One thing I have often seen in this forum is the claim that God's existence is required for there to be "objective" morality. Of course, this is typically issued by a theist who is intent on undermining secular ethical accounts that claim objective foundations.
I don't think most theist have it in mind to "undermine" secular ethical accounts in some kind of obnoxious way. Rather it is to give adequate explanation to the ultimate foundations of morality.
It is not even an appeal that all people be theists. It is just an explanation for why we act the way we do and even propose ethical systems as we do.
Both the theist and the atheist or agnostic are all equally created in the image of God. Belief or non-belief in God does not effect that.
And, of course, this theist typically operates under the assumption that his own account of morality provides for an objective foundation. The really curious thing about this is that, more often than not, if one actually scrutinizes this theist's moral account, it turns out not to be objective. For instance, many of the theists in this forum hold to some type of view that entails that morals depend constitutively on some aspect(s) of God; that His commands, or His essential character, or the content of His will, etc,
Sounds ok so far. What's the problem ?
determine moral status. I think only in bizarro world could this be construed as an "objective" account of morals.
Perhaps that is because you have convinced yourself, or are trying very hard to convince yourself, that the existence of God is "bizarre."
I would rather say that God would not exist is far more bizarre. It is as bizarre as human beings tumbling out by a trillion fortunate accidents in a cosmos that created itself (which is impossible) or which was eternal (which we pretty much know is not the case).
That there are some "self evident" truths known to us about a Creator is far less bizarre than the atheist explanation of our or anything else's being here.
On the contrary, it ties morality constitutively to an agent and hence makes morals mind-dependent, or subjective.
Discrimination of right from wrong does require a mind.
Decision to do right from wrong or vica versa does require a will.
Personhood of one kind or another is involved in morality.
It is bizarre to you because you have decided a perfect Person of eternal existence is out of the question. How do you know that philosophy is nothing more than an emotional reaction against the thought that your own ego is not the ultimate reality ?
Why not simply let God be God ? Why rob God of the attribute which is rightfully His ?
If you are at school or work on a job, eventually you realize that someone is above you in some capacity. You also are above someone else in some capacity. Instead of robbing your supervisor of the responsibilities which are rightfully his, you could let him simply occupy that position which is his and you yours.
It is possible to take envy too far.
You don't have to be a groveling sycophant.
But neither need you go to the other extreme of robbing someone of the position and responsibility which is rightfully hers or his.
Do not envy another's burden of responsibility. You might not be able to hold up underneath it.
Do you really
want to shoulder the responsibility of knowing who today should remain alive and who should die? Do you really want to shoulder the responsibility of knowing what baby should survive birth this morning and what baby should not because of circumstances beyond human control ?
How about we just let God be God ?
This doesn't mean we have no responsibility.
It means that we recognize our measure and what has been meted out to us. We have a realistic estimation of our jurisdiction and we do not attempt to go beyond what has been measured out to us.
The theist has his realistic assessment of his measure as a creator of God. And he has an appreciation of where far greater measure of responsibility lies.
It is therefore a thoroughly subjectivist view, where essentially only one subject, God, matters.
I think to convince me of that you would have to convince me also that the creation without that I sense is not there once my subjection apprehension of it goes away.
Why should I believe that? I arrived on the scene and from all accounts of my elders the universe was already here. Correspondingly, I see no reason to think Ultimate Goodness only exists because of my subjectivity.
I was born, I'll live, and I'll die.
The universe will not die with me for it did not arrive with me.
So also the power and goodness which played a part in its coming into existence.
Why should I think my subjectivity give existence to ultimate morality ?
Did right and wrong only become an issue when I was born ?
From all accounts of history, this was an issue far before I arrived.
Saying that the absolute moral values are sourced in an eternal God is not a matter of my subjectivity. If I never was the situation would be the same.
Samantha Shoolamocker has not been born yet.
Neither has Luigi Brekenridge or Abul Van Quagmire.
None of these people yet exist. Maybe they will some day.
Maybe they will never exist.
But if they do come into existence and are more than just my imagination - their subjectivity will no more be the source of God's eternal attributes than my subjectivity is.
Take you hint from the universe. And just let God be God without undue envy or resentment. Isn't it wonderful enough that we could be His sons ?
The point of objectivity is that the determination of moral status, the truth values of moral claims, etc, should be constitutively indpendent from any observer attitudes.
Maybe you feel that the "observers" are creating the God who is really there. They are not.
1.) God is really there
2.) We did not create Him by our observing. We only recognized Him.
The theistic account just described obviously does not fit the bill then, since it entails that such things depend on one particular agent.
Ultimate morality exists in the eternal God whether or not other creatures are there to observe.
In the same way that God's creative power exists in Himself whether or not He created anything.
These attributes are eternal and flow out His own eternal being.
The observer did not create them and place them there.
As an atheist you believe God is the invention of man. So you believe falsely that somehow when we created God (which we did not) we created the ultimate moral values also.
This is no more true than that if we created God we simultaneously created His creation.
Again, it is a form of subjectivism, and the story of this theist with his objective account is like the story of the emperor with his new clothes.
I think that the very proud king who did not realize that he was naked, because all his subjects gave him a nod of approval more accurately resembles the atheist.
If I recall the tale rightly, some child or clown or less expected person than the surrounding sycophant dignitaries grasped the real humor of the real situation. Am I right ?
I think a child giggled and pointed out that the king was in fact "in the altogether" as naked as the day he was born. Danny Kay use to sing it that way, that the little child woke everyone up to the real situation.
In the same way I think a child realizing that God is good has more sense than the philosophical gymnastics you are putting this forum through.
You built this discussion upon some supposed greater human maturity. It is more "adult like" somehow to eliminate God from our sense of final moral accountability. I don't think you have done this. I think the self proud emperor strutting before the crown in the nude more appropriately describes the atheist.
By attempting to murder God you dehumanize yourself. That is the problem.
No matter how you try to slice it, your robbing your Creator of attributes that are rightfully His is to devalue yourself. In attempting to hide God you do become naked.
Before I said that murdering God was man's ruination, Frederich Nietzsche said much of the same thing. And he was a strong intellectual atheist if there ever was one.
But, now, if this theist's motivation were just to have some account that is properly objective; well, they could just claim that moral determination and status are not tied to any persons at all, God included.
Could you point out to us which rock is the most moral ?
Morality is a matter of life of lives and of personhood.
Do you evaluate none living things as to their morality, such as a grain of sand or a rock or a pebble ?
But, this never seems to satisfy. So my question, then, is what is the actual motivation here?
I think questioning the motivation is leading perhaps to a Generic Fallacy.
The issue is whether or not morality is based on something of personhood or not. Motivation does not give you the answer to that question really.
People's motivation for wanting God to come through for them may be questionable at times and has been. That is not the fault of God.
And that does not make His eternal person without correspondingly eternal attributes such as His righteousness, goodness, holiness and justice.
I think pursuing "motivation" is secondary and could lead to a Genetic Fallacy.
On the contrary in many cases. Knowing that though I can hide my sins from my fellow man, but not at all from the eyes of God could give me uncomfort rather than comfort.
That fact of the matter is that as a big sinner tha...