Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Philosophy of Religion - Craig's Metaethical Argument for God's Existence

For my MCCC Philosophy of Religion students:

1. State Craig's argument:

1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

This is a logically valid argument, which means: if the premises are true, the conclusion is necessarily true.

2. How does Craig defend P1?

a. By "objective moral value" (OMV) we mean: a moral value that is true independently of what people think of it. Thus, if it is true, it is true for everyone. Like, e.g., the statement The lights in this room are on.

b. Give the "teacher analogy" I used in class.

c. Craig cites a number of atheists who admit that, on their atheism, ethics is illusory.

3. How does Craig defend P2?

Many atheists agree that OMVs exist. Such as, e.g., Sam Harris in the Harris-Craig debate, and Michael Ruse (in the Craig essay).

OMVs function as "properly basic beliefs." A properly basic belief is one that we believe to be true without being able to evidentially prove it. Examples are: 1+1=2, and I see a car coming towards me (Implying that My senses provide reliable information about the outside world.). Even though we can't prove either of these statements to be true, we are rational in believing them until we are given a good reason not to.

For example we know that Racism is wrong. We apprehend this to be true. So, moral values are apprehended. Like we apprehend, by sense experience, that the lights are either on or off. Moral values function like "properly basic beliefs."
Both atheists and theists recognize that OMVs exist. This is not surprising if God exists. If humans are God’s image-bearers, then it’s not surprising that they are capable of recognizing or knowing the same sorts of moral values – whether theists or not.
[Note: Theistic philosopher Paul Copan writes: “We possess an in-built “yuck factor” - basic moral intuitions about the wrongness of torturing babies for fun, of raping, murdering, or abusing children. We can also recognize the virtue of kindness or selflessness, the obligation to treat others as we would want to be treated, and the moral difference between Mother Teresa and Josef Stalin. Those not recognizing such truths as properly basic are simply wrong and morally dysfunctional.”]