This is the 7th part and the final part of my series in which I examine this article from reasonablefaith.org .
to the question whether Atheists can be moral Craig replies with this: ” Exactly. If there were no God, I think there would be no objective moral values. Everything would then be simply subjective. Moral values would be the by-product of socio-biological pressures upon humanity. Just as a troop of baboons will exhibit cooperative behavior because it helps them to survive, so human beings have evolved a kind of herd morality that helps them to get along in the struggle for survival. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. That sort of thing. So if there is no God it seems to me that there really is no objective right and wrong, good and evil. Everything is morally indifferent. But if there is a God then even the atheist’s life is characterized by good and evil, right and wrong, whether he believes it or not because these things are not dependent upon human opinion.”
Now it is not my stance, that morality is purely dependent on human opinion. It is true, that morality evolved and that it is important for our survival. My subjective Morality is dependent on exactly that: Human well being and human flourishing. It is true, that acts like murder will diminish human well being. This is not an opinion this is fact. My morality as defined by me, is at least somewhat representative of the morality of the vast majority of my fellow human beings. If we as humans define the terms right and wrong as I proposed (and I contest that most humans do), then certain acts are immoral.
“Everything is morally indifferent. But if there is a God then even the atheist’s life is characterized by good and evil, right and wrong, whether he believes it or not because these things are not dependent upon human opinion.”
These things however would then be dependent upon what God’s nature happened to be which just happens to be a nature that promotes human well being and flourishing (or so they assert) . This the group of Christians then deem “God” to be “good” . We’re sitting in the same boat here as far as defining our terms goes. I and most others including the Christians define good and bad in terms of human well being, in terms of being compassionate etc. . It’s just that Christians put the “God” label on it. Nothing wrong with that in principle. But trying to build not only an objective morality out of it ( I would somewhat agree with Sam Harris’ objective morality) but an absolute morality simply fails. What’s worse, is that as far as I’m concerned, my morality has better applicability than his.
On the question whether Craig would go out commiting atrocities if he lost his faith he said this:
” That is to misunderstand the argument. The argument isn’t that because of the existence of God we are constrained in our moral behavior. The argument is that in the absence of God the moral behavior that we exhibit is not really good. It is just illusory. So, if one came to believe that God does not exist as many apostate Christians have, they don’t immediately become barbarians and so forth. But it would mean that the moral behavior that they continue to pursue isn’t really right or wrong if there is no God, if they were right. Now, I think there is a God so it is still good and right. But if God doesn’t exist and one came to the realization that he doesn’t exist, you might still, as a result of societal pressures, continue to live the way you always have. But there wouldn’t be any right or wrong about it any more than there was when you were under the illusion that God did exist. In other words, it is not about belief in God. It is about whether or not there is a God.”
Well I’m glad to hear, that Craig wouldn’t become a murdering Psychopath if he lost his faith. I think his reasoning for it is poor, but be that as it may. Some (by no means many or most) Christians say otherwise.
I won’t address the “meat” of his argument here, since I have previously addressed his circularity and question begging at length in the previous parts.
In closing though, what I think it comes down to, in a Christian moral framework is a fight over words. They want to claim words like “right” and “wrong” for themselves and they fight to death over them. It’s a security blanket for believers, who fear that without God there is no objective right or wrong. I personally find this silly. I have no interest to fight over vocabulary. But this is exactly why I did what I did: To show why their morality fails at accomplishing what it sets out to do and why their morality fails at certain levels at which mine succeeds.
This is the final part of the series. He continues through 3 paragraphs but they really have nothing to do with the subject at hand anymore.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation