Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Being vs Knowing

The question of atheism is precisely what is the inferential or epistemic justification of the claim that God exists. Sure, given the premise that God exists, everything is existentially based on God's being and sovereignty. But in the role of atheist, I'm not questioning that conditional implication.

I'm questioning only its antecedent: that God exists.

My question would be how belief in God can be justified logically, as well as how to logically justify the notion that God is the only adequate ontological or whatever ground for morality. But by morality I just mean deciding from among the various possible proximate or ultimate consequences in relation to possible actions. If God exists, then there is a mind that can bring about ultimate consequences, and I would do well to pay attention to that mind just like any other inescapable factor I might confront as an existing finite mind, precisely and especially because of its ultimate capabilities.

Meta-Morals Already Drive the Moral Argument Debate

There are background moral values running in parallel to the process of inquiry of any kind, but the point from an atheist perspective is that mere personal preference (for whatever reasons) is enough to equal the commitment to certain values on the part of those who believe in God. Having known a number of atheists literally in my neighborhood for decades, I think this is true. In fact, in some instances I've never seen such commitment to certain values with which we obviously agreed. So I think the no morals without God thing is off target, counterproductive, and simply unneeded anyway as an argument for God. There may be a successful moral argument for God, but nothing I've seen so far seems successful.

Conditional Preferences vs. Moral Obligations and Arguments

To construe morality in any way already assumes a supervisory propriety or obligation to think in certain ways and according to certain rules and values. This is independent of first-order analysis of morality, given -any- particular construance of it, and necessarily so, to be able to recognize such propriety, analyze it, and possibly decide the question itself in the first place. I don't see how anyone can get around that. To believe in God or morality for reasons assumes the prior, independent---and most importantly: higher---epistemic authority of those reasons, one's own mind, and the principles that make those reasons viable and adequate to the conclusions they support.