Is it possible for morality to exist without it having a divine source or creator.doc

Is it possible for morality to exist without it having a divine source or creator? Based on a talk given on the New Covenant Group 'Inspiring honesty' show !ept #rd $% Introduction and general remarks& I'm particularly glad to be focussing on the moral argument tonight because it is sometimes ob(ected that the traditional arguments for God do not lead to the God of the Bible) *nd that is true that taken individually they do not prove the Christian God but what each argument does is provi
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  Is it possible for morality to exist without it having a divine source or creator? Based on a talk given on the New Covenant Group 'Inspiring honesty' show !ept #rd $% Introduction and general remarks&Im particularly glad to be focussing on the moral argument tonight because it is sometimes ob(ected that the traditional arguments for God do not lead to the God of the Bible) *nd that is true that taken individually they do not prove the Christian God but what each argument does is provide evidence for different aspects of Gods nature which adds up to a cumulative case for the God of the Bible) !o the Cosmological points to a timeless spaceless powerful Cause of the universe the design argument points to an intelligence behind nature but not necessarily to a good nature whereas the moral argument points to God as the +ersonal source of Goodness) ,e could then follow this upwith historical evidences from the life ministry death and resurrection of -esus of Na.areth to bring us to a fuller Christian understanding of God)/he philosopher Immanuel 0ant said there were two things which filled him with wonder& the starry skies above and the moral law within) /his agrees with what +aul tellsus in the book of 1omans that the existence of God is manifest IN us and is clearly revealed /2 us in the things which he has made 31omans %&%45 $ &6) In other words there is 7outside information 8 the external universe and there is 7inside information from our inner consciousness and conscience) !o the moral argument is a very important argument for the existence of God)/he 9uestion Ive been asked tonight is 7is it possible for morality to exist without it having a divine source or creator?:irst I want to give an important disclaimer I am not saying that people with no belief in God are unable to make moral choices or to live moral lives) /hat would be obviously false) It would be e9ually stupid to argue that believers in God have always acted in a moral way as clearly they havent)2pening statementInstead what I want to argue tonight is that atheism and in particular scientific naturalism can provide no ade9uate foundation for 2B-;C/I<; morality) By ob(ective morality I mean morally binding laws which are independent of what anyone thinks about them) In other words they are not (ust based on social convention or sub(ective opinion) I think we all intuitively believe this for example this week in the =0 two young women police officers were killed in cold blood) /he murderer had killed them by gunning them down and throwing a grenade at them) 2ne of the women had been making plans for her wedding the night before and the other was only # years old) /he +rime >inister avid Cameron later described this as an act of 7pure evil) I would contend that we all intuitively know that actions like these are evil) /his is the same as saying that there is a moral truth about the world in the same way that there is a scientific or mathematical truth about the world and that we know or discover these moral truths rather than invent them) !o when I say that morality is ob(ective I mean that it is based in truth in the same way that plus is @ independently of whether someone is good at mathsA :or example !lavery is wrong even if a ma(ority of people in aparticular culture think it is acceptable) Genocide is still wrong even if a state manages tocontrol the media and brainwash a ma(ority of people to condone it) I am arguing that for morality to be true in this sense then God must exist so that when an atheist makes ob(ective moral statements and acts as if they are true he is inadvertently demonstrating the existence of GodA/hat is a bold claim so please allow me to defend it with some supporting arguments&%) !cientific naturalism leads to determinism) 1  If scientific naturalism is true then genuine free will cannot exist) :rom the perspective of science alone human beings are essentially material ob(ects sub(ect to the laws of physicsand chemistry) I will let Greg Brahe explain his own position on this later but most atheists subscribe to some form of >indBody identity theory which is that the mind is identical to the physical brain) If this is true then all thoughts are reducible to brain events the product of physical and chemical reactions in the brain) /he behaviourist !kinner concluded from his determinism& /o man 9ua 3as6 man we readily say good riddanceD) 3!kinner6) !ince Crick ,atson and ,ilkins cracked the N* code determinists have further tried to explain the totality of what it is to be human in terms of genes) But this is fatal to the belief that human beings are moral agents) ;thics cannot be reduced to a branch of +hysics) >orality depends on humans having free will as Immanuel 0ant put it& 72ught implies can) If moral decisions are entirely the product of external forces how can they be moral or even rational? It would be unfair to blame anyone for acting in a way which they could not avoid according to the laws of nature) /herefore when an atheist acts as if he is a moral agent he is unwittingly demonstrating that he is genuinely free and that God existsA ) >any leading atheist philosophers have agreed that without God there is no ob(ective morality& eg !artre Niet.sche >arx Ei.ek)Beginning with the German philosopher Niet.sche 3%F@@5%F4$6 3the man with the outrageous moustacheA6 who was an enormous influence on eidegger and the later the postmodernists effectively uses the moral argument in reverse) In a famous passage from7/he Gay !cience3%FFH6 Niet.sche poetically portrays a madman coming before his timewith the message 7God is dead we have killed him) Niet.sche goes on to assert that sinceGod is dead all ob(ective morality dies with him& a truth which he felt the world was not yet ready to receive especially the ;nglish 7flatheads 3I take exception to that because my head is 9uite curvedA6) e said the ;nglish flatheads imagined that they could have a Christian morality without the Christian God) 33/wilight of the idols& !kirmishes of an untimely man section 6) /ime for enlightened men to 7shatter the old law5tablesAD he said 3'/hus spake Earathustra' p) %F6/o replace Christian morality the 7superman must draw an ethic from arwinism to rise above the herd and create his own values based on the 7will to power) e exchanges the -udaeo5Christian ontology of goodness for an ontology of violence) /his was to have devastating conse9uences across ;urope some $ years later)But I dont think there was anything logically wrong with Niet.sches reasoning) If God isdead it is true that ob(ective morals die with him) If there is no metaphysical realm we only have the world of flux which means that everything is relativeBut his basic premise was wrong 8 God is not deadA !o here we have the moral argument in reverse)I would like to turn now for my second example !lavo( Ei.ek rated the most popular contemporary philosopher :or Ei.ek the Big Bang was a Big Catastrophe) /he whole of reality is built on a Big <oid 8 literally nothing) e is a nihilist 8 he believes in nothing) /his is therefore the same for human beings) Jou are a <oid plus language but language he calls the !ymbolic 2rder and rests on an illusion) If you give up the illusion the chances are you will go mad) Ei.ek likes the films of avid Kynch such as Blue <elvet where society is portrayed with a veneer of respectability but underneath is full of obscene perversions) /his is the ultimate real 8 the dark underbelly) /hat is why Ei.ek can defend violence such as the violence of the :rench 1evolution and the !talinist purges) ,e are back to Niet.sches 7will to power) If Ei.ek is right there is no ob(ective morality) 2  #)But Nihilism means that -ustice does not exist) If there is no ob(ective law that means there is no basis for international (ustice which 9uickly deteriorates into a situation of 7might is right)I live and work in Nottingham but I was born in the historic cathedral city of Kincoln which also houses an srcinal manuscript of >agna Carta) Kast time I took some students there the *mericans had borrowed itA because it is important to your country too) >agna Carta signed by 0ing -ohn in % %$ enshrines the principle that even the 0ingis not above the law) /his principle passed into the *merican Constitution via the !cottishpuritan !amuel 1utherford who wrote a book 7Kex 1ex 3Kaw is 0ing6) /his is a distinctively -udaeo5Christian idea which came to the forefront during the 1eformation but which can be traced right back to >oses) /he 1ule of Kaw has helped preserve our society from slipping into tyranny) But the rule of law cannot be separated from the idea of a >oral Kaw and a >oral Kaw demands a moral lawgiver) *s we lose the -udaeo5Christian consensus we live under the threat of a new tyranny)@)It is impossible to live as if there is no ob(ective moralityC)!)Kewis points to the experience of 9uarrelling to illustrate this) ,hat is going on here?,e might say things like 7I lent you some money last month why havent given me it back) 7Jou promised to do such and such and you didnt do it) Kewis argues that arguments like these assume a common standard of 1ight and ,rong which both parties agree on) <ery rarely will anyone say to the other 7/o ell with your standardA =sually they will try and argue how they have kept it really or find an excuse why the standard doesnt really apply in this case)Its interesting that even the postmodern thinker -ac9ues errida the 7father of deconstruction who tried to relativise and deconstruct every ob(ective truth claim said there was one thing he was not able to deconstruct he could not deconstruct -ustice itself)e said we must live as though we will be (udged one day by a future community that willbe free) In saying this he moves beyond deconstruction and reveals his -ewish roots):or a worldview to be true it must be liveable and no one can consistently live as a nihilist) ;ven for Ei.ek when speaking in support of the 2ccupy movement or against global capitalism speaks as if these things are really right or really wrong) I know that Greg thinks that Ei.ek is a secret theist and maybe he is right) +erhaps all atheists are secret theists in denialAL)In contrast to Ei.eks nihilism If God does exist the ultimate real is ob(ective)Goodness)*lthough we recognise the devastating effects of sin on the world ultimately Christians are not cynics we have grounds for an ultimate Goodness) /his goodness which +lato recognised as the supreme value is for Christians the infinite +ersonal God) /hat is why the writer of Genesis records that when God made the world 7he saw that it was very good) 3Gen %&#%6) ,ithin this framework we can make sense of evil as a falling short of goodness) ,hat it doesnt make sense to say is that goodness is a falling short of evilA ,illiam Kane Craig writes& 72n this foundation we can affirm the ob(ective goodness andrightness of love generosity self5sacrifice and e9uality and condemn as ob(ectively evil and wrong selfishness hatred abuse discrimination and oppression) !o the atheist has to tackle the problem of goodness) oes goodness really exist?H)/he >oral argument in demonstrating an ob(ective ground of Goodness at the same time points to an answer for the problem of evil):irstly the ob(ective measure of goodness means that we are (ustified in (udging something as ob(ectively evil) 3  But finally the Christian answer means that we have hope for the future) >oral ;vil will be held to account) *ll wrongs will be righted) /he +12BK;> of evil turns into a +12>I!; of victory over evil) If God is all powerful he can defeat evil and if he is all loving he ,IKKA *theism cannot offer this guarantee) =nder atheism you (ust have to putup with evil until the heat death of the universe sinks us all into oblivion anywayA But for believers we have already seen a foretaste of this victory over evil in the historical event of the resurrection of -esus of Na.areth from the dead which was both a vindication of his +erson and his message after the evil of the crucifixion) /he new and scandalous element in the Christian message of ;aster was not that some man or other was raised before anyone else but that the one who was raised was this condemnedexecuted and forsaken man)D 3>oltmann 7/he Crucified God p) %H6 4
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