John Hick Philosophy of Religion: The Moral Argument. Hick points to two forms of Moral Argument - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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John Hick Philosophy of Religion: The Moral Argument. Hick points to two forms of Moral Argument


Because these feelings can be explained through psychology, ... by divinity, God must exist to ensure humanity can achieve that for which it must strive! ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: John Hick Philosophy of Religion: The Moral Argument. Hick points to two forms of Moral Argument

John Hick Philosophy of Religion The Moral
Argument. Hick points to two forms of Moral
  • Why?
  • Because these feelings can be explained through
    psychology, social pressure, need for security.
  • Because morality comes from God. He is the ground
    of all values
  • .
  • First form
  • Hello! I feel a moral compulsion, a conscience, a
    sense of a divine lawgiver.

John Hick Philosophy of Religion
  • Second form
  • Hello! There is a Moral claim over me. I
    therefore believe in a Transhuman source God.
  • Claimto work towards the highest good.
  • Kant argues that we seek a perfect world
    unachievable without immortality and therefore
  • Why?
  • Either our moral values tell us something about
    the nature and purpose of reality OR are
    subjective and therefore meaningless.
  • But does this transcendent ground point to the
    Judaic Christian God?

Brian Davies Philosophy of Religion
  • Davies begins by examining the Second form of
    Moral Argument Kants.
  • humanity ought to strive for moral perfection and
    since it cannot be successful unless helped by
    divinity, God must exist to ensure humanity can
    achieve that for which it must strive!
  • Morality requires us to aim for the highest good.
  • And there should be a reward appropriate to
  • To be in need of happiness and also worthy of it
    and yet not to partake of it could not be
    appropriate and in accordance with the complete
    volition of an omnipotent rational being. Kant.

Highest Good
Theology student
  • Willing the highest good means willing a
    correlation between moral rectitude and
  • SNAG! it is impossible to ensure what morality
    requires in this life.
  • The highest good must be possible but we are not
  • Answer.
  • We must postulate the existence of God as able to
    ensure that fidelity to moral requirements is
    properly rewarded. Only God can ensure its
  • It is morally necessary to assume the existence
    of God.
  • For the dunce
  • The fact that morality demands of the realisation
    of the highest good and the fact that only God
    can see to it that the highest good comes about,
    leads to the conclusion that there is a God.
    Simple !!!!!

Kant Criticisms
  • Taking it at face value what Kant offers looked
    rather impressive in some respects. It is widely
    accepted that ought implies can.
  • If I tell you that you ought to do something, you
    should be able to do it.
  • Jump that hole!
  • You may be crippled but you ought to walk to
  • 1. Seems reasonable and
  • 2. Unreasonable. 
  • Temptation
  • We are tempted to argue that if the highest good
    ought to be realised, then it can be realised.
    Since it cannot be realised by humans, morality
    is absurd without God.

Criticism 1
  • From
  • We ought to aim at for the highest good, it
    does not follow that anything can bring this
  • All that follows is that we ought to aim for the
    highest good.
  • Ok! It is absurd sometimes to say we ought to do
    X even if we cannot achieve it i.e. for someone
    crippled to walk.
  • But it sometimes makes sense to say that someone
    ought to aim for what cannot be achieved i.e. A
    child with learning difficulties ought to aim to
    learn French. This does not imply that French can
    or will be learnt, but that the child should try.

We all ought to try a to attain the highest good.
It can be beneficial.
Highest Good
Criticism 2
  • Kant might say
  • If the highest good cannot be realised, one
    ought not to aim for it. 
  • The critic
  • Why can we not conclude that we simply ought not
    to aim at the highest good ?
  • Can we suppose that the existence of God follows
    from the fact that we ought to aim for something
    which could only exist if there is a God? Why
    not say that that something should not be aimed

Criticism 3
Highest Good
  • Problem.
  • We need not agree that only God can ensure the
    realisation of the highest good. God, omnipotent,
    omniscient, could bring it about. The realisation
    of the highest good requires power and knowledge
    not found in nature.
  • But do we need omnipotence etc? Why not something
    more powerful and knowledgeable than us i.e.
    Angels, wise Aliens?

  • Kant's argument does not to lead to the Christian
    God. By the time we have arrived at to the third
    criticism there seems to be a strong element of
  • .Kant's moral argument for God does not work.
  • Mr. Cs word of warning
  • Kant was arguing for his view on morality/duty.
    In order to make sense of this view, he had to
    argue that there was a life after death and
    therefore a God. In a strict sense Kant did not
    produce an argument for Gods existence, though
    of course, others have used it as such!!!!!

What about arguments that state moral laws imply
a moral lawgiver or that the sense of moral
responsibility and guilt implies the existence of
God? This is the first from of moral argument
identified by Hick
  • If this is proposed we must first know if there
    is a moral law from which to argue a Divine
  •  Two responses to this
  • A. Some philosophers believed in the existence
    of an objective moral law that is binding upon
    all human beings .
  • B. Other philosophers believe there is no
    objective moral law. It is not appropriate to
    speak of value judgments which are independent of
    whatever people may think or feel.
  • Moral Judgement is a subjective matter.
  • Owen follows the first view.. there is an
    objective moral law.
  • Trethowen
  • Okay I accept an objective moral law.
  • But would not explanation for this be better
    found in anthropology or psychology than in God?
  • Davies Belief in an objective moral law need
    not even suggest the existence of God. P. 178

  • It might be said that if one already has reason
    to believe in God independently of moral
    considerations, then the fact that there is a
    moral law.. only to be expected.
  • i.e.
  • There is a purposeful, intelligent creator
    therefore we should expect objective moral laws
    to exists. Yippee! God exists!
  • But equally we could argue
  • MORAL LAW-yes there is one but where is the
    particular reason for believing God exists.  
  • Help! There are conflicting interpretations!

What about the second view that there is no moral
law which is objective or independent?
  • There can be no argument from law to the
    existence of God.
  • If moral judgements are just expressions of
    feelings and decisions, then they are of little
    weight in an argument for God's existence.