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Moral Argument for the Existence of God

SS-Maynes
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5/3/2014 7:08:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The following moral argument is a brief excerpt from pages 2/3 of the Preview on my website at www.religiouspluralism.ca, i.e.

"Kant"s moral argument may be stated quite simply: God is not directly apparent in the phenomenal material world, but may exist in a noumenal spiritual realm. Since humans can "know" nothing directly about the noumenal realm, the existence of God cannot be "proven" beyond a doubt. However, to account for moral feelings of conscience, the existence of objective moral values, and the rationality of pursuing the highest good (universal virtue as a means to greatest happiness) we must assume the existence of God.

Without prejudice, we must assume that the rational disbeliever, as well as the doubting believer, will act as if some sort of divinity exists, recognizing (if only obscurely or unconsciously) that the moral law (the universal categorical imperative of pure reason) is the absolute upon which the whole of law and justice are grounded, and that without God, nothing is Absolute, but all is relative.

You don"t have to believe in God in order to be moral, but it helps. After all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view. Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste (character virtues, values, and goodwill).

Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness. Then, moral maxims must be a matter of taste and muddled reason; and then there is no sound foundation for world-wide law and justice. But if there is no absolutely universal basis for moral fairness (that most people can at least dimly sense and recognize), then mediocre maxims become acceptable (e.g. When in Rome do as the Romans do... Look out for number one, and devil take the hindmost... etc.). Then ultimately, even anti-social maxims bespeaking elitist attitudes are no longer not questioned, but are respected, and even celebrated by some (e.g., David Hume"s famous moral question: "Why should I not prefer the destruction of worlds, to the scratching of my little finger?" " What"s it to me?).

Thus, we conclude that there must be One God upholding the absolute universal law of justice, mercy, and ethical behaviour; which is expressed in the personal Golden Rule (taught by Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and many others), as well as in the universal moral law of the One Categorical Imperative enunciated by Kant. This is the common denominator of the highest expression of objective morality, and we take it from Hegel that the highest idea is the absolute of its kind, and the Absolute of all kinds is God."

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca
Idealist
Posts: 2,520
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5/3/2014 7:22:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/3/2014 7:08:04 PM, SS-Maynes wrote:
The following moral argument is a brief excerpt from pages 2/3 of the Preview on my website at www.religiouspluralism.ca, i.e.

"Kant"s moral argument may be stated quite simply: God is not directly apparent in the phenomenal material world, but may exist in a noumenal spiritual realm. Since humans can "know" nothing directly about the noumenal realm, the existence of God cannot be "proven" beyond a doubt. However, to account for moral feelings of conscience, the existence of objective moral values, and the rationality of pursuing the highest good (universal virtue as a means to greatest happiness) we must assume the existence of God.

Without prejudice, we must assume that the rational disbeliever, as well as the doubting believer, will act as if some sort of divinity exists, recognizing (if only obscurely or unconsciously) that the moral law (the universal categorical imperative of pure reason) is the absolute upon which the whole of law and justice are grounded, and that without God, nothing is Absolute, but all is relative.

You don"t have to believe in God in order to be moral, but it helps. After all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view. Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste (character virtues, values, and goodwill).

Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness. Then, moral maxims must be a matter of taste and muddled reason; and then there is no sound foundation for world-wide law and justice. But if there is no absolutely universal basis for moral fairness (that most people can at least dimly sense and recognize), then mediocre maxims become acceptable (e.g. When in Rome do as the Romans do... Look out for number one, and devil take the hindmost... etc.). Then ultimately, even anti-social maxims bespeaking elitist attitudes are no longer not questioned, but are respected, and even celebrated by some (e.g., David Hume"s famous moral question: "Why should I not prefer the destruction of worlds, to the scratching of my little finger?" " What"s it to me?).

Thus, we conclude that there must be One God upholding the absolute universal law of justice, mercy, and ethical behaviour; which is expressed in the personal Golden Rule (taught by Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and many others), as well as in the universal moral law of the One Categorical Imperative enunciated by Kant. This is the common denominator of the highest expression of objective morality, and we take it from Hegel that the highest idea is the absolute of its kind, and the Absolute of all kinds is God."

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca

Not bad . . .
RandomTruth
Posts: 1
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5/3/2014 10:48:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/3/2014 7:08:04 PM, SS-Maynes wrote:
The following moral argument is a brief excerpt from pages 2/3 of the Preview on my website at www.religiouspluralism.ca, i.e.

"Kant"s moral argument may be stated quite simply: God is not directly apparent in the phenomenal material world, but may exist in a noumenal spiritual realm. Since humans can "know" nothing directly about the noumenal realm, the existence of God cannot be "proven" beyond a doubt. However, to account for moral feelings of conscience, the existence of objective moral values, and the rationality of pursuing the highest good (universal virtue as a means to greatest happiness) we must assume the existence of God.

This is a circular argument! It already discounts itself as a proof for God because it already takes his existence as an pre-requisite!

Without prejudice, we must assume that the rational disbeliever, as well as the doubting believer, will act as if some sort of divinity exists, recognizing (if only obscurely or unconsciously) that the moral law (the universal categorical imperative of pure reason) is the absolute upon which the whole of law and justice are grounded, and that without God, nothing is Absolute, but all is relative.

This is confusing the actual existence of God, which is unproven, with the belief of in the existence of God, which is all there is, of course.

You don"t have to believe in God in order to be moral, but it helps. After all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view. Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste (character virtues, values, and goodwill).

God is merely another moral agent so religious morality is just as ethically relative as any other.

Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness. Then, moral maxims must be a matter of taste and muddled reason; and then there is no sound foundation for world-wide law and justice.

We already take God's moral claims with a pinch of salt and pick and choose anyway so there already is no foundation for world-wide law and justice with God's own moral system. It has already failed.

Thus, we conclude that there must be One God upholding the absolute universal law of justice, mercy, and ethical behaviour; which is expressed in the personal Golden Rule (taught by Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and many others), as well as in the universal moral law of the One Categorical Imperative enunciated by Kant. This is the common denominator of the highest expression of objective morality, and we take it from Hegel that the highest idea is the absolute of its kind, and the Absolute of all kinds is God."

No we must conclude:

1. That God's moral system is a failure.
2. That God can't even keep to a single set of laws anyway and is just as morally relative and random as the human morality (coincidentally, ... not!)
3. His failure is more likely explainable by his non-existence.
PureX
Posts: 1,519
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5/4/2014 1:17:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At best, all this argument is doing is renaming the phenomena of human morality, "God".

Human morality is the result of humans evolving to survive and thrive cooperatively, and via intelligence (vs., say, speed, or size, or power). Morality is how we establish a balance between the well-being of the collective, and the well-being of the individual. (Actually, that's ethics; morality is just the application of our ethical imperatives).

Theists can and often do claim that morality is a manifestation of the divine nature (God's will, etc.), and it's a reasonable proposition, but we have no way of verifying this.
SS-Maynes
Posts: 11
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5/9/2014 10:14:48 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/3/2014 10:48:38 PM, RandomTruth wrote:
God can't even keep to a single set of laws anyway and is just as morally relative and random as the human morality.

The one categorical imperative " Act as you would have everybody act " is an "objective" (even absolute) moral law which we give to ourselves based on pure reason. This law is objective in the same sense that mathematics (e.g. 2+2=4) is a synthetic a priori object of reason, and can be relied upon.

As the great idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant put it, practical reason requires us to "act as if God exists." For it is not God (whose will it may however be), but reason that gives us the universal moral law.

Not God, but pure reason dictates, and practical reason authorizes us to assume the prime moral directive expressed personally in the Golden Rule, which is universal among all major religions; and more generally in the One Categorical Imperative, enunciated by the great philosopher. Meditating on the existence and nature of God, human reason naturally and inevitably rises to a divine concept of universal pure practical moral duty, which requires freewill, and can only be perfected in a sequence of lives, with the help of God.

More than just a rational construct, the systematic unity of this comprehensive worldview authorizes us to stake our lives on the principle of universal morality " the one categorical imperative or Golden Rule " and the three postulates of practical reason: freewill, God, and immortality.

As Kant says, I would find myself abhorrent in my own eyes if I did not obey the one moral law; and the existence of God is "necessary to give this law adequate efficiency, and for us, obligatory force." Because after all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view.

It is for the highest theoretical and practical reasons of systematic unity that we will that the maxim of our actions should conform to a universal law. This objective moral law " the categorical imperative " is expressed personally in the Golden Rule; Do as you would be done by others. In regard to any action of moral significance, this rule prompts the personal question: "How would you like it if somebody did that to you?" In more general terms, the universal categorical imperative boils down to; Act as you would have everyone act, which suggests the universal question regarding the morality of any contemplated action: "What if everybody did that?"

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca
SS-Maynes
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6/23/2014 5:51:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/4/2014 1:17:39 PM, PureX wrote:
Human morality is the result of humans evolving to survive and thrive cooperatively...
As I recall, in his book "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins made the argument that reciprocal morality (I"ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine... Be nice to others, if they are nice to you) is an "evolutionally successful strategy."

However, reciprocal or conditional morality turns Jesus" Golden Rule upside-down to make it read: "Do not as you would be done by others, but as you are done by them." This is just Old Testament retributive justice disguised as mutual benevolence. Better than no morals at all, the old scriptures are certainly not the last word in morality, because when push comes to shove they authorize returning evil for evil.

In fact, Jesus taught just the opposite, i.e. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you" Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you..." etc., etc. (Mat. 6:38-44). But make no mistake, doing your duty and trying to "overcome evil with good" can get you killed, and often it is the moral cowards who survive.

In my draft book currently previewing on the web at www.religiouspluralism.ca, I make the point that God must remain hidden in his creation (maintaining what theologians call "epistemic distance") because absolute certainty about his existence would infringe upon our free choice in matters of morality. Being ever-conscious of his ubiquitous presence, our actions would not be from moral duty, but from prudence and desire for reward. Similarly, if we knew for certain that there is an afterlife, it would remove the perceived necessity to "overcome evil with good" in this life, because there will be another life.

Whatever your moral maxims are, it is only rational that they apply to you and not just to others. The "universality" of any maxim worthy of the name moral is widely recognized, and the differences in different cultures do not amount to anything like a fundamental disagreement with the universal moral law " "Act as you would have everybody act."

Samuel Stuart Maynes
www.religiouspluralism.ca
PureX
Posts: 1,519
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6/23/2014 7:08:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/23/2014 5:51:31 PM, SS-Maynes wrote:
At 5/4/2014 1:17:39 PM, PureX wrote:
Human morality is the result of humans evolving to survive and thrive cooperatively...

In fact, Jesus taught just the opposite, i.e. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you" Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you..." etc., etc. (Mat. 6:38-44). But make no mistake, doing your duty and trying to "overcome evil with good" can get you killed, and often it is the moral cowards who survive.

I do not believe one can reasonably assimilate the ideal of Christ without understanding the concept and reality of transcendence. What Jesus is preaching and exemplifying is transcendent of natural law. Just as life is transcendent of natural law. And so is consciousness.

Jesus is introducing us to the next transcendent level of being: a new form of consciousness that transcends individual well-being (i.e., our own needs and desires) in favor of a collective, holistic, and intrinsic awareness of value.

In my draft book currently previewing on the web at www.religiouspluralism.ca, I make the point that God must remain hidden in his creation (maintaining what theologians call "epistemic distance") because absolute certainty about his existence would infringe upon our free choice in matters of morality. Being ever-conscious of his ubiquitous presence, our actions would not be from moral duty, but from prudence and desire for reward. Similarly, if we knew for certain that there is an afterlife, it would remove the perceived necessity to "overcome evil with good" in this life, because there will be another life.

That seems a rather anthropomorphic way of conceiving of "God". I would say that God is not "hiding" from us at all. It's just that our level of intellectual understanding and awareness is so limited that we can't see and understand the 'divine reality' that's all around us. Sort of the way a fish has little or no conception of the 'water' that envelopes and sustains it.

Whatever your moral maxims are, it is only rational that they apply to you and not just to others. The "universality" of any maxim worthy of the name moral is widely recognized, and the differences in different cultures do not amount to anything like a fundamental disagreement with the universal moral law " "Act as you would have everybody act."

I think Jesus was teaching something greater then that. I think he was teaching us to act for the greater good, because it IS the greater good. Not because it's good for us.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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6/23/2014 8:49:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/3/2014 7:08:04 PM, SS-Maynes wrote:
Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste...

Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness....

Thus, we conclude that there must be One God upholding the absolute universal law of justice, mercy, and ethical behaviour;

So in other words...

P1: If God doesn't exist then morality is subjective
P2: I do not like the idea of morality being subjective
C: Therefore God must exist.

Please enlighten me as to what I missed.
Amoranemix
Posts: 521
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6/25/2014 2:54:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
SS-Maynes 1
Without prejudice, we must assume that the rational disbeliever, as well as the doubting believer, will act as if some sort of divinity exists, recognizing (if only obscurely or unconsciously) that the moral law (the universal categorical imperative of pure reason) is the absolute upon which the whole of law and justice are grounded, and that without God, nothing is Absolute, but all is relative.
Why must we assume the rational disbeliever acts as if some sort of divinity exists ?
What evidence can you present that without God nothing is Absolute, but all is relative ?

SS-Maynes 1
You don"t have to believe in God in order to be moral, but it helps. After all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal), that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view.[1] Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste (character virtues, values, and goodwill).[2]
[1] Can you prove that ?
[2] Sorry, but you are making little sense to me.

SS-Maynes 1
Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness.
What evidence can you present to support that claim ?

SS-Maynes 5
The one categorical imperative " Act as you would have everybody act " is an "objective" (even absolute) moral law which we give to ourselves based on pure reason. This law is objective in the same sense that mathematics (e.g. 2+2=4) is a synthetic a priori object of reason, and can be relied upon.
Your moral imperative is actually subjective as it depends on someone referred to as 'you'. Peculiarly as well your moral imperative is independent from God. Similarly though, an objective moral imperative that also independent from God can be devised.

SS-Maynes 5
More than just a rational construct, the systematic unity of this comprehensive worldview authorizes us to stake our lives on the principle of universal morality " the one categorical imperative or Golden Rule " and the three postulates of practical reason: freewill, God, and immortality.
Is that a fact or just your personal opinion ?

SS-Maynes 6
However, reciprocal or conditional morality turns Jesus" Golden Rule upside-down to make it read: "Do not as you would be done by others, but as you are done by them."[3] This is just Old Testament retributive justice disguised as mutual benevolence. Better than no morals at all, the old scriptures are certainly not the last word in morality, because when push comes to shove they authorize returning evil for evil.
[3] That is incorrect. Evolution by natural selection does not forbid doing as you would be done by others.

SS-Maynes 6
In my draft book currently previewing on the web at www.religiouspluralism.ca, I make the point that God must remain hidden in his creation (maintaining what theologians call "epistemic distance") because absolute certainty about his existence would infringe upon our free choice in matters of morality. Being ever-conscious of his ubiquitous presence, our actions would not be from moral duty, but from prudence and desire for reward. Similarly, if we knew for certain that there is an afterlife, it would remove the perceived necessity to "overcome evil with good" in this life, because there will be another life.
How would infringing upon our free choices in matters of morality constitute sufficient reason for God to hide ?
Which of the following is preferable ?
- I rape a child because I enjoy raping children.
- I don't rape a child because I am afraid of God.
In addition, belief in God varies from certainty that he doesn't exist to certainty that he does exist. What is the optimal degree of belief and why doesn't God ensure that everyone has that optimal degree of belief ?
Christians often argue that there is no need to overcome evil in this life precisely because there is an afterlife. Are those Christians wrong ?

Your post seems to be mostly philosophical banter surrounding bald assertions that God exists.
Also, as double_R pointed out, you seem to be relying on the nirvana fallacy : you like a world with God better than one without and therefore the former must be the true world.
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Ajab
Posts: 395
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6/25/2014 3:23:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The reason you are all misunderstanding it is because you do not understand the conceptualization of necessity Kant attributes to certain elements, and how he draws these conclusion. They are found in his Kritik der reinen Vernunft, of Pure Reason.
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!