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The moral arguments regarding the existence of God form a wide range that reason the moral life or some feature of morality to the existence of a divine creator, who is usually understood to be a morally good being. Most non-religious people will concur that religion in some way is able to provide a foundation for morality. Connections between religion and morality seem to support the suggestion that morals need a religious basis, which could be best explained by a divine existence.
As aforementioned, a wide range of arguments have been developed to show that a God is required to prove the human awareness of moral knowledge. Richard Swinburne (2004, 218) suggests that there is no, “great probability that moral awareness will occur in a Godless universe.” However, “there are many species of animals that are naturally inclined to help others of their species, and yet do not have moral beliefs.” (Swinburne 2004, 217), suggesting that moral beliefs are not entirely necessary to produce what is typically ‘moral’ behaviour.
Sharon Street (2006) argues that moral truths are ‘stance-independent’ of human beliefs, values and emotions. She suggests a problem with the question as to how our human evaluative beliefs are related to human evolution. She believes that the evolution of humans throughout time is what developed the awareness of morals in our modern society.
However, evolution alone cannot predict the improbability of objective moral knowledge. Majority of Street’s argument arises from the assumption of naturalism, and consequently, evolutionary processes being unguided. In a naturalistic universe it would seem that we could expect a process of Darwinian evolution to select moral judgements that improve survival and not objective moral truths. A detailed argument by Mark Linville (2009, 391-336) supports the claim that it is highly improbable to develop a plausible evolutionary process as to the creation of moral judgements.
Contrary to this, if it is supposed that said evolutionary process were to have been guided by a divine being, who has the ability and want to create morally significant humans, then it would not seem unlikely that a God would ensure humans would develop beliefs that are largely good and ‘morally correct’.
Although, the randomness of Darwin’s natural selection is argued by many philosophers to prove that no kind of divine guidance could have been exercised through such a randomised process. The belief that evolution and God are mutually exclusive hypotheses is called ‘Creation Science’. Such belief suggests what can explained by science needs no extra explanation through religious inputs. If a divine being exists, it is the reason why the world would exist and the reason for the existence of causal processes within the world. By proxy, a natural explanation of the development of humans can never prelude a theistic one.
A non-religious person might claim that because the theory of evolution suggests the process by with flora and fauna have developed involved random selections of genetic mutations, it cannot have been guided by any God, and subsequently God could not have used evolutionary means to achieve his ends of creating a morally aware species.
That being said, this argument is easily counter by the definition of ‘random’ genetic mutations. When it is said that the genetic mutations are random, scientists are not suggesting that they are unpredictable but that the mutations have not occurred in response to any adaptation requirements of the organism. It could be possible for an unguided ‘natural’ process to have included or utilised such randomness in that sense; however, that is highly unlikely. The sense of ‘randomness’ suggested with the evolutionary theory does not strictly imply that there could be or was no outer guiding force or that the process itself must be unguided. A being responsible for the creation of nature and the conditions that would shape the evolutionary process would be able to ensure that the organisms developed from their conditions in order to achieve the ultimate end of a sentient and morally aware human.
Subjective theories can make sense of humans making ethical judgements, but disregard morality of its objective authority. Contrary to this, objective theories that view morality in a stricter more serious sense, however, will always find difficulty in explain humans’ capacity to make morally correct judgements. That is unless the process by which humans developed the ability to make these judgements were to have been controlled by some outer force or divine being such as God.
To conclude, non-theistic moral believers and philosophers, have developed a wide range of arguments about how moral knowledge may have come to be possible. Regardless, the plausibility of these arguments, and by proxy, those convinced that morality is true, may disagree that moral knowledge allows for a stronger arguments and supports for theistic beliefs. It therefor can be concluded that the arguments given in relation to the acceptance of morality and what is now seen as morally correct point to some form of divine being in play within the development of Earth.
- Street, S., 2006, “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value,” Philosophical Studies, 127(1): 109–166.
- Swinburne, R., 2004, The Existence of God, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Argument from morality. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_morality
- Craig, W. (2019). The Moral Argument for God | Reasonable Faith. Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P40/the-moral-argument-for-god
- Darwinian evolution and God?. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://www.cpcnewhaven.org/darwinian-evolution-and-god
- God and Evolution. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://ncse.com/library-resource/god-evolution
- Moral Argument. (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/moral-argument.htm
- Moral Arguments for the Existence of God (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2019). Retrieved 25 August 2019, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-arguments-god/
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