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THE MORAL ARGUMENT

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Introduction

THE MORAL ARGUMENT for the existence of God ************************ Immanuel Kant ----------------- Kant did NOT put forward a moral argument and anyone who said he does is wrong!!!! Kant rejected all attempts to argue from the world to God, he regarded such an exercise as impossible. However he thought that God was a POSTULATE of practical reason. If you share Kant's assumptions, then it becomes necessary to assume that there is a God. Kant's reasoning.... 1. All human beings desire and seek happiness 2. All human beings ought to be moral and do their duty 3. The universe is fair 4. The Summum Bonum (highest good) represents virtue and happiness 5. Everyone seeks the summum bonum (from (1) and (2)) 6. What is sought must be achievable because the universe is fair (see (3)) 7. The Summum Bonum is not achievable in this life 8. So it is necessary to POSTULATE a life after death in which the Summum Bonum can be achieved 9. AND it is necessary to POSTULATE a God to guarantee fairness. Note the emphasis on life after death and God as POSTULATES. Kant did not think that either of these could be proved. What he is claiming is that IF you hold the universe is fair and IF the Summum Bonum can be achieved then life after death and God are necessary postulates. ...read more.

Middle

The Forms are not created or creative and even Plato's God, the Demiurge, is responsible to them. If, therefore, one is a Platonist one could hold that there are absolute morals but these do not need a god to explain them. BERTRAND RUSSELL's disproof of God Bertrand Russell takes an opposing view to Lewis and Sorley, maintaining that it is possible to actually use morality to disprove God's existence. His argument proceeds as follows: 1. If there is a moral law it either stems from God or it does not 2. If the moral law comes from God it is arbitrary (because whatever God commands is our definition of goodness) 3. If it does not come from God then God is subject to it (this is one horn of the Euthyphro dilemma) 4. So either God is not essentially good (because he is arbitrary about what is right or wrong) OR God is subject to an independent moral standard. 5. Neither an arbitrary God nor a less than ultimate God is worthy of worship. 6. Therefore there is no God. This argument refers to Plato's EUTHYPHRO (the title of a book setting out a dialogue between Socrates and a young man, Euthyphro). This dilemma is due to there being two possibilities * Either there is a standard of morality independent of God (as Plato maintained was the case with the Forms) ...read more.

Conclusion

Freud ----- The influence of Freud has led to a dismissal by some of the whole idea of conscience on the basis of its perceived links with feelings of guilt which are considered to be unhealthy. Freud says: "The long period of childhood during which the growing human being lives in dependence on his parents leaves behind it a precipitate, which forms within his ego a special agency in which this parental influence is prolonged. It has received the name of 'super-ego'. The parents' influence naturally includes not only the personalities of the parents themselves but also the racial, national and family traditions handed on through them, as well as the demands of the immediate social milieu which they represent."2 Conscience, then, may be argued to be little more than the inherited traditions of the community and family in which one is brought up and which lives in one's super-ego for the rest of one's life. This, naturally, undermines any claim that there is a connection between God and human conscience. 1 J.H.Newman 'Difficulties of Anglicans' Vol. 2, London 1891 pp. 246-7 2 Sigmund Freud. Trans Strachey 'An outline of Psychoanalysis'. Hogarth Press: 1949 pps. 3-4 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Dialogue Education - The Moral Argument ...read more.

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