Why do we need morality? Is Ethics dependent on belief in God? Are there binding moral norms, and if so, where do they come from? Is there more than one way for Christians to understand the nature of morality? Is there any agreement between Christians and atheists or agnostics on this heated issue?
In God and Morality: Four Views
, first-rate philosophers take on a hotly contested topic. Here we listen in on a discussion between four distinguished contributors that puts on display the current divide between naturalism and theism. Christian philosophers Keith Yandell and Mark Linville, and two self-identified atheists/agnostics, Evan Fales and Michael Ruse, clearly and honestly present their differing views which include:
- Naturalist Moral Realism
- Naturalist Moral Non-Realism
- Moral Essentialism
- Moral Particularism
According to Fales, "there are no gods", yet moral norms are not simply a matter of personal preference. Instead, morality is objectively and ontologically determined by the facts of human nature. Ruse, drawing on David Hume and Neo-Darwinian approach, rejects the notion that morality has no ontological foundation, but it is in humanity's best interest to act if such a foundation exists. Yandell defends teh claim that moral norms are necessarily independent of any mind and are determined by abstract objects, or propositions, that define what is good regardless of whether God exists or not. Finally, Linville argues that moral norms are ontologically grounded in the being of God, such that the divine nature is the standard for rightness and goodness.
The four views schema of the book clarifies the disagreements while also demonstrating areas of some overlap among these thinkers. Of particular value for use as a textbook, these four essays and the responses to them from each essayist will foster critical thinking and contribute to the development of a well-informed position on this very important issue.
Is morality dependent upon belief in God? Is there more than one way for Christians to understand the nature of morality? Is there any agreement between Christians and atheists or agnostics on this heated issue? In God and Morality: Four Views four distinguished voices in moral philosophy ariticulate and defend their place in the current debate between naturalism and theism. Christian philosophers Keith Yandell and Mark Linville and two self-identified atheist/agnostics, Evan Fales and Michael Ruse, clearly and honestly represent their differing views on the nature of morality. Important differences as well as areas of overlap emerge as each contributor states their case, receives criticism from the others and responds. Of particular value for use as an academic text, these four essays and responses, covering the naturalist moral non-realist, naturalist moral realist, moral essentialist and moral particularist views, will foster critical thinking and contribute to the development of a well-informed position on this very important issue.
R. Keith Loftin (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is assistant professor of humanities at The College at Southwestern in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the editor of (IVP, 2012).
"This is an intellectually stimulating book and a good overview of natural and supernatural theories of morality. . . . If one is desirous to become better acquainted with contemporary views, Christian or not, this is a good start."
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