Ultimate Questions: Can Objective Morality Exist Without God?

Can’t people who don’t believe in God be just as moral as those who do? Why   say that the existence of human morality points to the existence of a “Higher Power”?

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If God does not exist then objective moral principles and obligations do not exist. Morality would only be a matter of individual or cultural opinion. But this would mean that torturing babies for fun, rape, & child abuse are not really objectively wrong, and are only a matter of opinion. How likely is it, though, that these atrocities are not really objectively wrong? Can you live with this conclusion? Our deepest intuitions inform us that these actions are horribly wrong.

This is really a summary of a moral argument for God’s existence. Formally it looks like this:

Questions about faith? Bring your doubts
Why would I need faith?: Find some answers

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral principles & obligations do not exist
  2. Objective moral principles & obligations do exist
  3. Therefore, God exists

Consider premise 2. By objective we mean independent of opinion, just like 2 + 2 = 4 is objectively true even if everyone in the world disagreed. Despite people’s claims to being relativists, most people live as if they do believe in objective moral principles & obligations. It’s easy to say there are no objective moral principles & obligations, but it’s much more difficult to live as if there are none.

The judgments we make when ourselves and others are unjustly treated, like in the above atrocities, reveal what we really believe about morality, regardless of what we say we believe. We believe that these atrocities are moral abominations, not just infringements of mere social conventions or personal dislikes. If objective moral principles & obligations do not exist where does our sense of duty and obligation come from?

This leads us to premise 1. If there is no God it is difficult to see how there could be any objective foundation, any universal standard for good and evil. How do you get ethics from only different arrangements of space, time, matter and energy? A purely materialistic universe would be morally indifferent. We would have only individual or cultural opinion, but no objectively binding moral obligations!

Some have suggested that we can provide an objective foundation for morality without appealing to God. Morality has just evolved over the centuries, they suggest, because it promotes human flourishing and survival. Whatever promotes human flourishing and survival is good. Whatever doesn’t promote human flourishing and survival is bad. That is all we need for objectivity in morality, they claim.There is no need for God.

But if God does not exist, the critical assumption that human beings are objectively valuable is not available. Humans, like everything else in the universe, would be just accidental arrangements of atoms, and therefore, we could not justifiably declare that humans are objectively valuable. Furthermore why think the morality of the human species, above all other species, is objectively binding rather than just our opinion?

Moreover, if morality evolved because it produced survival benefits, we would not have objective moral principles & obligations. We would sense that objective moral obligations exist, but they really wouldn’t. Once we’ve figured out that our feeling of morality with regard to say, rape, is just a biological adaptation inculcated into us over millions of years, then we would have no reason to regard rape as objectively wrong anymore.

Since, we know that objective moral principles & obligations do exist, and since they cannot exist without God, it follows that God exists. (modus tollens)

If the God of classical theism existed, an objective foundation for morality would exist. God’s holy and good nature would be the objective standard. God’s nature would be expressed through divine commands which would flow necessarily from his moral nature. Thus we would have objective moral principles & obligations.

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57 thoughts on “Ultimate Questions: Can Objective Morality Exist Without God?

  1. Murchad99

    Hello again, Jamie…

    ” no one needs to teach children unethical behaviour. It seem the natural thing is to be self-centered and unaware of the impact of that selfishness on those around us. In fact ethical behaviour seems anything but instinctual but rather something we work on through our whole life.”

    Well that’s true to an extent. Children may act in ways we consider “bad” because they have not mastered rationalization and emotional restraint. Se are born self-centered because it’s all we know, and social awareness is learned through often difficult and embarrassing lessons.

    Consider the naturalistic view: we are individually selfish because that promotes survival of the individual. The fact that we are taught the majority of morals by our parents and culture would not diminish the legitimacy of the natural progression by which we arrived at these morals as a culture or species. What we teach children is the product of that progression much the same way that students learn science from the accumulation of our knowledge, not from spending decades reinventing the wheel. But we are social creatures … we had to be and evolve to become as such… and the characteristics that stem from reciprocity that promote social cohesion/join effort/shared resources/mutual defense would have been selected for. Therefore, selfishness begins to diminish in importance; in excess it begins to outweigh its usefulness by causing social conflict, and so our social ethics naturally develop to discourage it at face (while privately most continue to try to be as selfish as they can get away with, either with others or with their own emotional sense of right). When you say ethical behavior what you’re describing is behavior that conforms to a certain moral configuration, when in reality even behavior you might call immoral is a combination of competing ethical values, instincts, emotions and intellectual rationalization. Our ability to see beyond our animal instincts, and our emotionally immature impulses… to factor in a variety of values and experiences, to establish goals and rationalize outcomes … seems a product of our complex human brain; this also explains why we see evidence of communal ethics and ethical behavior in some of the more intelligent species of animals. This has rewarded us greatly as a species, and historically it’s been in our interest to develop and enforce systems of morality that further this social progression (at least on some level and by some means).

    “while we were Created in the Image of God so that we could relate to Him in a way that is unique amongst all of the rest of Creation, we turned our back on that primary relationship with God because we wanted to be the maker of our own destiny. But that ignores the fact that God made us for a specific purpose and when we reject that purpose our lives follow a path of self-destruction.”

    I’m still hazy on how we arrived at our imperfection: either perfection created imperfection (which seems logically contradictory and morally indefensible), or perfection creates perfection which then chooses to become imperfect (which also seems contradictory as choosing imperfection is by its very nature a sign of imperfection, causally prior to the choice itself). Which do you subscribe to and why?

    If morality is objective and what you call ethical behavior is the objective goal, why would it not be inherent? Why would we enter the world with an “unethical” instinct to spend our entire life fighting against the nature with which we were born… if it was by design? Wouldn’t our inherent nature be to follow the objectively correct path, and we would have to step away from our nature and “choose” to follow an incorrect, deviant path?

    Much of this bit we discussed in our previous conversation, so I’d like to jump back and answer some points from your second-to-last post that I may have overlooked:

    “You ask a great question: why must God suffer in our place? Let me start by saying He did not have to. He chose to! There was nothing that compelled Him except His love for us. But the only way for our rebellion to be dealt with the penalty had to be paid. God could not arbitrarily dismiss our rebelliousness.”

    But my question isn’t just why did God have to, but why did he have to choose to? Why could forgiveness not be arbitrary? When you say a penalty has to be paid…. who sets the penalty? To whom is the payment made? As there is nothing greater than God, one must conclude God is repaying the debt… to himself. Arbitrarily. Why?

    I posted this paragraph previously, and I feel as though the points are still valid and need to be addressed:

    —-
    Why must God suffer in our place? This is the question at the root of the loophole argument and once I don’t feel is adequately answered. Suffering, as with all things in the universe, is a creation of the Creator. For whom, for what, for which higher purpose or rule or law must God suffer on our behalf? If the law is his will, and his will is that we cannot be saved except by the death of a perfect man, why is his will such? Why does he wish this, or will it, and be unable to will any other alternative to address the imperfection of his creations? Why could God not love the man he created with a strong tendency towards rebellion equally as skeptics, as rebels, as agnostics just as easily as when we prostrate ourselves and humbly attempt to follow his chosen path? And if he does love us equally in sin as in piety, why was his Will to open the gates of heaven by killing a man, and not to simply give us the knowledge and understanding to see the wisdom of the correct path?

    “That would have been contrary to His nature as a God who is just.”

    This is the problem with divine command theory vs. extant objective morality. What does “just” mean? Does it have some meaning outside of God’s will? If justice is merely being held to God’s will, then describing God as just is redundant and pointless. If not… everything about this description implies there are some laws of justice or equality or comeuppance that even God has to abide by. Again… if a payment must be made, who or what is the recipient?

    ” It is like if I steal a car and my dad chooses to turn himself in saying he committed the crime. If he is charged, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated for the appropriate amount of time”

    But the rules are set by, and justice administered by, a power bigger than your father…. the analogy fails if your father is the sole source of law and authority, answering to no one. No one ever HAD to be punished for anything unless there were laws in place…. and there are no rules or laws above those laid forth by God. So any punishment eventually comes back directly and rests solely upon God’s will: does he want to punish you, or doesn’t he? And why sometimes yes sometimes no?

    ” then comes to light that I was the one who stole the car there is no penalty that I have to face. … It was already paid for by my dad and I can no longer be charged for that crime.”

    Not to belabor the analogy, but my understanding of current US law is that you could be charged with the same crime as your father if you were both involved… or just you if it was established that your father was wrongfully convicted. From a religious moral perspective, that certainly wouldn’t ever relieve you of your culpability in the eyes of God unless accompanied by confession and repentance (as required by God for reasons that appear arbitrary)… or …. unless your father was Jesus.

    Also from the previous post, but perhaps more related to epistemology than morality:

    “You are also right that if God wanted to give humanity what we needed to follow His path He would have done so – and He has!”

    I’d like to explore what you mean by “what we needed”, but before we do I want to ask you a few questions to establish a basis for argument:

    I’m assuming you are convinced that God exists, that he sent his “son”, that he wants us to do good, that he seeks our salvation etc. For the sake of brevity and clarity, let’s stick to the first one.
    What was it exactly that convinced you? How did you become convinced God exists?

    Has God ever spoken to you? Were you convinced by evidence in the form of the bible, or philosophical arguments, or human experiences? Was it conviction from other people who had your complete trust? Was it some combination or all these factors?

    And when you became convinced that God exists, did you still have Free Will?

  2. ShelleyShelley

    Dear Father God.
    Lord I lift all who read this article that they will know that God is God and he dose exist, because none of us or the earth and planets would exist. in Jesus Name amen

  3. Chuck

    Hi Murchad. :)

    “I’m still hazy on how we arrived at our imperfection: either perfection created imperfection (which seems logically contradictory and morally indefensible), or perfection creates perfection which then chooses to become imperfect (which also seems contradictory as choosing imperfection is by its very nature a sign of imperfection, causally prior to the choice itself). Which do you subscribe to and why?”

    Only God could exist in perfection at all times. The best anything else can hope for his to be perfect relative to something else. A ball maybe a perfect fit for a particular hole, but this means it is going to be imperfect for many other holes for example. To create another being that is perfect at all times it would have to be an exact replica of Himself wouldn’t it?

    So to decide if we are perfect or not, we would have to know what(if any) the intention of our existence is. We may all be perfect for a particular purpose or situation but choose to stray from it. Perhaps we can only reach perfection by freely choosing right from wrong. There are many possibilities outside of the 2 you left the author.

    “But my question isn’t just why did God have to, but why did he have to choose to? Why could forgiveness not be arbitrary? When you say a penalty has to be paid…. who sets the penalty? To whom is the payment made? As there is nothing greater than God, one must conclude God is repaying the debt… to himself. Arbitrarily. Why?”

    The answer is obvious here.. He didn’t have to choose, He chose to choose. Leading by example is a great way to lead, probably the best way.

    “This is the problem with divine command theory vs. extant objective morality. What does “just” mean? Does it have some meaning outside of God’s will? If justice is merely being held to God’s will, then describing God as just is redundant and pointless. If not… everything about this description implies there are some laws of justice or equality or comeuppance that even God has to abide by. Again… if a payment must be made, who or what is the recipient?”

    Part of being perfect is choosing the right path at all times. Saying “God is just” is saying God will choose correctly.. so God has the ability to choose correctly at all times and the wisdom to do so. It does not imply that He is bound to abide by these laws at all, there is only the possibility that He is, with an equal(at least) possibility that He is choosing to abide by these laws. You just arbitrarily chose to give more weight to one possibility rather than the other.

    Like J.Caesar said “Men willingly believe what they wish”. It is a trap we must all be careful to overcome.

    “And when you became convinced that God exists, did you still have Free Will?”

    Why would belief in God limit freewill? and if it does how does a belief in no God/or lack of belief in God(s) if you prefer, limit your freewill any less?

    “Has God ever spoken to you? Were you convinced by evidence in the form of the bible, or philosophical arguments, or human experiences? Was it conviction from other people who had your complete trust? Was it some combination or all these factors?”

    If he says God has spoken to him will you believe him? It is a subjective experience that is worthless to you. I’m sure you would prefer to stick to objective facts in most cases, why not here?

    Personally I find the cosmological arguments of Aristotle and Aquinas to be convincing on a philosophical level.

    Scientifically, there is nothing to convince me otherwise. The scientific laws of biogenesis and the 2nd law of thermodynamics still stand, as does cause and effect. While these do not conclusively prove Gods existence they do lend support to it imo.

    I am not a Christian so this may not apply to the author but as far as I know none of my beliefs are contradicted by our current scientific knowledge while the views of atheists are. There is nothing in science that suggests life came from, or even can come from inorganic matter by it self yet that is exactly what must of happened, to an atheist at one point in time there was no life, then there was. Since we have no knowledge or experience that suggests this is possible there is no reason to believe that it is.

    So either we have an infinite regress of life giving birth to new life or we have a timeless, always living God. Given the unlikelihood of infinite regress, I believe that timeless God is the logical conclusion.

    Similarly there is no instance of change in our universe that is not caused by something external to itself, so we are again left with either an infinite regress, which has never been observed or a Prime Mover.

  4. Murchad99

    Hello Chuck,

    “So to decide if we are perfect or not, we would have to know what(if any) the intention of our existence is. We may all be perfect for a particular purpose or situation but choose to stray from it. Perhaps we can only reach perfection by freely choosing right from wrong. There are many possibilities outside of the 2 you left the author.”

    Mmnot really. Regardless of how many different possible variations and permutations and applications you generate with regards to the concept of perfection or “relative” perfection, the fact remains that an imperfect being was deliberately and intentionally created by a perfect being. I say deliberately and intentionally, because to say otherwise would invalidate the combination of omniscience and status of omnipotent creator… such a being does not roll dice, take a chance, hope for the best… such a being knows ever choice a man will ever make before ever creating him, and must thus deliberately and intentionally choose to make that man and those choices a reality.

    Any being who chooses the “wrong” path is by the very nature of that choice imperfect. A being who is perfect for a specific task or role who chooses to fail at that role is even more demonstrably imperfect. The idea of having a specific task or role, btw, seems to hint at infringing conceptually on free will, but I’ll assume an argument could be made that God designed and equipped us to be perfect in one respect or in one role and gave us the free will to be a condemnable failure at most or all other roles; I would question the value of such free will).

    To say man has the potential to be perfect based on the choices he makes is thus not logically consistent, because if man was perfect he would always make the right choice … not potentially make the right choice. Within the context of free will, one would have to argue that God could not make a man who was perfect insofar as he always freely chooses to do the right thing… because if he could, then there’s no excuse for not making all of them that way. If you have a theory as to why God could not or did not do this, I’m interested to hear. I’ve heard the argument made by Christians and Christian apologists, humorously despite the fact that Christianity is based around a man who was “100% human” who had free will but always made the “right” choice.

    “The answer is obvious here.. He didn’t have to choose, He chose to choose.”

    This doesn’t really get at the crux of my question. God can choose to choose to choose to choose, but inevitably the choice to require payment for sin is arbitrary. The punishment is arbitrary. God’s decision not to forgive without requirement is arbitrary. God wanting to save us from the punishment he has arbitrarily chosen to inflict upon us is redundant and unnecessary.

    Why is it good or correct to be “good”, other than because God says so? Is there some necessity or reason or principle aside from God’s will? If there is an answer to that, then we’re positing a moral truth outside of and not stemming from God. If there is no answer to that, then we should be able to acknowledge it is, by definition, arbitrary.

    “Saying “God is just” is saying God will choose correctly.. so God has the ability to choose correctly at all times and the wisdom to do so.”

    But again, saying God will choose correctly is redundant, if God is the source of what is or is not correct. This is circular, or at worst implies there is a concept of “correct” that even God can (and more importantly CANNOT) choose “correctly”. Murchad will *always* choose to act Murchadily, at all times, and has the wisdom to do so. In fact, he is fundamentally incapable of doing otherwise.

    “none of my beliefs are contradicted by our current scientific knowledge while the views of atheists are.”

    If by that you mean some people who call themselves atheists, fine. but I didn’t get that sense. I don’t know your beliefs with respect to the natural world and thus couldn’t comment on whether they run afoul of science, but similarly you don’t know my beliefs… particularly not from the label “atheist”. Because as I’m sure you know, Atheism is not an ideology or a belief system. Atheism provides no beliefs… sponsors or imposes no truths… offers no explanations or cosmological theories.
    None. Zippo.
    Let’s not fall into the theist claptrap of trying to assign all sorts of baggage to the term. I don’t have to accept the hypothesis of abiogenesis to rightfully reject creationism… nor do I have to assert metaphysical naturalism in order to reject theistic evolution on the basis that the latter lacks evidence and justification for belief.

    “Why would belief in God limit freewill?”

    My goal here was to establish a baseline before making a specific argument. I’ll assume you feel that being convinced of something, regardless of how, does not rob you of your free will to choose. This is an important point. Now… neuroscience and psychology have demonstrated that one cannot choose what one does or does not believe any more than one chooses the thoughts that pop into their head, and that choices often (potentially always) occur and/or can be influenced or manipulated subconsciously (whereas the conscious mind would be a logical requirement for free will). For the sake of this argument let’s just assume that being convinced of something does not detract from “free will”, and agree that being convinced of something results in believing that it’s true.

    You, for instance, indicate you were convinced by several classical philosophical arguments. These arguments were made to you, influenced you, resulted in your acceptance that a particular proposition was true (i.e. belief). You had requirements before you (or your subconscious mind, either one) would be able or willing to accept the proposition as true. You needed some evidence, or reasoning, or justification, or demonstration… and you got it in the form of Aristotle and Aquinas. Your requirements were met. Other people got it from their parents and community, or from a book, or introspective meditation, or from a voice in the clouds.

    We can reasonably deduce that every man/woman has a certain requirement, a certain level which must be reached in order for their mind to accept something and thus believe it. Similarly, we should be able to reasonably deduce that a mortal mind, conscious or unconscious, cannot have an infinite amount of doubt or skepticism… that a mortal mind must have a reachable limit at which point the evidence or the reasoning or the revelation is beyond a functioning mind’s ability to deny. Let’s remember…. this requirement is met for the average human on a daily basis by unsubtle commercials and cliche-wielding salesmen. As a species, we have historically been relatively easy to convince of any number of things, often with very little effort.

    When I said “convincing argument”, Jamie indicated there were arguments or evidences available that were convincing “enough”. But that is purely a subjective consideration. A convincing argument is, simply, an argument that convinces. An argument… which results in the person hearing it accepting it as true. If the subject is not convinced, the argument was by definition “not convincing”.

    I was not convinced by the evidence or arguments that convinced you. And rather than debate at length why I *should* have been, or why I (and many others) see insurmountable flaws and fallacies in those classical arguments … the point I want to discuss is this:

    If God has the knowledge to know exactly what it would take to convince me (Omniscience)…
    …and if God has the ability to bring about whatever evidence or reasoning or logic or demonstration or revelation it would take to convince me (Omnipotence)…
    … and if God has the desire that I be convinced of the truth (Omnibenevolence)….
    … and if I, as a mortal man, have finite and mortal requirements for belief that *can* be met, and *must* be met in order for me to believe….
    … and if providing an argument sufficient to convince me would *not* deprive me of my free will….

    …. why, if God exists, am I and millions of others around the world _not_ convinced? Why, essentially, are we still atheists?

    Why have I not been presented with a “convincing argument”?

    Of course, this was the argument made to Jamie and other Christians in the thread. If you’re a deist who doesn’t require god to be “all-good” (another circular/redundant description) then you wouldn’t have to explain why God needed to care one way or another.

  5. Chuck

    Hi Murchad,

    Thanks for your timely and thoughtful response and my apologies for not returning to check for your reply sooner.

    “the fact remains that an imperfect being was deliberately and intentionally created by a perfect being.”

    The fact remains that a perfect being, in the sense I take you to mean would just be a replica of itself.

    “I say deliberately and intentionally, because to say otherwise would invalidate the combination of omniscience and status of omnipotent creator… such a being does not roll dice, take a chance, hope for the best… such a being knows ever choice a man will ever make before ever creating him, and must thus deliberately and intentionally choose to make that man and those choices a reality.”

    I have a problem with this interpretation of omniscience, for one.. where does it come from? For God to know the future would mean the future is set in stone, for the future to be set in stone would eliminate freewill. What is the future? Where does it exist? The past existed, the present is existing.. the future? It is just a possible existence and therefor doesn’t exist. It is not there to know, so making it a requisite for omniscience makes no sense. If you know everything that has happened and everything that is happening then you know everything there is to know and are omniscient. Sure such a being could accurately, perhaps perfectly predict the future, but predicting, no matter how accurate is not knowing.

    “The idea of having a specific task or role, btw, seems to hint at infringing conceptually on free will, but I’ll assume an argument could be made that God designed and equipped us to be perfect in one respect or in one role and gave us the free will to be a condemnable failure at most or all other roles; I would question the value of such free will).”

    That would depend on how specific the task(s)/role(s) were. For example a person could be naturally more intune with animals than average, this does not give them a limitaion of freewill, they could choose from a wide variety of animals to work with, or choose to ignore that part of themselves altogether and everything inbetween. Now if it were more specific like the person was really good with penguins and nothing else and happened to live in Saudi Arabia, then sure, I see your point.

    Also, it does not follow that being imperfect for a task means that you will fail at it.

    “To say man has the potential to be perfect based on the choices he makes is thus not logically consistent, because if man was perfect he would always make the right choice … not potentially make the right choice.”

    This would be an artificial perfection, reducing us to robots(awesome robots, but still robots). If God couldn’t choose to be imperfect this would be a limitation on His omnipotence, what makes Him “All Good” is that He chooses to exist in this state at all times. Without choice our actions are meaningless, what is good about helping an old lady with her groceries if you could not choose to do otherwise? What is bad about taking another persons life if you could not choose to do otherwise?

    “If you have a theory as to why God could not or did not do this, I’m interested to hear.”

    I think I have covered this above but to summarize, If we were perfect in the same sense God is perfect(and that is the only way to be truly perfect), we would be no different to Him and I do not believe that would fit the intended purpose of our existence.. making our existence in such a state an imperfection in itself.

    “humorously despite the fact that Christianity is based around a man who was “100% human” who had free will but always made the “right” choice.”

    Again, I am not a Christian, but I do know a bit about Christianity and to state that they believe Jesus was 100% human is inaccurate. Their beliefs range from them considering him to be God, to being the Son of God(or somehow both) or simply a prophet who was created through divine intervention. Basically they consider him superhuman in some way, shape or form.

    “This doesn’t really get at the crux of my question. God can choose to choose to choose to choose, but inevitably the choice to require payment for sin is arbitrary.”

    Assuming I agree that Gods choice is arbitrary(which I don’t) isn’t it the same the other way around? The choice not to require payment would also be arbitrary and offers no benefits over the other options. But that line of thought gets us nowhere, what I’m really interested in is why we must assume that it really is arbitrary rather than God choosing the best method to achieve His goals? Like I said before, perhaps leading by example is important.

    “Why is it good or correct to be “good”, other than because God says so? Is there some necessity or reason or principle aside from God’s will? If there is an answer to that, then we’re positing a moral truth outside of and not stemming from God. If there is no answer to that, then we should be able to acknowledge it is, by definition, arbitrary.”

    The principle is that Gods will is correct, being correct is being inline with God and our reality is designed in a manner where this is “good” for us and those around us. Without God what is right and what is wrong is merely our own opinion. Just about any action becomes justifiable when you do not have ultimate justice as the benchmark.

    I am interested in your views on this question.
    “Murchad will *always* choose to act Murchadily, at all times, and has the wisdom to do so. In fact, he is fundamentally incapable of doing otherwise.”

    The difference here is that this claim is obviously false, the Murchad of today is I’m sure different to Murchad a decade ago, that Murchad was probably different to the Murchad a decade before that and one day Murchad may or may not cease to be. Although Murchad is always Murchad(or atleast until he dies), what it means to be Murchad has changed over time.

    “If by that you mean some people who call themselves atheists, fine. but I didn’t get that sense. I don’t know your beliefs with respect to the natural world and thus couldn’t comment on whether they run afoul of science, but similarly you don’t know my beliefs… particularly not from the label “atheist”. Because as I’m sure you know, Atheism is not an ideology or a belief system. Atheism provides no beliefs… sponsors or imposes no truths… offers no explanations or cosmological theories.”

    Well for one, there is the belief shared by atheists that theists are incorrect.. No? Otherwise it seems you are reffering to agnostism. Although atheism is a very broad set(s) of beliefs, it is a set none the less.

    “Let’s not fall into the theist claptrap of trying to assign all sorts of baggage to the term. I don’t have to accept the hypothesis of abiogenesis to rightfully reject creationism…”

    No you do not have to accept anything, however you would need to have some hypothesis of how we came to be without a God for you to have any relevant beliefs or ideas to share on the matter, which is what I am interested in learning. :)

    Basically I want to know if there is a logical reason for me to agree with your set of beliefs.

    Now… neuroscience and psychology have demonstrated that one cannot choose what one does or does not believe any more than one chooses the thoughts that pop into their head, and that choices often (potentially always) occur and/or can be influenced or manipulated subconsciously (whereas the conscious mind would be a logical requirement for free will).

    Interesting, could you point me to any studies confirming this? From what I have read, this applies to the most basic forms of decision making and is not applicable to more complex decision making processes. There is still A LOT of learning to do in neuro science.

    “For the sake of this argument let’s just assume that being convinced of something does not detract from “free will”, and agree that being convinced of something results in believing that it’s true.”

    Ok, but just to be clear, I do not consider being convinced of something, as a truth. Once you have been sure of something and then been wrong about it, even with something small like “I was sure I left my keys in the drawer”, when really you left them in your pocket for example, there is no way to be 100% sure about anything. For me “truths” are “That seems to be correct as far as I can tell”. With the knowledge that I do not have all the information neccessary to be absolutely positive about anything.

    “If God has the knowledge to know exactly what it would take to convince me (Omniscience)…
    …and if God has the ability to bring about whatever evidence or reasoning or logic or demonstration or revelation it would take to convince me (Omnipotence)…
    … and if God has the desire that I be convinced of the truth (Omnibenevolence)….
    … and if I, as a mortal man, have finite and mortal requirements for belief that *can* be met, and *must* be met in order for me to believe….
    … and if providing an argument sufficient to convince me would *not* deprive me of my free will….”

    How would evidence that you couldn’t possibly deny not deprive you of your free will? You are basically asking for evidence that would leave you no choice but to believe and at the same time be free to choose not to believe. Seems contradictory to me.

    Besides that if God brings about the evidence, then what have you done? God is not here to live our lives for us, or again we are reduced to awesome robots… or is puppets more fitting here.. lets go with robo-puppets, I would also assume we would have laser eyes in this form of existence. :D

    God has a desire that you seek truth, He has no desire or obligation to convince you of anything unless you want to be convinced. You seem to be able to predict the consequences of forcing us to believe, which I find very interesting and would like to know how you arrived at your conclusions.

    “…. why, if God exists, am I and millions of others around the world _not_ convinced? Why, essentially, are we still atheists?”

    Personally I think it was summed up best by Julius Caesar when he said, “Men willingly believe what they wish”. A trap we must all constantly struggle not to fall into.

    Imo, all the “flaws and fallacies” you claim exist, are themselves flawed and a logical explanation exists for all of them. Unfortunately there is no way to get to the heart of these without lengthy discussion.

  6. SharonSharon

    i sometines wonder on why and what God is up to in my life but also around us in the world just my thinking

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