3:6; Mt 22:32; Mk 12:26; Lk 20:37).
      -He recalls the Ten Commandments when telling a rich man how to enter the kingdom of God (Ex 20:12–16; Mt 19:18–19; Mk 10:19; Lk 18:20).
      -He mentions the fifth commandment (honoring parents) when exposing the Pharisees’ and scribes’ hypocrisy (Ex 20:12, 21:17; Mt 15:4; Mk 7:10).
      -And of course, the commandments against murder and adultery show up in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Ex 20:12–13; Mt 5:21, 27).
      -Jesus quotes the famous “eye for an eye” line right before telling his disciples to turn the other cheek (Ex 21:24; Mt 5:38).

      More importantly when asked about the most important command Jesus said: ALL the LAW and the PROPHETS, referring to what we would call the Pentateuch.

      Matthew 22:36-40(NIV)

      36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

      37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      Footnotes:
      a.Matthew 22:37 Deut. 6:5
      b.Matthew 22:39 Lev. 19:18

      There we go eyewitnesses credit Jesus with affirming Genesis and Exodus. Please show how this is relevant to the MORAL discussion?

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      1. Okay, it seems you have addressed the questions after all … let’s look at them shall we?

        Great question Ark, I view it all as historical because at the very least the documents are historical. If I remember correctly, you had a hard time understanding the difference in historical document and historical events. FYI your post about this question is historical already.

        Then everything you argue for can be summarily dismissed as there is no historical veracity to the Pentateuch. It is simply geopolitical myth.
        I take my cues on this from the relevant experts in the field of Old Testament studies, Archaeologists and top Rabbis.

        My Christianity is based on the empty tomb and that the resurrection is the best explanation of the evidence. If Jesus really rose from the grave then his words are life and truth. What better way to know about what happens when you die than from a person that had a death experience, not just a near death experience – though there is plenty of evidence for those and for the soul BTW. My point is, Jesus spoke an many of these things as true and I believe his words.

        This does not explain how you came to know your god, Yahweh, or the details of your conversion.
        As for the supposed resurrection. There is no evidence of this event. Thus it can be regarded in a similar light as all you other claims. And please do not come back and cite someone like Habermas.
        I have no interest in him.

        Please show how this is relevant to the MORAL discussion?

        See my first reply in this comment (above,) regarding the Pentateuch.
        Thanks

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  5. I find it interesting that you appeal to authority when wishing away the Pentateuch but your not interested in authority like DR. Habermas or Licona. How is that reasonable? Regardless your Pentateuch argument is a red herring and probably a straw man also. I’m a Christian because of Christ. We may simply have to agree to disagree on this point because our communication appears to be failing.

    The eyewitnesses I were referring to were James, Peter and Paul, who were martyred. Oh and if you suggest that Paul is not an eyewitness then please explain his conversion as a intellectual Pharisee to Christianity, other than his Damascus road experience.

    I feel that your not open to what I have to say, so perhaps you would just like to get something off your chest, that’s fine. I’m not here to convert you. So please address which premise evolution defeats and in what way? Otherwise, I’ll be happy to give you the last word. I wish you well Ark.

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  6. I find it interesting that you appeal to authority when wishing away the Pentateuch but your not interested in authority like DR. Habermas or Licona. How is that reasonable?

    Largely because they, like you, are presuppositional apologists.
    As for Licona, surely you are aware that he is either a hypocrite or a fraud?
    You must surely know of the row he had with Geisler after what he published in 2010 regarding the rising of the Saints at the crucifixion and his subsequent dismissal from his place of employ for refusing to offer a retraction?
    THIS is why he and the likes of Habermas can be summarily dismissed out of hand.

    Regardless your Pentateuch argument is a red herring and probably a straw man also.

    Hand-waving bullshit and you know it. Your entire faith rests of the belief in Original Sin and that Yeshua Ben Joseph is the prophesied Messiah., two claims for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
    Original Sin is one reason Marcion’s gospel was ditched and he was declared a heretic. Why do you not know this? Are your historical bible studies so narrow?
    In fact, do you study any secular material at all or do you simply hang on the words of people like Craig as if they were diamonds and swoon like a teenage girl at boy band concert?

    Original Sun is a major reason you tenaciously hang on to the Pentateuch as historical and this is why every argument you present for non-evolutionary morality and ethics
    flounders simply because the Pentateuch is historical fiction.

    Tell, do you actually believe in evolution at all?

    The eyewitnesses I were referring to were James, Peter and Paul, who were martyred. Oh and if you suggest that Paul is not an eyewitness then please explain his conversion as a intellectual Pharisee to Christianity, other than his Damascus road experience.

    Absolute balderdash. There is no evidence these characters even existed so how on earth can you state they were eyewitnesses let alone martyred? This is risible.

    Why do you not ask yourself the truly pertinent questions regarding Saul of Tarsus?

    You might begin by considering as a Super Duper Christian Hunter there is no record of him outside the bible.
    Then compare some of ”his” travels with those of Josephus. Oh, I presume you have actually read at least some of Josephus?
    After all the Testimonium Flavianum is one of the more famous of Christian frauds.

    And yet again you refuse to answer any of the questions I have asked.
    And this can only mean you know full well you have no leg to stand on.
    As for you conversion, I must be jabbing a nerve for to steadfastly avoid answering why you converted.

    This is what religious indoctrination is all about; it discourages asking genuine, honest questions ( for which the apologetic answers are all based on faith).
    And when you start asking such pertinent questions and demand honest answers is when the deconversion process will begin
    and the nonsense you currently think is truth will quickly unravel.

    Dialogue such as this has nothing to do with the pettiness of having the last word but exposing the fallacious nature of your Christian belief and to demonstrate to those who may be under certain misapprehensions that what you espouse has any basis in evidence .

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    1. You’ve mentioned the falling-out of Geisler and Licona in the past. Does that mean the you would consider Geisler as an authority?

      In this Blog I’m making the case for a general theism based on our direct awareness of ethics, so for argument sake, lets say the bible isn’t true. That does nothing to change the conclusion from those premises. Any argument against the bible is simply a red herring with regards to this blog.

      Can you show any reputable scholars that claim Paul never existed? This sounds like a real fringe position concerning scholarship, regardless of its apparent popularity with laymen. If you can’t bear the burden of proof on this one then feel free to withdraw your comment.

      It brings up an interesting point though, are you looking for 100% proof? Because then you must only know a few things like “I think therefore I am.” We don’t hold criminals to that kind of certainty, rather we hold them beyond a reasonable doubt. Expecting 100% proof is unreasonable. BTW this is good to keep in mind, I don’t actually think you demand that amount of certainty anywhere else, let’s be consistent with our demands and our doubts.

      Please expose the “fallacious nature of [my] Christian beliefs” by engaging with the moral argument. Which premise do you reject? The argument presented is valid, but if there are no defeaters to the premises then the argument becomes sound. A sound argument lines up with reality. That would imply that God is actually real.

      Have an honest question for a honest answer, If christianity was shown to be true with certainty, would you become a Christian?

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  7. You’ve mentioned the falling-out of Geisler and Licona in the past. Does that mean the you would consider Geisler as an authority?

    You mean you are unaware of the row between Geisler and Licona?
    No, I do not think Geisler is an authority. He is a Biblical inerrantist and therefore a willful idiot.
    I mean, do you think the saints rose from their graves and went walkabout in downtown Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion
    Well, do you? Yes or no?

    In this Blog I’m making the case for a general theism based on our direct awareness of ethics, so for argument sake, lets say the bible isn’t true. That does nothing to change the conclusion from those premises. Any argument against the bible is simply a red herring with regards to this blog.

    And this is a false case because you are a presuppositionalist, therefore any case you make for the god you worship is based on false premise.
    And you are correct – the bible is not true. The Pentateuch is historical fiction as demonstrated by archaeology for one. And this is something I have pointed out several times yet you seem reluctant to investigate the archaeology, largely I suspect as it will rubbish you presuppositional point of view.

    Can you show any reputable scholars that claim Paul never existed? This sounds like a real fringe position concerning scholarship, regardless of its apparent popularity with laymen. If you can’t bear the burden of proof on this one then feel free to withdraw your comment.

    Why would I want to withdraw my comment? Good grief! Define ‘reputable’

    It brings up an interesting point though, are you looking for 100% proof? Because then you must only know a few things like “I think therefore I am.” We don’t hold criminals to that kind of certainty, rather we hold them beyond a reasonable doubt. Expecting 100% proof is unreasonable. BTW this is good to keep in mind, I don’t actually think you demand that amount of certainty anywhere else, let’s be consistent with our demands and our doubts.

    Did I mention 100%?
    No.
    But the margins of credibility are not on your side and the scientific/archaeological aspects trash your argument, and yet these points you simply refuse to address – as do all presuppositional apologists, other than to hand wave away the science.
    The Pentateuch is historical fiction and this alone rubbish’s any claims you make regarding your Christian worldview.
    Genesis; The Flood, Exodus etc are all historical fiction. I would like to make doubly sure here that you understand the term?
    So, to be clear, there is no evidence of an Exodus as described in the bible (or captivity in Egypt or conquest etc) and the archaeological evidence already uncovered in Palestine shows this.
    May ask why you simply refuse to address these issues, and if, as it seems to be the case, you hold with a biblical POV what evidence do you have to back this? And more to the point, evidence that refutes the majority view of archaeologist, historians and Rabbis?

    Please expose the “fallacious nature of [my] Christian beliefs” by engaging with the moral argument. Which premise do you reject? The argument presented is valid, but if there are no defeaters to the premises then the argument becomes sound. A sound argument lines up with reality. That would imply that God is actually real.

    There is no moral ”argument to engage. I have already pointed out rhat you begin with a presuppositional view that your god exists and is responsible for your morality.
    I have already explained several times that scientific study has shown that evolution is responsible for morality and ethics, and once again you refuse to identify a single scientific study that you have read and concluded is false and provided evidence to refute this view. I can only surmise that you have not read a single one ( or are embarrassed to admit which one) thus you have no argument.

    Have an honest question for a honest answer, If Christianity was shown to be true with certainty, would you become a Christian?

    Let me ask you a similar honest question:
    If Islam was shown to be true would you become a Muslim?

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  8. The Moral argument stands, to dismantle it please provide a defeater to a premise. I have referenced a study from Stanford university regarding meta-ethics, in which they recognize there is no conclusive evidence for morality from evolution. Evolution is adaptation or mutation over periods of time, if that is your defence then you need to explain at what point do we have enough molecules to become moral? How do blind unguided forces produce a guiding force like morality?

    If Islam was true then I would become a muslim. Would you become a muslim if it were true?

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    1. The moral argument does not stand because your view is presuppositional.
      I have already explained this several times.

      Such a view prodiuces utterly ridiculous nonsense such as this:

      If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist

      Tell me, are you having difficulty understanding what presuppositional means?

      Evolution is fact, therefore it follows that morality and ethics derive from evolution.
      I do not have to define anything as you are the one citing your god as the reason for morality and ethics; an erroneous claim that you philosophy has nothing to support it.

      Are you stating that you deny evolution?
      Yes or No?

      If Islam was true then I would become a muslim. Would you become a muslim if it were true?

      Over a billion Muslims consider Islam is true, so why are you not a Muslim?

      Also, you have yet to define what you consider to be a reputable scholar regarding the historicity of the biblical character Saul of Tarsus. Please provide your definition.

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  9. The argument uses Modus Ponens and is valid.

    mo·dus po·nens
    ˌmōdəs ˈpōnenz/
    noun
    the rule of logic stating that if a conditional statement (“if p then q ”) is accepted, and the antecedent ( p ) holds, then the consequent ( q ) may be inferred.

    Morality is absurd on evolution, given that it promotes eugenics. So do you agree with eugenics?

    If Christianity is true would you become a Christian?

    As far a reputable goes, someone who is a NT scholar and isn’t widely rejected as out on a limb. Is that broad enough?

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    1. It is not valid as you have yet to demonstrate the following:
      1. that the god you believe in exists.
      2. that the god you believe in is also the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth – and how this was a creator.
      3. the source of your belief in this god.

      Also, I would like to know what it was that caused you adopt god belief, please.

      Morality is absurd on evolution,

      So, is it true to say that you do not believe in evolution? Yes or No?
      Direct answer please.

      given that it promotes eugenics. So do you agree with eugenics?

      Are you now baiting? That seems a little churlish don’t you think?

      So much for my assumption that you seemed a reasonably intelligent person.
      *Sigh*
      But I’ll play a while longer …..
      Scientific citation, please regarding your eugenics claim.

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  10. If Christianity is true would you become a Christian?

    So you are saying there is doubt of its veracity?
    In that case, why on earth would I want to become part of any movement than even one who professes to be a member doubts its veracity?

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