Argument from Metaethics

Moral arguments for God’s existence are, in my opinion, some of the most powerful arguments for God’s existence. This is because they appeal to something that we all find intuitively undeniable: that objective morality exists. We know that murder and malevolence really are objectively wrong, whether or not anybody believes it. It is such a powerful argument because an atheistic and especially a naturalistic universe is not at all hospitable to the notion of objective morality (as we’ll see shortly) and because it is difficult to conceive of morality apart from some objective, independent standard. It is very difficult to come up with a plausible non-theistic account of what that standard is. It’s important to say from the outset that this is not an argument that atheists cannot know morality or cannot be good. Famous atheists often misrepresent the argument in this way. Atheists can know that there is objective morality and follow it, but, they will be able to do so only because theism is true ( if this argument is correct).  Let’s look at a brief summary of a metaethical argument for God’s existence.

  1. If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist.

  2. Objective morality does exist

  3. Therefore, God exists.

Objective morality does exist

Most people regard the existence of objective morality as uncontroversial. In fact, famous atheists have regularly contradicted themselves in public about this issue, because they claim that objective morality does not exist and then clearly make moral judgments in different contexts.

A good example is Richard Dawkins, who has famously claimed, “the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”[i] After proclaiming that there is no evil or good, Dawkins constantly makes moral pronouncements in The God Delusion and elsewhere. He writes “From a rational choice point of view, or from a Darwinian point of view, human super niceness is just plain dumb. And yes, it is the kind of dumb that should be encouraged -which is the purpose of my article.”[ii] In the same vein, Bertrand Russell, another famous atheist, also seemed to believe that objective morality does not exist. In Religion and Science, he tells us, “ Questions as to “values” –that is to say, as to what is good or bad on its own account, independently of its effects—lie outside the domain of science, as the defenders of religion emphatically assert. I think that in this they are right, but I draw the further conclusion, which they do not draw, that questions as to “values” lie wholly outside the domain of knowledge. That is to say, when we assert that this or that has “value,” we are giving expression to our own emotions, not to a fact which would still be true if our personal feelings were different.”[iii](emphasis added) Despite this, Russell famously held very strong moral opinions, most notably spending time in prison for his defense of pacifism during the First World War. Even atheists who claim to be nihilists (or to use the more PC term, “moral skeptics”), such as Dawkins and Russell, cannot honestly believe in an amoral universe. Long story short, everybody, deep down, believes that there is such a thing as objective morality. It is very difficult to consistently deny it. And we should be glad, because if you did consistently deny it, it would clearly make you a worse person.

If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist.

The more controversial premise will be premise 1. Why should we believe this to be the case? Firstly, we should point out that it is very difficult to account for morality on an atheistic worldview. The most common type of atheism defended today is naturalism (that only nature or matter exists) often conjoined with the epistemological claim of scientism (that only scientifically verifiable things can be known). However, if naturalism is true then the highest reality is the sociobiological, because these are the highest, most complex, realities that are naturalistic and explainable in terms of science. We can account for the physical existence of human beings and the implications of this for their behaviour (the biological) and we can thus account for how human beings have organized themselves into societies, by appealing to those biological characteristics and other physical circumstances. But nothing beyond the sociobiological can exist if naturalism is true. If this is the case, then morality should be explainable through social and biological systems. The problem is that accounting for morality through sociobiology always ends up subjectivizing or relativizing it. Before we go on we must be clear about what exactly we mean by an “account” of morality. Social and biological considerations may provide an adequate account of why we regard certain behaviours to be wrong or right, but not why those behaviours really are right or wrong. We are looking for whether the social and biological can ground objective morality and moral obligation. A successful account will tell us why we should avoid certain behaviours and pursue others. The key concept here is obligation or “normativity” to use philosophical-speak. A metaethical account of morality is successful if it can explain where the “should” in morality comes from. It will also explain why certain things are morally valuable and should be respected (such as human life and happiness), while other things are not valuable. What does moral obligation consist in or why does it arise?

For example, saying that morality is accounted for by the behaviours that society has decided to encourage and discourage makes morality a function of the Zeitgeist. That is, morality is simply how a given society has decided to organize itself – there is no standard beyond society to make certain things right or wrong. Notice that this means that we cannot judge that Mao or Stalin did anything wrong in organizing their empires in the way that they did. Why should we believe that the morality of our society is better than theirs, apart from appealing to some standard independent of social organization? If everybody in a society believes that something is right or wrong, that doesn’t obligate me to act in accordance with it. Also, it implies that human life and happiness is valuable only to the extent that a society thinks it is. In other words, “counter-revolutionaries” or Jews or Armenian Christians, lose their value as human beings when the society decides that they should not be valued. This is clearly a problematic implication of a sociological account of metaethics. So objective morality cannot exist if it is contingent on society. So what about a biological account? You might want to say that morality is simply created by evolutionary processes. We have intuitions that certain things are right and wrong because these things ultimately hurt or help our survival, and so we have been “programmed” by evolution to avoid certain behaviors and pursue others. The problem is that this also doesn’t give us an adequate standard by which to judge what is right and wrong. It might be true that evolution explains why we regard certain things as right and wrong but it doesn’t tell us why things are right or wrong objectively. In fact, if the evolutionary account is all we have, we have good reason to think that objective morality does not exist at all. There is simply survival, what behaviors are conducive to it and which are not. Nothing else. The only real value, then, is survival. Knowing how evolution and other biological processes have programmed us to believe that certain things are right or wrong, does not obligate us to act in accordance with those things. It also does not imply that human life or happiness is really valuable. So sociobiological accounts, even if they tell us why we think certain things are right or wrong, cannot provide a foundation for objective morality. We can’t start thinking that everything that aids survival is morally right – we know that that’s not morality. Also, we know that we can’t start regarding whatever the dominant narrative in our society is, to be objectively right regardless of its content. Morality becomes either a function of what society approves of or of what aids our survival, both of which makes morality completely relative and shifting constantly with changing circumstances. In other words, a form of moral nihilism would be true. But if the sociobiological is the highest reality in naturalism, and sociobiological explanations cannot ground objective morality, then naturalism cannot account for objective morality. Let’s summarize:

  1. Sociobiological systems are the highest, most complex realities on naturalism

  2. Objective morality (including moral obligation) cannot exist if sociobiological systems are the only or highest realities.

  3. Therefore, objective morality cannot exist on naturalism.

Can Science Account for Objective Morality?

Science cannot account for morality, because morality deals with normative questions (questions of what we should or ought to do). Science deals with descriptive questions (questions of what is). This being the case, science can tell us why we regard things as right or wrong, but not why they really are right or wrong. Science can even provide us with background knowledge based on which we can make moral decisions, but it cannot provide us with the content of morality. It can tell us whether chimpanzees feel pain, but not whether it is wrong to hurt them for fun (if they do feel pain). A psychopath or sadist could equally find out that certain animals feel pain more acutely than others through what biologists know of nervous systems and then use this information as an impetus to torture them for fun. Presumably, knowing they feel pain more acutely will provide the sadist with extra satisfaction. In other words, science itself is amoral.

Ethical Non-naturalism

Some atheists, including Erik Wielenberg, Thomas Nagel and others prefer a non-naturalistic account of morality. For example, secular moral Platonists contend that moral values exist, but do not depend on the natural world. They are not personal realities (otherwise we would be very close to theism). Moral ideals are impersonal, but objective, and exist independently of nature. This account clearly admits that some sort of transcendent reality is required to account for morality. However, it is very difficult to make sense of the claim that impersonal moral values just exist. As William Lane Craig puts it, “What does it mean to say, for example, that the moral value Justice just exists? It’s hard to know what to make of this. It is clear what is meant when it is said that a person is just, but it is bewildering when it is said that in the absence of any people, Justice itself exists. Moral values seem to exist as properties of persons, not as mere abstractions –or at any rate it’s hard to know what it is for a moral value to exist as a mere abstraction.”[iv]

Erik Wielenberg, an insightful ethicist from Purdue University, asserts that morality exists in a metaphysically necessary way, but that it simply represents a brute fact about the universe. The notion that the nature of God determines the value and morality in the universe means that things cannot have intrinsic value, because “If an act of will on the part of God bestows value on something distinct from God, that value cannot be intrinsic. It will be value that the thing has in virtue of something distinct from itself.“[v] Wielenberg expounds an account whereby ethical truths are metaphysically necessary and that ethical truths that are contingent are derived from necessary ethical truths. “With respect to the question, what makes these ethical claims true my answer is that it is the same sort of thing that makes other necessary truths true – namely, the essential nature of the entities that those claims are about. It is the essential character of the numbers 2 and 5, and of the relations of addition and identity, that make it the case that necessarily, 2+2 is not equal to 5. It is the essential nature of pain that makes it the case that it is intrinsically evil.”

However, as William Lane Craig notes, “Some philosophers think that moral truths, being necessarily true, cannot have an explanation of their truth…But that doesn’t prove that they cannot have an explanation. The crucial presupposition of these philosophers—that necessary truths cannot stand in relations of explanatory priority to one another –is far from evidence and, indeed, seems plainly false. For example, the classical theist will say that the statement “A plurality of persons exists is necessarily true because “God exists” is necessarily true and God is essentially a Trinity. To give a non-theological example, many mathematicians would say that “2+3=5” is necessarily true because the Peano axioms for standard arithmetic are necessarily true. Or again, many metaphysicians would hold that the statement “No event precedes itself” is necessarily true because “Temporal becoming is an essential and objective feature of time” is necessarily true. It would be utterly implausible to suggest that the relation of explanatory priority holding between the relevant statements could go either way.”[vi]

So it seems that the truths of arithmetic that Wielenberg appealed to do have an explanation according to Craig. But apart from this, the truths of arithmetic are not metaphysically but logically necessary. A logically necessary truth is one where its denial entails a contradiction. A metaphysically necessary truth is merely one that obtains in every possible world. The truths of arithmetic are logically necessary, not simply metaphysically necessary. 2+2 =4 is logically necessary, because to say that it is equal to anything else, would result in contradictions with other similar operations. (For example, if 2+2=5, then this contradicts 2+3=5 and 2 +2+2 = 6 etc.) So, the truths of arithmetic are logically necessary not simply metaphysically necessary. But even with them, we can explain why they are logically necessary by showing how a contradiction follows from denying them. And the fact that they are logically necessary, means that they must be metaphysically necessary as well. Thus, Wielenberg’s analogy is not successful in showing that he does not have to provide an explanation as to how morality is metaphysically necessary and why it exists.

In addition, classical theism has for hundreds of years said that God is metaphysically necessary. But this does not mean that we cannot explain both why God exists and why God is metaphysically necessary.That is why there are arguments of natural theology, which explain why God exists and why he must be metaphysically necessary. Wouldn’t you find it absurd if I declared that “God is metaphysically necessary” and then refused to give any explanation about why God exists or why he is metaphysically necessary? Well, this is exactly what many atheist philosophers are doing with morality. Nor can they claim that morality has intuitive support, while God does not, for belief in some supernatural reality is as anthropologically ubiquitous as belief in some form of objective morality (even as there is diversity in terms of both religions and moral codes). It is important to note as well that saying that objective morality is metaphysically necessary is not the same as to say that it exists. Rather, we must say “if objective morality exists, it is metaphysically necessary” in the same way that we say “if God exists, then he is metaphysically necessary.” Saying that something is metaphysically necessary, does not establish that it exists. Otherwise, as I said, I could simply declare that God is metaphysically necessary and this would mean that he exists (not even the ontological argument does this). But this is what some atheist philosophers are doing with morality.

Finally, a good case can be made that the notion of intrinsic value and metaphysical necessity in the way conceived of by Wielenberg commits the fallacy of unfalsifiability. If human beings are instrinsically valuable (which means that no argument or explanation of this can be given) and objective morality is metaphysically necessary and simply exists, then it is literally impossible to argue that objective morality does not exist. There is no state of affairs that would imply the non-existence of objective morality, because it obtains in every possible state of affairs and it does not depend for its existence on anything else, and we don’t know how it exists. This means that it is perfectly unfalsifiable.

In other words, atheist non-naturalists cannot hide behind metaphysical necessity and intrinsic value. They need to provide an account of morality that is superior to or as good as the theistic one so that atheism will be compatible with objective morality.

How does God ground morality and why is God the explanation?

We know that God is metaphysically necessary from Leibniz’s cosmological argument and from the ontological argument. So if God is metaphysically necessary, then it means that anything that is part of his nature is also metaphysically necessary. Thus, if God is good, then goodness will be metaphysically necessary by virtue of God’s necessary nature. This means that morality is not contingent but is metaphysically necessary. Therefore, there is no possible world in which God commands people to be evil. A reality which can ground morality must be metaphysically necessary ( because otherwise evil could be good in different possible worlds), and that being must also be a person, because morality cannot exist impersonally. That is, morality always exists as a property of a person (as we saw in considering ethical non-naturalism). In addition, the being must be morally perfect, because only a morally perfect being can serve as the ideal of morality. So we are looking at a metaphysically necessary, morally perfect person. This doesn’t cover all the attributes of God, but the only type of being that could satisfy that description would be God.


“Many Secular Theories” Objection

Atheist critics sometimes appeal to many ethical theories that do not appeal to God in any way (such as Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics etc.). So, they often say, you must first refute all these theories before you can say that morality can’t be grounded in an atheistic worldview. This is by far the weakest objection to the moral argument, for a very simple reason. These theories that critics appeal to are not metaethical theories. They attempt to answer the question of which behaviours or set of behaviours correspond best with our moral intuitions, but they do not answer the question of what grounds morality metaphysically (metaethics), which is what the moral argument deals with. They also don’t answer the question of why we are justified in thinking there is such a thing as morality (moral epistemology).

The Euthyphro Dilemma

This is probably the best objection to a theistic metaethics. The namesake of this objection is one of the dialogues of Plato, in which we are presented with the following dilemma.

“Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?”[vii]

Is it good because God commands it or does God command it because it is good? Committing yourself to the first wing of the dilemma (it is good because God commands it) implies that God could command things we know to be bad, which would make it good. On the other hand, committing yourself to the second wing of the dilemma implies that morality is not grounded in God.

In short, the Euthyphro dilemma appeals to our intuition that some moral truths are metaphysically necessary. That is, there is no possible state of affairs in which cruelty for fun is morally good or commendable. Cruelty for fun must be wrong in every possible world, which means that it shouldn’t be possible for God to command cruelty in some possible world. A fairly typical response to this dilemma is to say that the Euthyphro dilemma is a false dilemma. There is a third option, not presented by the dilemma. If God’s nature is metaphysically necessary, then anything grounded in God’s nature (such as moral ideals) will also be metaphysically necessary. Thus, morality’s metaphysical necessity is preserved, but morality is still grounded in God.

Atheists often respond to this by contending that theists shouldn’t feel the need to ground objective morality in God’s metaphysically necessary nature unless morality really is independent. For example, Louis Pojman tells us that if this theistic response to the Euthyphro dilemma is right, then “we can discover our ethical duties through reason, independent of God’s command. For what is good for his creatures is so objectively. We do not need God to tell us that it is bad to cause unnecessary suffering or that it is good to ameliorate suffering; reason can do that. It looks like the true version of ethics is what we called ‘secular ethics.’”[viii] This seems to confuse moral epistemology (how we know morality) with metaethics ( how morality is real or metaphysically grounded). If we can discover morality through reason, this does nothing to imply that morality is not grounded in God. It just means that we don’t necessarily have to have divine revelation to know morality ( or it means that human reason is divine revelation). But Pojman goes on, “If Adams wants to claim that it is goodness plus God’s command that determines what is right, what does God add to rightness that is not there simply with goodness…”[ix] This isn’t really a correct rendering of the response however. It is not goodness plus the command of God. It is God’s metaphysically necessary nature that houses objective morality. It is the metaphysical necessity of God’s nature that makes it an appropriate grounding for ethics. Ethics is not independent. It is “created” by God’s nature, but it is metaphysically necessary, because God’s nature is metaphysically necessary. But if ethics is already metaphysically necessary, isn’t grounding it in God redundant in some way? Not so. We’ve already seen that saying that something is metaphysically necessary is not enough for it to exist or exist independently. Its metaphysical necessity still requires an explanation, and morality is only metaphysically necessary if we are already convinced that it exists on atheism. If atheism draws the existence of morality into doubt ( which it does) then its metaphysical necessity will not help you. On naturalistic atheism (the most philosophically developed form of atheism), the highest reality must be explicable in terms of natural processes. But if that’s the case, how can metaphysically necessary morality possibly exist if reality must be explainable in terms of the social-biological (which is always metaphysically contingent)? In other words, we need not say that morality is not metaphysically necessary, but only that atheism and especially naturalistic atheism, provides a defeater for thinking that objective morality exists, because it does not allow the type of reality that could be metaphysically necessary for anything, let alone morality. The physical is always metaphysically contingent. But what about atheistic ethical non-naturalism? As we’ve already seen, this is not a plausible metaethical account. In other words, if the implications of atheism are such that it cannot “house” objective and metaphysically necessary morality (atheism provides a defeater for objective morality) then God is not redundant at all. Let’s summarize the argument:

  1. If atheism implies a defeater for believing that objective morality is metaphysically necessary, then the theistic account of why morality is metaphysically necessary is not redundant.

  2. Naturalistic atheism rules out the type of reality that would be able to accommodate a metaphysically necessary existence (since material reality is always contingent)

  3. Non-naturalistic atheism cannot postulate a plausible reality that can accommodate a metaphysically necessary existence ( since it is implausible to suppose that impersonal moral ideals simply exist, because morality is always a property of persons)

  4. Therefore, the theistic account of why morality is metaphysically necessary is not redundant.

Basically, if a universe where God does not exist cannot provide plausible “accommodation” for the metaphysical necessity of morality, then the theistic account of why morality is metaphysically necessary is not redundant. In other words, if morality cannot exist as a metaphysically necessary reality on its own ( because it is implausible) then it is obvious that the theistic explanation of why  morality is metaphysically necessary is not redundant. Even if the Euthyphro dilemma is successful against a theistic metaethics, this does not at all imply that morality can exist on atheism. All the objections I mentioned to naturalistic and non-naturalistic atheism and their compatibility with objective morality, still stands. If theistic metaethics is also ruled out, this may imply that nihilism is true, but not that morality must automatically be compatible with atheism.

Finally, it should be noted that almost any metaphysical account of morality will be vulnerable to the Euthyphro dilemma to some degree or another. Philip Kitcher, writing in Life After Faith, is quick to dismiss theistic metaethics based on the Euthyphro dilemma (without addressing theistic responses to it), but doesn’t notice that his own account is much more vulnerable to a Euthyphro type of objection than any theistic metaethics. Kitcher develops a secular account of morality as “an outgrowth of social technology.”[x] Simplified, this is the view that morality developed as a way of learning to live together in changing circumstances, with different problems. Kitcher responds to the contention that this subjectifies morality by saying, “In the extreme case, when any person placed in particular circumstances would develop a particular wish for change, it is wrong to dismiss the envisaged goal as “subjective.” It is no idiosyncratic whim, but a natural outgrowth of the situation, testifying to the objectively problematic character of the circumstances.”[xi] This is clearly an attempt to place objective morality in the social-biological realm. But before we look at whether it succeeds in making morality sufficiently objective, we can immediately notice that it would fail to rebut the Euthyphro dilemma. Is it good because it is a solution to a social problem or is it a solution to a social problem because it is good? Or, is it good because anybody would want it in this circumstance, or does anybody want it in this circumstance, because it is good? Unlike theists, Kitcher can’t respond that these social problems have a metaphysically necessary character, because they don’t (but God has). Indeed, this account is inferior even to an extreme Divine Command Theory, which does not admit that moral truths are metaphysically necessary. Why? Circumstances are much more fickle and changeable than a timeless God, even if his will may be contingent. The solutions to the social problem might be objective in some way, but it makes morality a product of circumstances, which are highly variable. It is also a strong assumption that all moral percepts are merely solutions to social problems. Think of virtues of courage and honesty. In some cases, practicing a virtue might even create negative consequences rather than solving social problems. This account would mean that people from a society who do not have certain problems would be justified in acting in ways that another society would deem wrong, because it has a different set of problems (and vice versa). Both would be right, according to Kitcher’s account.  In addition, if the conditions that created the problem are no longer present then there is no need to have that rule any longer. We are back at the problem with all social accounts of morality – that they make it impossible to judge morality from standards independent of society.

So this account of morality is much more vulnerable to a Euthyphro objection than any theistic metaethics. Apart from this, Kitcher seems to be sneaking moral assumptions in by the backdoor by supposing that people’s wants are morally significant. Why should it matter that anybody in this circumstance would want specifically x? The only non-circular response you can give to this (i.e. without appealing to morality) is by saying that it would make society ordered or harmonious. Why should society be ordered and harmonious? Because it would make people happy. Why should people be happy? If you answer this by appeal to moral intuitions (that people should be happy), then your metaethical account is circular, because it presupposes morality in order to account for it. The only non-moral response Kitcher can give is to say that making a society more ordered and harmonious is that it would be more efficient and so more capable of reproduction and survival. But why should humans survive and reproduce? Why shouldn’t they go extinct, like so many other species have? Once again, this question cannot be answered in a non-moral terms, which means that Kitcher’s account has hit a dead-end. Social-biological systems cannot account for objective morality.

 So if any metaethical account will be vulnerable to varying degrees to the Euthyphro dilemma, either we throw up our hands and declare that objective morality cannot have a metaphysical explanation (this is the view that morality is autonomous) or we must go with the best metaphysical account of morality (theism).

Morality is “Autonomous”

Another secular account that is relatively popular in academia is that morality is autonomous of other fields of philosophy, including metaphysics. This would rule out any attempt to account for morality metaphysically. It seems to me that this is by far the weakest secular account, because morality does clearly have metaphysical implications. If morality says that a certain statement “Murder is wrong” is true, then a metaphysical claim has been made. To say that “murder is wrong” is true, is to say that it is in reality the case that murder is wrong. One defender of the autonomy of morality is Ronald Dworkin, the late professor of law and philosophy who taught at Yale and Oxford. Dworkin claims that morality is really independent of any questions that fall outside the department of morality. In other words, morality is independent of questions about metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of language.[xii]  Dworkin insists that any judgment about morality, including moral skepticism, is a “substantive, first-order value judgment about what to do”. Moral truths are an “inescapable fact” because “moral and ethical questions are inescapable dimensions of the inescapable question of what to do”.[xiii] In other words, moral skepticism itself is an answer to the question of how one should live and how one should treat others. The question of how one should live and how one should treat others are inescapable questions about life. This is mistaken. The question of how I should live and treat others is not an inescapable question. The question of how I am going to live and treat others is the inescapable question. The normative aspect of the question is perfectly avoidable. Secondly, the fact of the question being inescapable does not necessitate that there is an objective answer to it. Why is the question of how I am going to live and treat others necessarily different from the question of which job I am going to take or which brand of tea I am going to drink tomorrow?

Yet the heart of Dworkin’s argument seems more irrational. “It [Hume’s principle] undermines philosophical skepticism, because the proposition that it is not true that genocide is wrong is itself a moral proposition…” Moral skepticism is itself a claim about morality and any reasons that can be given for moral skepticism can only be moral reasons. This leads Dworkin to conclude, erroneously, “I reject the idea of an external, meta-ethical inspect of moral truth. I insist that any sensible moral skepticism must be internal to morality”.[xiv] So what Dworkin is saying is that moral reality is literally undeniable; it is unfalsifiable. He is saying that any judgment you make about morality, even a seemingly “meta” judgment is saying something about morality and is therefore a moral judgment. This is as irrational as for me to say that “there is no God” is a religious judgment and therefore it affirms the religious realm in trying to deny it. We have to make judgments about the things we are trying to deny reality to. This doesn’t mean that the thing exists simply because I am invoking the idea of it in order to deny it. Yet this is what Dworkin seems to be saying: that any statement about moral reality, even a denial of moral truth is itself a judgment about moral reality. Therefore, it is completely impossible to deny a moral reality.  “They [philosophers] think it would be a defeat for our ordinary ethical and moral convictions if we discovered that these were grounded in nothing but other ethical or moral convictions.” Yes they would, because it would be circular.


[i] Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden (New York: Basic Books, 1995), 133

[ii]  Richard Dawkins, “Atheists for Jesus”, in The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever edited by Christopher Hitchens ( Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2007) p. 308

[iii] Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) 230 – 231

[iv] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008) 178

[v] Erik Wielenberg, “God and Morality,” In Ethical Theory: An Anthology, ed. Russ Shafer-Landau (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007) p. 270

[vi] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008) 178

[vii] Plato, Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, trans. G.M.A. Grude second edition, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2002)  12

[viii] Louis P. Pojman, Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, 5th ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2006) p 255-256 quoted in John Loftus, Why I became an Atheist, (New York: Prometheus, 2012) p. 105

[ix] Ibid., 105

[x] Philip Kitcher, Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism, (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2014) 46

[xi] Ibid., 47

[xii] Ronald Dworkin, Justice for Hedgehogs, (Cambridge: Belknap, 2011) p. 24

[xiii] Ibid., 24-25

[xiv] Ibid., 25