Monday, December 02, 2013

Is God Necessary for Humans to Love?

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 This argument is a probabilistic basis for assuming that belief in God offers a much more stable grounding for ethical axioms than does secular moral realism, or any other such assumption made by secular thought. It's not deductive and it's not a brash dogmatic assumption, but a probabilistic assumption based upon a couple of things that offer reason to think that we would not have the full expansion of the concept of agape without God. I defined agape as the will to the good of the other, or the desire to  seek the best for the other. That is a good reason to assume that love is a standard based upon divine character and given us by God as the basis of the moral. This assumes the imago die, it assumes the moral law is internalized within us as part of the image of God, via Romans 2:6-14.

No meta-ethical system makes more sense than Augustine-Fletcher love as the background of the moral universe. We are talking about agape, "God's love" or as Tillich puts it "the will to the good of the other." The materialist assertion that love is a feeling caused by brain chemistry is not even based upon the right concept of love. We are not talking about feelings but about a philosophy. That brain chemistry is involved in feelings connected to the concept is not proof that that is all there is to the matter.

Agape functions as grounding for moral axioms. The dictates of a moral system can be seen as pragmatic playing out of the ideal of agape. There are five major reasons why centering meta ethical grounding in agape is the best form of grounding for moral axioms:

The systems secularists and skeptics turn to can't ground moral axioms in anything better than social contract or fine feelings. Those systems usually based ethics, in either social contract, a nebulous utilitarian "good of the whole" that reduces moral thinking to a ledger sheet, or personal feelings, social sanction or genetics. All of these are inadequate because they don't actually ground the "ought." They don't really tell us why an action is moral, they stipulate that it's part of a value system or not. Why we should value the values is another matter.

(1) If assume that agape is God's character and that God but it in place as the basis of moral grounding for that reason, we have a moral system that is written into reality at the metaphsyical level.

(2) It does not require turning "is" into "ought," so do secular views, since the purpose of creation in spelled out by the creator.Rather I should say It offers a basis to understand how "is" can be "ought."

(3) grounding axioms in love/being/God provides the same kind of transcendent basis for truth that "spirit of the law" provides over the letter of the law. That establishes grace rather than rule keeping (and this is analogous somewhat to duty and obligation as meta-ethical basis rather than rule keeping). In other words it's not just a list of rules to keep but embodies an actual personal understanding of duty and obligation.

(4) this makes much more sense becasue it means the basis of right and wrong are written into the fabric of being by the mind that created the beings, and it means good is motivated by purpose (the purpose being love: which is the will to the well being of the other) rather than grounding it in social contract or fine feelings, and are relative and discordable.

(5) Humans are ends in themselves. Humans are the objects of God's love, thus we are to express God's love toward all people. We just see the individual as an end in herself rather than a mere means to an end.

 I am not arguing dogmatically that we just couldn't have evolved to be conscious, endowed with free will, and capable of love. I think perhaps we could. Yet it is not very likely for several reasons. It's just a reason to believe we might not be so, not a dogmatic instance or a claim to proof. Given all of that let's explore a couple of reasons to assume that God is the source of love and that agape might not be possible for us if we were merely accidents in a Godless universe with no purpose other immediate survival.

Why are we conscious? There is an explanatory gap in the nature of what is called "the Hard problem." There is no necessary reason why humans are conscious, not one immediately discernible.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: a peer reviewed Academic Resource

The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why any physical state is conscious rather than nonconscious.  It is the problem of explaining why there is “something it is like” for a subject in conscious experience, why conscious mental states “light up” and directly appear to the subject.  The usual methods of science involve explanation of functional, dynamical, and structural properties—explanation of what a thing does, how it changes over time, and how it is put together.  But even after we have explained the functional, dynamical, and structural properties of the conscious mind, we can still meaningfully ask the question, Why is it conscious? This suggests that an explanation of consciousness will have to go beyond the usual methods of science.  Consciousness therefore presents a hard problem for science, or perhaps it marks the limits of what science can explain.  Explaining why consciousness occurs at all can be contrasted with so-called “easy problems” of consciousness:  the problems of explaining the function, dynamics, and structure of consciousness.  These features can be explained using the usual methods of science.  But that leaves the question of why there is something it is like for the subject when these functions, dynamics, and structures are present.  This is the hard problem.
why aren't we like ants? Since nature is not progressive and there is no telos in evolution, the end sought is merely perpetuation of gene frequency not graduated or sublated success moving toward any promised goal, then there's no reason why we should not just be big ants. The ant option would be so much more efficient. Why should we bother expending energy on argument over what's true and how the world works? We could keep the species going and multiply our genes much better by just being drones and doing our jobs and not thinking. Why do we even have a moral sense?

If the point was just to say that God might be necessary for humans to have consciousness and a full blown capacity for the sort of love that grounds moral axioms, then  one could plug in the fine tuning argument. Since we are working against the odds, there's no reason to assume humans had to have consciousness, given its inefficiency it's really improbable. That could be added to the improbabilities of the fine tuning argument. If a life bearing universe is so very improbable, as the argument charges, then a life bearing universe that results in conscious beings who philosophize about love is even less probable.

 If we don't want to do that the argument by itself might work as a God argument. It would work in conjunction with the classic moral argument. The moral argument as I make it on argument list:


(1) Humans are possessed of moral motions which we find to be real and important. We cannot deny the senes of moral outrage over "evil" or the sense that one "ought" to do that which we find "good."

(2) Such moral motions can be understood as grounded in terms of behavior in our genetic endowment, but no explanation can tell us why we find them moral or how to justify them as "ought's."

(3) Genetic explanations only provide an understanding of behavior, they do not offer the basis of a moral dimension.

(4) Stoical contract theory offers only relativism that can be changed or ignored in the shifting sands of social necessity and politics.

(5) matters of feeling are merely matters of taste and should be ignored as subjective (the atheist dread of the subjective).

(6) God is the only source of grounding which works as a regulative concept for our moral axioms and at the same time actually explains the deep seated nature of moral motions.

We might put some more fiber into this argument by adding that our moral sense stems from a moral universe the background of which is this agapic sort of love, with a philosophical basis in the good of the other that can ground specific axioms. God is the better way of explaining the regulative concept, that's even enhanced by the agape aspect. It just so happens that the enhancement is better understood as rooted in God since the consciousness necessary to produce it is not necessary to our existence as humans.

Like the Philosophical zombie argument humans could be exactly as they appear now but without the conscious ability to think about these things, without a concept of love beyond just the butterflys and other feelings that tell us we like something. So the aspect that make sense of the feelings of moral outrage and motions that we doub "moral" are themselves best expalined as inheritance of God's creation and image. Thus it makes more sense to think that these moral motions are of divine origin and that they point to reality of the divine.

Of cousre the physicalist will charge that we are just assuming the value of the system from the outset and looking at the process backwards. Nature and evolution resulted in the kind of thinking we demonstrate as matter of course, survival of the fittest, random chance, and becuase it's our kind of thinking we establish special sense to it. That is, of cousre, a plausible way to see it, and I'm not trying to be dogmatic about the way it "has to be." Nevertheless, my system explains why we find moral outrage outrageous, why we value good over evil, what that means, why we love, and love is more than just butterfly and good feelings but might actually mean sacrificing ourselves for those we don't know or don't even like.If we are just imposing meaning then scinece must imposing order. While by way of looking at it may be out of fashion it's only one that really makes ethics work.

My Version of the Fine Tuning Argument.

Complete account of my version of classic
moral argument

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