Atheism and the Basis of Morality

In A. W. Musschenga & Anton van Harskamp (eds.), What Makes Us Moral? Springer. pp. 257-269 (2013)
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Abstract

People in many parts of the world link morality with God and see good ethical values as an important benefit of theistic belief. A recent survey showed that Americans, for example, distrust atheists more than any other group listed in the survey, this distrust stemming mainly from the conviction that only believers in God can be counted on to respect morality. I argue against this widespread tendency to see theism as the friend of morality. I argue that our most serious moral obligations -- the foundations of what can be called “ordinary morality ” -- remain in place only if God doesn’t exist. In recent years, some atheists have reacted to society’s distrust of them by claiming that atheism accommodates ordinary morality just as well as theism does. The truth is even stronger: only atheism accommodates ordinary morality. Logically speaking, morality is not common ground between theists and atheists. Morality depends on atheism

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Stephen Maitzen
Acadia University

Citations of this work

Ordinary morality does not imply atheism.T. Ryan Byerly - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (1):85-96.
Normative Objections to Theism.Stephen Maitzen - 2019 - In Graham Oppy (ed.), A Companion to Atheism and Philosophy. Chichester, UK: Wiley. pp. 204–215.

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References found in this work

Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.Fred Feldman & J. L. Mackie - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (1):134.
The Problem of Evil.Eleonore Stump - 1985 - Faith and Philosophy 2 (4):392-423.
Ordinary Morality Implies Atheism.Stephen Maitzen - 2009 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (2):107 - 126.

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