Quote for the Day

"Some theists who accept the conclusion of the God as the source of ethics argument fail to appreciate its consequences fully. [William Lane] Craig is an example. One of his central themes is how awful it would be if God did not exist...Craig refers to the “horror of modern man” – facing life in (what “modern man” takes to be) a Godless universe. But if there can be no good or evil if God does not exist, then there can be no evil if God does not exist. So if God doesn’t exist, nothing bad can ever happen to anyone. The conclusion of the God as the source of ethics argument implies that there is nothing good about a Godless universe – but it equally implies that there is nothing bad about it either. If this argument is sound there can be nothing awful or horrible about a Godless universe. The short version of Craig’s self-contradictory message is “Without God there would be no value in the universe – and think how horrible that would be!”"

Erik Wielenberg, Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe, pp. 40-41.


Jon Hanson said...

The reply I think would be that of course it wouldn't be objectively horrible, just that it would feel horrible to admit that all your judgements are ultimately meaningless.

Unknown said...

Great post EA!

I am sick and tired of that same old moral argument for the existence of God. Maybe I'll pick up his book. Think a guy who is relativley new to philosophy will get it?

AIGBusted said...

How coincidental that you should post this quote just after I wrote a post about morality that mentioned and discussed William Lane Craig, and what I think is a source of his anxiety about moral philosophy. Here it is:


I'd love to hear any feedback you have about these thoughts.

exapologist said...

Great. Thanks for the heads-up, AIG.

exapologist said...

Hi Andy,

Yes, I think you can follow the argument in the book. I'm currently working through it with my Phil. of Religion students. There are some sections that are somewhat technical, but not so much that the non-philosopher can't follow the arguments.

exapologist said...

Hi John,

I think Erik would agree that the person might feel horrible. However, if Craig is right, then such a feeling would be utterly groundless, as it wouldn't be bad at all.

Mike Almeida said...

if this argument is sound there can be nothing awful or horrible about a Godless universe

That is one truly bad argument. The closest worlds in which God does not exist is not one in which there is nothing morally right or wrong or good or bad. It is one in which there is some other basis for morality.

But suppose that that counterpossible is not non-trivially true. Then the assertion that if God does not exist, nothing morally bad happens is true only de dicto. It is false de re. All of the terrible things we encounter would still occur, only they would not have any moral properties. They would still be devastating, debiitating, life destroying, etc. So Godless universes do not spare us any suffering or help us to avoid life's horrors. They only ensure that the suffering is pointless.

Havok said...

Mike, people like WLC don't seem to accept your argument.

To Craig Universes without God cannot have moral right or wrong. It is exactly these people who Wielenberg is targetting.

Schmid's Excellent New Paper on the Kalam Cosmological Argument

Schmid, Joseph C. " Benardete paradoxes, patchwork principles, and the infinite past ", Synthese , forthcoming. Abstract: Benardet...