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Sense and Goodness Without God V: Natural Morality

11/24/2010

Since Luke doesn’t like this chapter that much, I’m not sure I have much to say. Carrier takes down J.P. Moreland’s view of morality though, which I think is awesome. Well, he doesn’t take it down, but shows that Naturalists have pretty much the same reasons to act. I’ll be reading Moreland’s Scaling the Secular City, so this is a good intro.

Page 294 (1.0)

Moreland defends the Christian theory of value by declaring that “my motive for being moral should be because I love God, I recognize him as my creator, I want to do what is right for its own sake, and I desire my own welfare in this life and the life to come” (Scaling, p. 128)

For reason 1, Carrier asks, “Why love God”? Humanists must answer “Why love humanity?” So the two reasons to be moral are on equal footing. For reason 2, the humanist recognizes his debt to society that “created him” so there is equal reason for that. For reason 3, Carrier asks, “Why do good for its own sake”? Humanists have this reason to be moral as well. Last is self interest, which Humanists have as a reason to be moral. What they don’t have is a promise of heaven.

Page 315 (2.1.1) The Goal Theory of Moral Value:

Carrier believes the only core value is happiness, which entails compassion and integrity.

How can this be so? For those who sacrifice happiness for something, he could say that they are calculating that they would be less happy in the alternate situation. But if someone promised happiness, and I knew it was guaranteed for the rest of my life if I allowed the torture of everyone I love, I know I would get rid of happiness. Maybe Carrier would just say that is because I would be made unhappy to agree to it, but even ruling that out, I would sacrifice happiness for other things. Core happiness needs some defending.

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