Responding to “The Moral Argument” by drcraigvideos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU)
Hi I’m Abdullah Sameer, and I’m going to be responding to “The Moral Argument” by DrCraigVideos (Reasonable Faith)
1) Without some objective reference point, we have no way of saying something is up or down
Okay, so let’s make an objective reference point. In a world without consciousness, say a world of rocks and trees, would we care about morality? No. There would be no need to worry about morality. In our world, Pain and suffering and misery is bad. Happiness, thriving, and joy are good. The flourishing of beings with consciousness is what matters. So, we base our morality on this. Anyone disagree?
2) God’s nature provides an objective reference point for moral values.
Hmm. How do you know God’s nature? Did he tell you? Oh, wait you mean in that book? But that book is full of immorality, it allows and justifies slavery, and it allows having sex with your slaves, beating your wife (with certain conditions) or in the case of the Bible it prescribed capital punishment for cursing your parents as in the Bible (Leviticus 20:9)
Is this God’s nature? Shall we pick and choose? Because all I see is the best and worst of humanity in there, and God’s threats of eternal torture (especially eternal torture for a finite crime as understood by majority of Christians and Muslims). I don’t see anything that I would call “objectively moral”, would you? Do we truly know for sure that these are God’s wishes? Because there is great doubt God would want us to harm each other this way. Shouldn’t we leave these things in the past where they belong and move on?
3) All we are left is one person’s viewpoint. This is subjective not objective. Like a preference for strawberry ice cream. doesn’t apply to other people
Who is to say that God’s viewpoint is not just another opinion as well? That God is not a subject. What makes God’s opinion right? Is it because he’s the most powerful and he can harm us if we don’t obey?
Does might make right?
Does God have our best interests at heart? How do we know? If God commanded us something that is harmful to others, or preferred one group against another, would it still be right to obey God? If we define God as caring, wouldn’t he have designed the world to minimize unnecessary suffering? Couldn’t he still have allowed us free will while placing limits on our ability to cause suffering? Surely he could. So, if he is real, he intentionally is allowing us to suffer while having the ability to stop it. Is there any evidence that there is a God out there that cares about us? Is there anyone watching or listening when we cry to God? Doesn’t seem like it. As the Harvard Prayer Study showed, prayers seem to have the same effect as placebo, meaning no effect.
4) God’s essential attribute of love is expressed in his command to love your neighbour. This command provides a foundation upon which we can firm objective goodness generosity self sacrifice and equality and we can condemn greed abuse and discrimination
God doesn’t have any essential attributes that we can outright define without referring to holy books.
There’s no way to know what God wants us to do unless you accept one of the mutually-exclusive holy books. These holy books were written hundreds of years ago, most likely NOT from God, and even if they were, why would God require us to rigidly follow them when we can do perfectly well by coming up with rules for society ourselves? Does it matter what God said? Because we will all cherry pick in different ways.
Look at this example: You have a son, you gave him everything he ever needed in life. You worked two jobs to pay for his bills, and I gave up your dreams so that he could have his. Now your son is terrible, we sweats at you, he never wants to speak to you again. He won’t let you see your grandkids. Despite how much goodness you did to him, would you ever want to hurt him in any way? Would you wish that he would be physically tortured or punished? Or would you let it go, and be the better person? Contrast that to God. God is defined in the Bible and Quran in an awful way. It says In the Quran God says he never forgives anyone that worships other than him
Does that sound like essential attributes we should model?
5) is something good because god wills it? Or is it good..
This is known as the Euthyphro dilemma. Something is good because it’s good, not because God says so. Rape killing and murder can never be good, no matter how you try to spin it. If God commanded such things we would call that God evil, not say those things as good now.
6) God is the standard of moral values
Who is the standard? How is he the standard? Who is he? Why does he matter? Don’t consequences matter? Aren’t consequences the only thing that matters? What if God gave you standards that did not lead to good actions, should you still do it? What if we improved on the rulings that God provided us? What if we found a better way to deal with infidelity than stoning or flogging? Would god want us to continue doing this, despite having a more effective means to deal with it?
Please see my video on the punishment for adultery for more details.
Saying God is the standard of moral values is like me saying the Hairy Man of the Mountain is the source for objective morality. Everyone else’s morality is subjective except the man of the mountain – his is objective. Why must you accept my claim? Should we not look at what I am prescribing and the harms and benefits of it and then decide? What if the hairy man said that every 4th child should walk in darkness? That we must pluck his eyeballs when he hits the age of puberty? Or should we just accept the Hairy Man’s decree as final and binding despite it seeming to have huge flaws in it?
7) Who or what lays such duties upon us?
We lay such duties upon ourselves. We work together in the framework of a society knowing that our actions will have effects on others and work for the betterment of the whole. This is not rocket science!
For example, in Buddhism, which is a religion without the concept of God and is 2500 years old, it teaches some good values.
The Five Precepts in positive terms
1. Act with Loving-kindness;
2. Be open hearted and generous;
3. Practice stillness, simplicity and contentment;
4. Speak with truth, clarity and peace;
5. Live with mindfulness.
We also find the code of Ur-Namu, is the oldest known law code existing today from 2100BCE, which was written on tablets, has many such laws as well prohibiting murder, robbery, kidnapping, and so on. This makes it over 4000 years old, without any reference to Abrahamic law code.
Many of the ancient codes are written far better than any Jewish or Abrahamic law code, without any reference to God. Just look at the 5 precepts of Buddhism.
8) Humans are just animals
Maybe. Maybe we are animals. But we are smarter than most animals and that gives us both power and the responsibility to discharge that power wisely.
9) Animals have no obligations to one another
WLC claims we have an innate sense of morality. Okay, great! Let’s just keep listening to it and coming up with nice rules like the Golden Rule. No need for God to appear; no need to reveal himself in books. He already instilled his rules in us. So why does he say this? Because he’s trying to use it to prove the existence of God, a different discussion altogether. What we call our sense of morality evolved just as it did in other species. And you can see “morality” exists in less evolved forms in other animals.
Elephants experience compassion. Scientists have found evidence of elephants helping injured or ill members of their herd.
There is an example with monkeys where a male monkey gave his food away to an older female even when there was no benefit to him.
Rats will stop eating food if an experimenter causes another rat to receive a shock.
Where do you think our morals came from? They came from evolution and the evolution of our culture!
Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene” has explained how altruism is beneficial to our survival. It makes for a positive sum gain. That means when we help others, we end up ourselves too
10) When a cat kills a mouse, it hasn’t done anything morally wrong, it’s just being a cat
Cats are killing mice for survival. When humans kill, we must look at the intention. Was my intention to run over your leg with my car? Or was it by accident? Obviously that matters. Why are we arguing that if God doesn’t exist we all act like cats? I mean I like cats, but still.
11) if God doesn’t exist, we should view human behaviour in the same way.
So, if God suddenly didn’t disappeared (but left the universe, earth, and humans all intact, as we are), we should all kill murder and rob from each other? Why? Why can’t we agree on certain rules to govern ourselves? Why must we allow things that clearly cause harm? Let’s just say for the sake of argument he doesn’t exist. Shouldn’t we continue to live by the same rules as if he did? Of course we should.
12) But good and bad right and wrong do exist
They do, in reference to humans, and from our perspective. And that’s what matters. Who cares what God thinks, honestly? What matters is the outcome of our actions. if they cause harm, they are bad. If they bring goodness, they are good. This is the only OBJECTIVE way to measure actions.
13) Every time you say that’s not fair, that’s wrong, you affirm your existence in objective morals
Objective morals do exist only because we agreed on a subjective basis for them which is human well being. How can we say objective morals exist “period”?
14) We believe child abuse, racial discrimination and terrorism are wrong, for everybody, always. Is this personal preference or opinion?
We again agreed that human flourishing is good, so based on this, we can easily form an objective basis and say all these things are wrong in most situations, despite what holy books may allow.
15) We’re well aware that child abuse, racial discrimination and terrorism and wrong, for everyone, always – is this just a personal preference or opinion?
If that’s the case, Why does the Quran allow sleeping with your female captives of war? Why does the Quran allow beating your wife (Refer to response video to NAK) Why does the Bible allow beating your slave (if he doesn’t die as in Exodus 20 21). Why does God in Numbers 31:18 allow the Israelites to keep all the virgin Midianite women as slaves? Was god acting “morally” here?
How is this *objectively* good? Why would he allow such a thing during this instance? Or in the history of Islam, temporary marriage was allowed for a period of time where a man can contract a woman as his wife for a period of time for a sum of money (similar to prostitution), why is this the case if right and wrong are objective according to God?
16) What all this amounts to is a moral argument for the existence of God.
No, it doesn’t. What if God was immoral?
17) If God doesn’t exist, objective moral values and duties don’t exist. But they do, so God exists
Nobody has demonstrated that purely objective moral values do exist.
Purely objective ones don’t exist. They’re subjective, even though we perceive them as objective through our lens.
18) Atheism fails to provide a foundation for the moral reality every one of us experiences every day
Yes, that’s right. Atheism is simply the denial of god. Secular humanism provides a foundation for morality that we are looking for here. It doesn’t have all the answers. But together as human beings, we are reasoning about ethics together. And we are light years ahead of the so-called “revealed” scriptures in this regard.
19) The existence of objective morality points us directly to the existence of God
Not at all. This has not been demonstrated or proven in any way.
In conclusion, Every religion comes with different claims. Purely objective morals don’t exist. But despite whether we believe in God or not and what religion we follow, we can all agree on an objective foundation that focuses on the well being of conscious creatures and making this world a better place.