An abductive moral argument against God’s existence

Does naturalism better explain the fact of ethical disagreement in the world better than theism does?

There can be no doubt that there is much disagreement when it comes to ethics. When it comes to normative ethics and meta-ethics, ethicists disagree on a lot of things (i.e. moral realism, divine command theory, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, etc). And when it comes to applied ethics, ethicists and laymen alike disagree on a number of things (war, death penalty, euthanasia, lying, etc.).

On theism, it is surprising that there exists such ethical disagreement. Why? Because God (if God exists) wants us to be able to do what is morally right. The theist believes that God wants us to do the right thing, but the theist also believes that God has left us in the dark about what the right answers are to certain ethical questions.

However, on naturalism, there is no God. Just nature that is impersonal, so that gives us good reason to expect less ethical agreement.

Note what I am not saying:

1. I am not saying that moral facts don’t exist
2. I am not saying that some moral facts don’t count as evidence for God (not claiming they do either)
3. I am not saying ethical disagreement means moral facts don’t exist
4. I am not saying there aren’t a lot of ethical issues that we do agree on

2 thoughts on “An abductive moral argument against God’s existence

  1. jbthibodeau

    I think this is a good argument, but suppose the theist says the following:

    “God wants us to recognize the morally good and the morally right, but he wants us to do this of our own free will. He does not want us to be such that we cannot fail; in that case we would lack significant freedom. It is our own failings (self-interest and/or original sin) that gets in the way of our recognizing what is right. Thus, even if God does exist, we should expect people to be wrong about morality. So we should expect moral disagreement.”

    1. Thanks for the response. I’d ask the theist why theism predicts lib. free will, and I’d also question whether lib. free will exists. It certainly isn’t obvious. Even without lib. free will, God could still create us to choose between good actions and supererogatory actions. Not to mention, appealing to original sin and Christian theism lowers the intrinsic probability of theism.

      It also seems very implausible to explain ALL moral disagreement as some personal moral failure/sin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s