For today and the next few days, I want to do something different. I was provided with this article from Dr William Lane Craig’s website reasonablefaith.org.
In the article Dr Craig advocates for his moral framework moral realism and he claims morality is grounded in God. I as an Atheist obviously disagree, so I want to examine where I think his morality fails and want to show where my moral framework (consequentialism for the most part) succeeds. I won’t address each and every word of his but I will give my opinion on some points briefly. With that being said: Let’s get our hands dirty!
In the first paragraph Craig claims: “ I think of God as the embodiment of the moral good. He is the paradigm of goodness. He defines what goodness is.”
Now Dr Craig is free to define his terms however he chooses to. If he defines it for himself this way then that’s fine. I define my morality in terms of human well being and how we can maximize it. The problem is, that later he tries to go from his subjective definition of “God is the definition of goodness” to not only an objective morality but an absolute binding morality.
Dr Craig continues later: “In the same way, moral values are defined by God. He is the standard of goodness. His character is the paradigm of goodness. Whether or not our actions are good or bad will be based upon how faithful they are to the standard. Whether they are morally […] or not or whether they fall away from the standard and are therefore evil.”
Says who? If Dr Craig is claiming that for himself as his definition, then, as I said that’s alright. But at this point, Dr Craig is not engaged in talking about subjective morality or even objective morality but about an absolute moral standard. and this is where the problem starts: Craig can define his morality for himself. I don’t think it’s a good definition at all but in principle I won’t fault him for that. But his morality is binding for him alone. If it was God who said, that he is the moral standard of goodness, then we’re engaged in circular reasoning. Why can God declare himself the standard and why can’t John Doe declare himself standard? If John Doe can’t declare himself standard because he isn’t God then we have a case of Special Pleading. Nobody but God can declare himself standard. Why can God? Because he’s the Creator and all powerful? In that case you believe that “might makes right”. I disagree. Being the Creator means having the right to impose the rules on the Creation, is a man made rule and we place limits on that as well. Even if we were to find a passage in the Bible that says otherwise, I would simply ask the Christian to prove, that the Bible is God’s word he wouldn’t be able to, debate over. Even if he could it’s still circular.
Craig then says the following: “So God, in his moral nature, is the paradigm of goodness. He is by nature essentially good, loving, kind, faithful, just, loyal, truthful, and so forth. So I see moral values as defined paradigmatically in God; that is to say, God is the standard. Then that moral nature issues in divine commandments to us. It is out of that nature that God commands us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves; that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and strength and mind and so forth.”
My objection is this: How do we know these qualities are good, objectively? Sure I agree subjectively that they are and most people would as well but human consensus doesn’t make morality absolute. In fact Craig is arguing, that these values are good independent of human opinion, which means asking for my opinion or anyone else’s opinion (as they often do in debates when they bring up the holocaust for instance) is irrelevant here.
How are they good? If they are good, because God possesses them, then we’re still not getting anywhere here.
I have a hard time believing, that Dr Craig would say God is good if he just happened to be deceitful, hateful and so forth. I’m going to spare us all the Bible quotes, that will reveal, that God doesn’t possess these qualities at all, here. We’re all familiar with them I think.
One last tiny thing for today: I agree that loving your neighbor (platonically) is a good thing but I don’t see how praising the Lord has anything to do with morality.
This analysis will be continued tomorrow.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation