The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
NJDebater
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

God is not Required for Moral Reasoning

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
JustCallMeTarzan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,176 times Debate No: 7549
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (5)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

The proposition on offer is that God is not required for moral reasoning.

How do we test this proposition? First, by considering what sort of evidence would refute this claim. And what sort of evidence would that be?

If large proportions of devout religious persons (the more fundamentalist, the better) were willing to admit that on moral issues, the removal of God's proscription on the behavior did not change the nature of its moral import, one must admit that God is not required for moral reasoning.

An excerpt from a study conducted on Catholic, Amish, Mennonite, and Jewish children (between ages 10 and 17)(http://tigger.uic.edu...) shows that:

"Between 80 and 100 percent of children across denominations stated that engagement in any of the acts entailing a moral transgression would continue to be wrong even if there were no biblical prescription or statement by God concerning the act. The justifications children provided in support of such judgments all dealt with the intrinsic features of the acts as hurtful or unjust. This last set of findings suggests that even for deeply religious children from fundamentalist or orthodox backgrounds, morality stems from criteria independent of God's word."

Another excerpt from one subject's interview:

I: Should the rule about stealing be followed?
S: Yes, or else we will go to hell. And all of those will know, and those who are on earth already know that hell is a bad place. There's fire and brimstone and you could die down there! And everybody that goes there, they know that they are a sinful person.
I: Suppose all the ministers decided to drop the rule about stealing so that there was no rule about stealing. would that be all right?
S: No.
I: Suppose the people of another religion don't have a rule about stealing. Is that all right?)
S: No.
I: If God hadn't said anything about stealing one way or the other, would it be okay to steal then?
S: No.

If one accepts that these children are reasoning properly about their moral judgments (i.e. that there is indeed something wrong with stealing), then one must also accept that they arrived at the "correct" conclusion about a moral situation without depending on God.

Thus children are capable of engaging in moral reasoning without God's help. Their responses to the interviewers questions indicate that some things are still wrong, even if God had placed no proscription upon them. Absent God's edict, they MUST consult another source to arrive at their conclusion.

Furthermore, the study suggests that there is a recognizable difference between religious convention (wearing a head covering) and moral norms (stealing):

"What is evident in the excerpts of both of these Christian and Jewish children is that they acknowledge that the rule about head coverings is based on the word of authority (God), that it is relative to a particular interpretation or view of that authority's norms, and that it serves the concrete social organizational function of distinguishing girls from boys and members of their particular religious community from others. In contrast with their views about head coverings, both children treated stealing as universally wrong, and wrong even if God did not have a rule about it. The wrongness of stealing, according to both children, is that it leads to hurtful and unjust consequences. According to both children, engagement in such actions has a tendency to generate acts of retaliation which themselves tend to evolve into a vicious circle of self-perpetuating harm and injustice."

Additionally, interviews suggested that even if God specifically stated that an action was permissible, it would remain impermissible:

I: Suppose god had written in the Torah that Jews should steal, would it then be right for Jews to steal?
M: No.

"Our analyses of the children's responses revealed that the majority of children from each denomination and at each age rejected the notion that God's command to steal would make it right to steal."

******************************************

Furthermore, if one accepts that atheists are capable of moral reasoning, it follows that one must also accept that these atheists are morally reasoning without the assistance of God.

Holding that atheists are incapable of moral reasoning because they do not employ the morals espoused by God is complete nonsense. If this were the case, then no non-believer in the Abrahamic God and his commandments would be capable of moral reasoning.

**********************************

Fact - children have shown they are capable of moral reasoning without God's assistance.
Fact - Atheists are capable of moral reasoning without God's assistance.
Fact - Hindus. Buddhists, Daoists, etc... are all capable of moral reasoning without God's assistance.

To hold that God is required for moral reasoning is to entertain an absurdity - that more than 2/3 of this planet is incapable of moral reasoning.

AFFIRMED.
NJDebater

Con

I'm sorry, but i wanted to post this as a comment, but if i did, no one would pay attention, so i am forced to accept the debate.

(By the way, anything that is capital is used as emphasis, and is not meant to be rude.)

just 2 days ago, i was debating and came up on a case about morality. the standard for [morality (the value)] was Kont's categorical imperative.

Basically, it states that religion is not required to determine morality. THEREFORE, i have proven that the resolution MUST be true since this imperative exists. THEREFORE, the resolution is an absolute, and by the Kont's categorical imperative, the NEG can never hope to win, proving the resolution an absolute, and thus, the NEG is not given a chance for a FAIR debate. Therefore, you must vote for NEG.

now, i will go on to debate my best against why god is not needed to determine morality.

This is a epic argument that is hardly debatable, but it still is the least bit controversial, so therefore by this argument, the AFF is given a chance to debate agaisnt this statement: Morality is rooted from religion, and God is the basis of religion.

Now, to rebutt:
My opponent states that people of all these religions do not rely on god to determine morality. However, where do you even think that morality rooted from? where do you think these people even learned what morality was? Schools do not teach moral beliefs: they are a bread-based system, to help people earn money in their future. So, the only place a person gets morality from is religion. I highly doubt that a six-year old is going to be Googling Kont's categorical imperative. Therefore, religion is the basis of morality, and god is the basis of religion. Therefore, God must be used to determine morality.

THUS, NEGATE
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

My opponent seems to be very confused...

He first contends that the resolution is an absolute and that CON cannot win. This is simply not the case. Kant's categorical imperative does not have any sort of final bearing on this issue. It is an argument for the Pro side of the issue, but it is not a trump card. In short, my opponent cannot think of how to formulate a good negative argument, so he has classified the argument as unwinnable.

Responses:

>> "My opponent states that people of all these religions do not rely on god to determine morality. However, where do you even think that morality rooted from?"

Obviously not God, if people from other religions can conceptualize morality without knowing God... Your statement is self-refuting. People cal appeal to utility, subjectivity, convention... a whole host of other concepts to obtain a moral system.

>> "where do you think these people even learned what morality was?"

This is not an argument against my proposition. I have no burden to answer it. I must simply show that some people did not learn morality from God. That said, morality can easily be "learned" by consideration of whatever standard
you wish to apply to "wrong." If people can "learn" morality from God, they can "learn" it from considering utility.

>> "Schools do not teach moral beliefs...So, the only place a person gets morality from is religion."

Appeal to ignorance. You do not understand any of the other systems, therefore yours must be correct. I hope you can see how ridiculous this statement is.

>> "I highly doubt that a six-year old is going to be Googling Kont's categorical imperative."

You need to Google it more. KANT, not KONT.

>> "Therefore, religion is the basis of morality, and god is the basis of religion. Therefore, God must be used to determine morality."

Ad Nauseum fallacy. Respond to my argumentation from the first round that defeats this exact claim. Then we can discuss it.

**********************************

My opponent has put forth no substantive argument. All my points from Round 1 remain in effect.

AFFIRMED.
NJDebater

Con

KANT'S categorical imperative is basically a trump card, im sorry, if the pro uses it, then the con has no way to rebutt it.

First of all, i must say, this is my best debate (only my third debate) on this website. Therefore, i must thank the pro for that.

>>>>Okay, so where did utility, subjectivity, convention, and the beliefs BEHIND THESE IDEAS come from? Religion is a massive determining factor in morality. Also, atheists are actually picking up ideas of morality from other people, who get their ideas of morality from religion. Imagine this morality determining process as a giant, winding cycle. My opponent clearly looks only at one part of the big picture.
>>>>Okay, so where did considering utility come from? From God and religion, morality is rooted. I myself am Hindu. In our "church" we learn all about morality and what is right/wrong to do. What is a sin and what is not. Every religion has a way of determining what sins are. And, sins fall under the category of morality, seen as the opposite of what is moral.
>>>>My opponent says to appeal to ignorance. I would like him to clarify more on this, but in the meantime drop it because of the confusing wording. However, i will still do my best to rebut this. So, I would like my opponent to name even one school that teaches morality (public, not private or religious, since most students attend public schools.) My statement clearly is not ridiculous. If morality does not come from god, then where does it come from. My opponent never even addresses this question, so you can use it against him. AND, on top of that, my opponent never attacks that schools are bread based system, so cross apply that to this argument to support this.
>>>>Now, my opponent mocks me by saying that it's KANT, not kont. Okay, i understand that i misspelled it. But still, that does not attack my point, so extend that. So, we now know that no child will google Kant's categorical imperative, and since morality is determined from childhood, the only thing at that age that preaches morality is religion, and in essence, god.
>>>>Ad nauseum fallacy is basically saying that this is an overused argument. I already rebutted the argument this defeated the claim. So basically, extend this, and this is showing that religion is the basis of morality, and god is the basis of religion. So, indirectly, god is the basis of morality.

"Another excerpt from one subject's interview:

I: Should the rule about stealing be followed?
S: Yes, or else we will go to hell. And all of those will know, and those who are on earth already know that hell is a bad place. There's fire and brimstone and you could die down there! And everybody that goes there, they know that they are a sinful person.
I: Suppose all the ministers decided to drop the rule about stealing so that there was no rule about stealing. would that be all right?
S: No.
I: Suppose the people of another religion don't have a rule about stealing. Is that all right?)
S: No.
I: If God hadn't said anything about stealing one way or the other, would it be okay to steal then?
S: No"
So, just a bit before my opponent had said that just becuase we don't know one's system, we believe ours to be right. Well, this excerpt from my opponent's case is like the core, his argumentation revolves around it and so does his case. Look over his case and rebuttals and you will see that. So, his argument on my case rebutted his own argument. Therefore, drop his argument, and his rebuttal. Now, basically, i destroyed the core of his case. That is like taking the nucleus out of the cell. If a cell has no nucleus, it will die, and the organelles will go haywire. Apply that analogy to his case, and its core. So, just drop the case, since he has nothing to link it back to.

My two sentence case remains unattacked, so extend that. Therefore, you must be negating at the end of the day, becuase if my opponent agrees with my case, since he fails to rebut, then he abandons his own case.

Reasons to negate for this round:
1) I highly doubt that a six-year old is going to be Googling Kant's categorical imperative. (which was extended)
2) Therefore, religion is the basis of morality, and god is the basis of religion. Therefore, God must be used to determine morality. (extended as well)
3) my opponent resorts to mockery in order to try to make me think badly of my own case. So, use this as an independent voter and basically, this is another reason not to vote for him: rudeness/mockery.
4) my very short case is left unattacked. """"now, i will go on to debate my best against why god is not needed to determine morality.

This is a epic argument that is hardly debatable, but it still is the least bit controversial, so therefore by this argument, the AFF is given a chance to debate agaisnt this statement: Morality is rooted from religion, and God is the basis of religion.""" (people are supposed to rebutt points one at a time. a voter should not have to think, and if he/she did not, he/she can clearly see that he does not cross-apply his argument to my case, thus making it seem unattacked.)

For all of these reasons, I urge you to negate, resolved: "God is not Required for Moral Reasoning."
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

I'm sorry, but my opponent is still very confused.

Kant's categorical imperative is not a "trump card" on three accounts. First, it is open to the criticism that it is still a subjective form of morality in that the particulars of the maxim depend on the individual - i.e. it is not logically incoherent for a sadomasochist to will that it be a universal maxim that all persons cut themselves. Second, like other forms of rule-utilitarianism, it must collapse into act-utilitarianism with the only applicable universal maxim being "maximize probable benefit." Third, it is certainly possible that the particulars of any maxim uttered in the categorical imperative could ACCORD with God's law and thus negate it as an exception to religious morality. Therefore, it is clear that Kant's categorical imperative has no standing as a "trump card."

Responses:

>> "Okay, so where did utility, subjectivity, convention, and the beliefs BEHIND THESE IDEAS come from?"

The beliefs behind these ideas do not require religious principles. What kind of religious principle could possibly explain the notion that people should act how they saw fit (subjectivism). The ideas behind these ways of evaluating situations with moral import are not connected to religious principles at all, and often run counter to religious principles. The notion that they are based on religion is clearly false, since they deliver counter-religious results.

>> "I myself am Hindu. In our "church" we learn all about morality and what is right/wrong to do"

My opponent has conceded the debate with this line. If he is Hindu, he does not believe in God, yet considers himself capable of moral reasoning.

>> "My opponent says to appeal to ignorance. My statement clearly is not ridiculous. If morality does not come from god, then where does it come from."

Appeal to ignorance is a logical fallacy. Statements that meet the criteria for this fallacy, which yours did, are inadmissible in argumentation. Furthermore, I have already provided three alternative systems for where morality comes from - subjectivism, conventionalism, and utlitarianism. As you yourself said, morality is not taught in schools. But that fact has nothing to do with where the ideas that let us describe morality come from. Also, whether or not schools are a "bread based system" is not pertinent to this debate and is thus another fallacy - red herring.

>> "So, we now know that no child will google Kant's categorical imperative, and since morality is determined from childhood, the only thing at that age that preaches morality is religion, and in essence, god."

Since children can't properly conceptualize morality ANYWAY, your sentence is meaningless. Furthermore, Kant's system of morality is not the only one. This line of reasoning involves begging the question, appeal to ignorance, and appeal to improper authority - in short - a terrible piece of debating. One could EASILY imagine someone teaching their children morality as a function of securing the best possible outcome for the most people. That is a moral system completely independent of God.

>> "this is showing that religion is the basis of morality, and god is the basis of religion. So, indirectly, god is the basis of morality."

My opponent has shown no such thing. He has simply asserted that religious principles are the basis for morality with is in DIRECT OPPOSITION to the evidence I presented in the first round. Though he may wish it were the case, his conjecture is NOT evidence that refutes my claim.

************************************************

My opponent has yet to refute my claim.

He states that religious principles are the basis for moral reasoning. However, I have presented several cases against this point:

1) Fact - children have shown they are capable of moral reasoning without God's assistance.
2) Fact - Atheists are capable of moral reasoning without God's assistance.
3) Fact - Hindus. Buddhists, Daoists, etc... are all capable of moral reasoning without God's assistance.

He has not rebutted ANY of these claims, the presence of any ONE of is enough to secure the resolution.

For him to win this debate, he must demonstrate that moral reasoning cannot take place without appealing to God in some fashion. He seems not to understand this prerogative, and has not put forth ANY evidence to support his claims. He has asserted without a source or reason that morality is dependent on religion. I'm sorry - but your conjecture is NOT a source.

Furthermore, he has supported his position by asking where else morality comes from. I have provided four alternative positions (non-cognitivism, utilitarianism, subjectivism, and conventionalism), yet he has rebutted none of these points.

Thus, it is clear that my opponent has not addressed my argument at all, except in the sense of "NUH-UH, you're wrong!" Unfortunately for him, this is not a valid method of debate.

AFFIRMED.
NJDebater

Con

NJDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Yuanti 8 years ago
Yuanti
Haha - I don't think so. This is well beyond my expertise and all you would have to do is spank with me with buzz words and I'd run home crying.
Posted by Epicism 8 years ago
Epicism
Sorry NJDebater but abuse doesn't work in debate.org because you ACCEPTED the debate which checks abuse because you knew the resolution before hand and had a choice whether to join in or not. Nice try though.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
@ yuanti

you got that right... you care to take it?
Posted by Yuanti 8 years ago
Yuanti
"Kant's categorical imperative is not a "trump card" on three accounts.."

This is a sign that the debate isn't going well when the Pro has to boost Con's morale and then proceed to help give them arguments..

Hopefully next debate you will find a more engaging debater Tarzan.
Posted by Common_Sense_Please 8 years ago
Common_Sense_Please
So, the only place a person gets morality from is religion." What happened before religion then? And how about people who grow up atheist? Do they have no morals? Totally ridiculous.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
To continue IT's comment...

And when choosing an objective framework for morality, there are several options. You can appeal to God. You can appeal to Allah. You can appeal to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can appeal to the tenants of Buddhism. You can appeal to Klopthag the Destroyer. You can appeal to utilitarianism. You can appeal to conventionalism...

As long as whatever you appeal to has universal application - it's an objective source of morality.
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
force they can't govern their own morals... "

That's the problem, all it would really be is their own definition of morals. The real question is, how can someone rightly superimpose their own definition of morality on people and expect it to be both obligatory and binding. At what point does the "what's right for you is right for you" slogan of postmodernism become, "what's right for you is ACTUALLY wrong." Without an objective basis no one can rightly say another person is wrong - at least not in any real sense.
Posted by Common_Sense_Please 8 years ago
Common_Sense_Please
It takes a very weak person to think that without the presence of an imaginary force they can't govern their own morals... I pity few people but I pity them.
Posted by Johnicle 8 years ago
Johnicle
thinking about it... thinking about it... I might take this up if I get enough time on my hands. Unlikely however.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
@Charles

"God is required for morals to be universal, thus logical."

Fails on two accounts. First, God is not required for morals to be universal. It just requires a governing force. Nature is one. Second, whether or not something is logical has nothing to do with whether or not it is universal.

"In an atheistic Universe laws of morality or logic have know meaning or bases what so ever."

Wrong. It would have no *objective* meaning or *objective* basis. This statement presumes a God in that it hints that meaning and purpose should exist universally, outside human society.

"Thus these laws must be immaterial."

Combo non-sequitor and begging the question fallacies. To conclude that they are immaterial, you must assume a God-given meaning and basis are the essence of morality and logic.

"No Atheist can counter debate this"

I'm an Agnostic :) But seriously, you shouldn't be so cocky on debate.org, everyone thinks that they're the ones with the answers when in reality, none of us know anything. You're no exception to the rule. Every argument can be defeated.

"and it is their arrogance to the true word of God that forces them to believe other wise."

You mean "ignorance". And another possibility is that they decided to think.

"Only a fool suppresses the truth."

Agreed. Which is why on debate.org, we ignore people who tell us they have an uncounterable argument and go for it anyway :)
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