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William Lane Craig and the Foundations of Objective Morality

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Dr. William Lane Craig is well known for his debates with many prominent atheists, and as a fierce Evangelical Christian apologist. One of his more common line of arguments is on the subject of objective morality. In November 1996, Dr. Craig presented The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality to the Christian Theological Research Fellowship meeting at the American Academy of Religion. In the essay, he states:

Consider, then, the hypothesis that God exists. First, if God exists, objective moral values exist. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them….

Contrast this with the atheistic hypothesis. First, if atheism is true, objective moral values do not exist. If God does not exist, then what is the foundation for moral values? More particularly, what is the basis for the value of human beings? If God does not exist, then it is difficult to see any reason to think that human beings are special or that their morality is objectively true. Moreover, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes any moral duties upon us?…

Distilled to a logical form, the argument looks like this:

  1. If atheism is true, then objective morals do not exist.
  2. Objective morals exist.
  3. Therefore, atheism is false.

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Written by parkerw

February 23, 2013 at 9:00 am