I’m not sure I follow. I recognize the inherent subjective nature of meaning, purpose and value, and yet don’t see it “all for naught”.However if you notice, we all seem to want some kind of purpose, some reason for being here. We ask, "Is there all there is in this life?" The atheist could say we make our own purpose. Fair enough. We all have goals to accomplish in this life. I want to be a writer and programmer some day. But without a framework of objective purpose, meaning, and morality, all we do comes to naught.
Recognizing the subjective nature of these things doesn’t necessitate an “everything is fair play because we’re all doomed anyway” attitude.The Christian answer is that yes, we do have a purpose. That provides the better, more coherent and logical explanation. Instead of "all is fair play because we're all doomed anyway," it gives us reason to get up in the morning and do something with this life. But objective morals, purpose, and meaning can only be found in God.
Also, if meaning, purpose and value are found in God, then they are also subjective (God being the subject making the valuation). So whatever problems you perceive regarding subjective meaning/purpose/value or morality are not solved by invoking God.
I disagree, to an extent.
Question: Where do the concepts of good and evil come from?
I think the better wording for my question is, "By what standard do we measure good and evil?" There's basically two options. First we could say that good and evil are things made up by humans. That runs the problem of ultimately being relative. What's good for you is good for you, and what's good for me is good for me. By this atheistic, God-excluding reasoning, good and evil don't actually exist outside of a person's mind or a group's consensus. Torturing babies for fun is only bad if you think it's bad.
First of all, are you sure you want to argue for a non-relative, thus absolute, morality? For example, is killing another human being always wrong?
I would argue that good and evil, moral and immoral do not exist outside of a mind (God included). There is no inherent property of “good” or “evil” moral and immoral that objects possess and that we can objectively measure. It’s a valuation (therefore subjective in nature) with regards to the actions and intent of, usually, humans.
However, this doesn’t default to the attitude of “what’s good for me is good for me and what’s good for you is good for you”. Quite the contrary.
As an example: If your goal and desire is the health and happiness of humanity, then you can formulate the premise-
1) The health and happiness of humanity should be preserved/sought
From that, you can take a look at slavery, for example, and determine that the ownership of a group A by group B is so detrimental to group A that it outweighs any gain, perceived or otherwise, that group B realizes as a direct result of this ownership of humans. This detriment of group A is antithesis to preserving the health and happiness of humanity.
1) The health and happiness of humanity should be preserved/sought
2) If X action is detrimental to the health and happiness of humanity, it is immoral
3) Slavery is detrimental to the health and happiness of humanity.
4) The act of slavery is immoral
Now, of course an agreement must be met with regards to premise 1 in the first place, but that’s a problem for theists as much as it is for atheists. If your idea of morality is something entirely opposite of that, then as far as I'm concerned, we're speaking of two entirely different things. The fact that humans are, generally speaking, biologically and psychologically similar as a species means that it should be no surprise we hold much the same goals and desires, and thus agree to much the same premises by which we determine moral and immoral behavior.
I'd also like to add that premise 1 may be jumping slightly ahead. You can boil down very basic goals and desires that most humans share. As an example- living is preferable to not living.
I don’t think enforcing morality is a requirement. But realistically speaking, those who hold the majority, or even just the most power to enforce things, get to decide what is enforced and how it is enforced. I recognize this reality, but that doesn’t mean I believe it is morally good (I am not making a might makes right argument).Do you think there are such things as good and evil? Even if you did, then how could you try to force your idea of good and evil on anyone else, since it's all relative? You wouldn't have the right to stop the torturer because even though you think it's evil, that person may say it's alright.
However, this is true whether you use God’s morality or not. After all, how does God enforce his morality but through coercion and force?
What allows you to conclude this (the bold)?
Question: Where did the universe come from?
There's an age old argument out there called the Kalam cosmological argument which I think fits here. It begins on a couple of factual premises and from there concludes the most likely source of the universe's existence.
Premise 1: Anything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.
Simple enough. I began to exist because my parents reproduced and I was conceived. A computer doesn't exist until somebody puts it together. Things which go from not existing to existing had a cause.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
Big Bang theory. We went from not existing to existing.
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Something made the universe. We didn't just pop into existence out of nowhere. But what made the universe? Whatever it is, it needs to exist outside of space and time. It cannot be made of matter or energy. Since it's not material, it can't be changeable.
Premise 1 commits the fallacy of equivocation. You compare the beginning of you with the beginning of the universe. These beginnings are not the same thing. In the former, you’re talking about the act of copulation which caused already existing matter to transform into, eventually, the human being that you are. In the latter, you are talking about the formation of matter from non-matter as being “caused” by God. Creation ex nihilo.
Which leads us into another issue. To say that the universe was caused by God is to speak causally. However, you define God as outside of time, and time is often seen as universe dependent. Therefore, it may be inaccurate within physics, and certainly is within this argument, to speak causally with regards to the universe.
Premise 2 is not a known fact. You misrepresent the big bang theory, which does not postulate a universe from nothing or a universe that began to exist. It is a theory that explains the universe as expanding from “an extremely hot and dense state”.
Premise 1 and 2 are flawed. The conclusion does not follow.
Abstract “objects” like numbers and mathematical laws are concepts, not actual objects. I think you understand this, but I'm pointing out the distinction because there is a slight equivocation between the two in the rest of that paragraph.Only two things fit this description. Abstract objects such as numbers and mathematical laws,
You also assume that a mind is not contingent upon the material. All available evidence shows us that the mind, your mind, my mind, any mind is dependent upon physical things we call brains. You seem to be conflating “objects” with “concepts”. Minds think of concepts. How does conceptualizing create actual objects?or unembodied minds. Well, I'm sure we'll both agree that abstract objects can't make anything happen; that's their definition. When did the number seven make, say, a flower pop into being? By simple process of elimination we find the best cause for the universe is the mind, which we call God.
Where is the evidence with regards to the Kalam Cosmological argument?Sure there's the idea of the multiverse but it has issues. First of all, where is the evidence???
My understanding of the GBV theorem is that it is a singularity hypothesis. On top of that, the GBV theorem does not state “any universe that is in a state of expansion”, but instead shows almost all inflationary models do not expand eternally into the past. Our universe may fit into one of these models, but I’m not sure. If so, it seems to suggest that our universe in its current expansionary state has not existed eternally. How long it existed “pre expansion” I don’t think anyone knows. We also don't know what "caused" it to come into existence, either as a incredibly dense point or otherwise. And as Hawking will point out, talking about “before” the universe or "what caused" the universe may be nonsensical because of issues regarding “time”. It may in fact not be a causal relationship at all.We can't peer outside of our own universe. If it's out there then at least for now, we can't know. Second, it's sooo much more likely that if a universe did randomly come into being in the multiverse, it shouldn't be one where we could exist. It's enormously improbable. Third, the multiverse itself must have a beginning. In 2003 three cosmologists created the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem. It states that any universe (or multiverse!) that is, on average, in a state of expansion MUST have a beginning. So if the multiverse is expanding and creating new universes, what is the origin of the multiverse? This shows the multiverse doesn't eliminate God, it just pushes back the chain of creation one step.
The theorum also does not necessitate a God as you describe it, as the “cause” (if there is one). Instead, Vilenkin himself posits a “quantum nucleation event” as just one explanation. I don’t know enough about physics to explain that efficiently, I’m only attempting to highlight the error in your representation of the theorem as support for the existence of a god.
It’s actually “a” and “theism”: Theism being “a belief in a god or gods” and “a” being “without”. The only thing it requires is a non-belief in a god or gods.Atheism does not necessitate proclaiming "there is no god".
What is your definition of atheism? For me it is the belief that there is no God. After all its roots are 'a-' which means without, and 'theos' which means God.
I wouldn't mind continuing this discussion in Areopagus if you want.