The moral argument for the existence of God

Jason Edwards-Suarez
Mind Map by Jason Edwards-Suarez, updated more than 1 year ago
Jason Edwards-Suarez
Created by Jason Edwards-Suarez over 6 years ago


The moral argument

Resource summary

The moral argument for the existence of God
  1. Kant believed that using his set of statements based on morality one could postulate the existence of God
    1. Statement 1: A moral action involves doing one's duty
      1. Statement 2: You do your duty in order to reach the Summum Bonum
        1. S3: We cannot reach the Summum Bonum in our lifetimes
          1. S4: The Summum Bonum must be achievable
            1. S 5: What makes it achievable?
              1. Answer: God
                1. Thus we must postulate the existence of God
      2. Criticisms
        1. Kant's argument is self contradictory. If we should not do our duty to reach an end, then surely then concept of the Summum Bonum, which is a reward for doing your duty, contradicts this.
          1. The power and knowledge to make the Summum Bonum doesn't necessarily equate to omnipotence and omniscience
            1. Freud believed religion is a neurosis - a problem experience repressed by the mind instead of being solved - stems from a desire to have protection and purpose.
              1. If this is true the kant's argument is illogical
              2. Brian Davies
                1. Kant assumes that only God can bring about the summum bonum but it could equally be brought about by a 'pantheon of angels.'
            2. J.L. Mackie
              1. Metaphysical argument
                1. In the metaphysical part of the argument from queerness, Mackie argues that objective values, including objective moral values, do not exist because they are metaphysically anomalous. He writes, “If there were objective values, then they would be entities or qualities or relations of a very strange sort, utterly different from anything else in the universe.”
                2. Epistomology argument
                  1. There would be no way to know these queer things without a special, non-empirical means of knowing them (intuition). The central idea of intuitionism, which is that there is some specific and unique interface with which humans come to realize objective moral values, is thus the logical reduction of all theories of objective values. At some point in these theories, some essential concept or inference will only be known via intuition, thus committing any consistent objectivist theory to a “lame answer” to this problem.
                  2. Critique
                    1. He makes two implicit assumptions about objective moral theories
                      1. First, that if they are to have objective values, that these values must have an existence in reality as objects or relations have existence
                        1. Second, that knowledge of such objective values compels the agent to comply.
                        2. Guilty of a straw-man fallacy
                          1. Misrepresenting an argument to make it easier to criticise
                          2. The actual shortcoming of Mackie’s argument is much more subtle: he is essentially claiming that all objective moral theories must possess these properties.
                        3. Sigmund Freud
                          1. The Oedipus complex is the origin of morality
                            1. A child's sexual desire for the parent
                              1. Freud's model of the mind
                                1. Id = selfish animalistic desire
                                  1. Ego = reason and thought
                                    1. Super ego = the conscience
                                      1. The Id desires the parent of the opposite gender and want to kill the other parent, but the ego tells the child not to act on desires because it will bring them into conflict with the other parent who is bigger and stronger
                                        1. The child knows its desires are wrong so it develops a feeling of guilt and thus begins to develop a conscience, a superego
                                          1. Eventually it learns to identify with the parent of its own so this stage of child's life ends and it develops a morality
                                            1. If this is right then it proves that Kant's moral theory fails
                                  2. Criticism
                                    1. Lacks scientific evidence
                                      1. Modern science does not support the id/ego/superego model
                                        1. Freud's theoretical models arise from a homogeneous sample group—almost exclusively upper-class Austrian women living in the sexually repressed society of the late 19th cent. Such a sample, many psychologists contend, made Freud's focus on sex as a determinant of personality too emphatic.
                                          1. A number of modern psychologists have pointed out that traditional psychoanalysis relies too much on ambiguities for its data, such as dreams and free associations. Without empirical evidence, Freudian theories often seem weak, and ultimately fail to initiate standards for treatment.
                                      2. Cardinal Newman
                                        1. “We feel responsibility, are ashamed, are frightened at transgressing the voice of conscience, this implies that there is one to whom we are responsible." For Newman, the existence of conscience implies a moral law-giver whom we are answerable to – God.
                                        2. C.S Lewis
                                          1. There must be a moral law or there would be no reason to keep promises etc.
                                            1. It can't be herd instinct as sometimes we go against the majority
                                              1. Its not the law of nature as sometimes what is best for survival isn't morally right
                                                1. Can't be the imagination as everyone seems to have an understanding of morality
                                                  1. Morality must come from the mind as it can't come from matter
                                                    1. And since it doesn't come from humans it must come from God
                                                      1. The argument doesnt work if you dont accept that there are moral absolutes
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