Read Along: Ch 15—Can People Be Good Without God?
Today we continue with Chapter Fifteen in the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. (Hear an interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Fifteen, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact! Index page here.
Chapter Fifteen: Can People Be Good Without God?
Chapter fifteen is an exploration of the moral truths we observe in the world—what best explains our moral experiences? Can goodness exist in the world if God does not exist? This chapter looks for the ontological grounding for objective morality; something which atheism/naturalism does not offer. The authors present a case against an evolutionary account of morality, then move on to show that objective morality makes a good case for God’s existence.
Mark D. Linville’s essay at the end of the chapter is a short yet profound look at the moral argument.
The crucial question in this chapter is not “Can we be good without belief in God?” but “Can we be good without God?” The latter is the more fundamental question. (p. 197)
To say that a moral judgment is objectively good or evil is to say that it is good or evil independent of what people think, believe, or agree on. (A subjective claim would depend on what people think, believe, or agree on.) (p. 198)
In this chapter, it is important to mention that what we are after is an ontological grounding of objective morality, not an epistemological explanation of how we know what is right and wrong. (p. 198)
- How do the authors define the words objective and subjective?
- What does it mean to say something is objectively wrong?
- How does Christianity offer a better explanation of objective moral truths?
- Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Koukl & Beckwith
- “God, Naturalism, and the Foundations of Morality.” by Paul Copan In The Future of Atheism: Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue, edited by Robert B. Stewart