Existence of God
The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture. A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God can be categorized as metaphysical, empirical, or subjective. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God involves the disciplines of epistemology and ontology and the theory of value; the Western tradition of philosophical discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle, who made arguments that would now be categorized as cosmological. Other arguments for the existence of God have been proposed by St. Anselm, who formulated the first ontological argument. John Calvin argued for a sensus divinitatis. Philosophers who have provided arguments against the existence of God include Immanuel Kant, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. In modern culture, the question of God's existence has been discussed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Collins, Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Lennox and Sam Harris, as well as philosophers including Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Rebecca Goldstein, A. C.
Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Edward Feser and David Bentley Hart. Scientists follow the scientific method, within which theories must be verifiable by physical experiment; the majority of prominent conceptions of God explicitly or posit a being, not testable either by proof or disproof. On these bases, the question regarding the existence of God, one for which evidence cannot be tested, may lie outside the purview of modern science by definition; the Catholic Church maintains that knowledge of the existence of God is the "natural light of human reason". Fideists maintain that belief in the existence of God may not be amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone. Atheists view arguments for the existence of God as insufficient, mistaken or weighing less in comparison to arguments against whereas some religions, such as Buddhism, are not concerned with the existence of gods at all and yet other religions, such as Jainism, reject the possibility of a creator deity. Positions on the existence of God can be divided along numerous axes, producing a variety of orthogonal classifications.
Theism and atheism are positions of belief, while gnosticism and agnosticism are positions of knowledge. Ignosticism concerns belief regarding God's conceptual coherence. Apatheism concerns belief regarding the practical importance of. For the purposes of discussion, Richard Dawkins described seven "milestones" on his spectrum of theistic probability: Strong theist. 100% probability of God. In the words of C. G. Jung: "I do not believe, I know." De facto theist. High probability but short of 100%. "I don't know for certain, but I believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there." Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50% but not high. "I am uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God." Impartial. 50%. "God's existence and non-existence are equiprobable." Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50% but not low. "I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical." De facto atheist. Low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is improbable, I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."
Strong atheist. "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one." The Catholic Church, following the teachings of Paul the Apostle, Thomas Aquinas, the First Vatican Council, affirms that God's existence "can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason". In classical theism, God is characterized as the metaphysically ultimate being, in distinction to other conceptions such as theistic personalism, open theism, process theism. Classical theists do not believe that God can be defined, they believe. Robert Barron explains by analogy that it seems impossible for a two-dimensional object to conceive of three-dimensional humans. In modern Western societies, the concepts of God entail a monotheistic, supreme and personal being, as found in the Christian and Jewish traditions. In monotheistic religions outside the Abrahamic traditions, the existence of God is discussed in similar terms. In these traditions, God is identified as the author of certain texts, or that certain texts describe specific historical events caused by the God in question or communications from God.
Some traditions believe that God is the entity, answering prayers for intervention or information or opinions. Many Islamic scholars have used rational arguments to prove the existence of God. For example, Ibn Rushd, a 12th-century Islamic scholar and physician, states there are only two arguments worthy of adherence, both of which are found in what he calls the "Precious Book". Rushd cites “providence” and “invention” in using th
Enlightenment is the "full comprehension of a situation". The term is used to denote the Age of Enlightenment, but is used in Western cultures in a religious context, it translates several Buddhist terms and concepts, most notably bodhi and satori. Related terms from Asian religions are moksha in Hinduism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism, ushta in Zoroastrianism. In Christianity, the word "enlightenment" is used, except to refer to the Age of Enlightenment and its influence on Christianity. Equivalent terms in Christianity may be illumination, metanoia, revelation and conversion. Perennialists and Universalists view enlightenment and mysticism as equivalent terms for religious or spiritual insight; the English term enlightenment is the western translation of the abstract noun bodhi, the knowledge or wisdom, or awakened intellect, of a Buddha. The verbal root budh- means "to awaken," and its literal meaning is closer to "awakening." Although its most common usage is in the context of Buddhism, the term buddhi is used in other Indian philosophies and traditions.
The term "enlightenment" was popularised in the Western world through the 19th century translations of Max Müller. It has the western connotation of a sudden insight into reality; the term is being used to translate several other Buddhist terms and concepts, which are used to denote insight. What constituted the Buddha's awakening is unknown, it may have involved the knowledge that liberation was attained by the combination of mindfulness and dhyāna, applied to the understanding of the arising and ceasing of craving. The relation between dhyana and insight is a core problem in the study of Buddhism, is one of the fundamentals of Buddhist practice. In the western world the concept of spiritual enlightenment has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self and false self, being regarded as a substantial essence being covered over by social conditioning. In Indian religions moksha or mukti is the final extrication of the soul or consciousness from samsara and the bringing to an end of all the suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and rebirth.
Advaita Vedanta is a philosophical concept where followers seek liberation/release by recognizing identity of the Self and the Whole through long preparation and training under the guidance of a guru, that involves efforts such as knowledge of scriptures, renunciation of worldly activities, inducement of direct identity experiences. Originating in India before 788 AD, Advaita Vedanta is considered the most influential and most dominant sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy. Other major sub-schools of Vedānta are Dvaita. Advaita is a system of thought where "Advaita" refers to the identity of the Whole. Recognition of this identity leads to liberation. Attaining this liberation takes a long preparation and training under the guidance of a guru, however Ramana Maharshi called his death experience akrama mukti, "sudden liberation", as opposed to the krama mukti, "gradual liberation" as in the Vedanta path of Jnana yoga; the key source texts for all schools of Vedānta are the Prasthanatrayi—the canonical texts consisting of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras.
The first person to explicitly consolidate the principles of Advaita Vedanta was Shankara Bhagavadpada, while the first historical proponent was Gaudapada, the guru of Shankara's guru Govinda Bhagavatpada. Shankara systematized the works of preceding philosophers, his system of Vedanta introduced the method of scholarly exegesis on the accepted metaphysics of the Upanishads. This style was adopted by all the Vedanta schools. Shankara's synthesis of Advaita Vedanta is summarized in this quote from the Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, one of his Prakaraṇa graṃthas: In half a couplet I state, what has been stated by crores of texts. In the 19th century, Vivekananda played a major role in the revival of Hinduism, the spread of Advaita Vedanta to the West via the Ramakrishna Mission, his interpretation of Advaita Vedanta has been called "Neo-Vedanta". In a talk on "The absolute and manifestation" given in at London in 1896 Swami Vivekananda said, I may make bold to say that the only religion which agrees with, goes a little further than modern researchers, both on physical and moral lines is the Advaita, and, why it appeals to modern scientists so much.
They find. A man must have not only faith, but intellectual faith too". Vivekananda emphasized samadhi as a means to attain liberation, yet this emphasis is not to be found in the Upanishads nor in Shankara. For Shankara and Nirvikalpa Samadhi are means to gain knowledge of the existing unity of Brahman and Atman, not the highest goal itself: oga is a meditative exercise of withdrawal from the particular and identification with the universal, l
Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is referred to as the "end of the world" or "end times"; the word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", first appeared in English around 1844. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "the part of theology concerned with death and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind". In the context of mysticism, the term refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and to reunion with the Divine. Many religions treat eschatology as a future event prophesied in folklore. History is divided into "ages", which are time periods each with certain commonalities. One age comes to an end and a new age or world to come, where different realities are present, begins; when such transitions from one age to another are the subject of eschatological discussion, the phrase, "end of the world", is replaced by "end of the age", "end of an era", or "end of life as we know it".
Much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the "end of time" but rather with the end of a certain period, the end of life as it is now, the beginning of a new period. It is a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living, thinking, or being; this crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment, or the reaching of a new level of consciousness. Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involve the violent disruption or destruction of the world. For example, according to some ancient Hebrew worldviews, reality unfolds along a linear path. Eschatologies vary as to their degree of pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. "heaven and hell". They vary as to time frames. Groups claiming imminent eschatology are referred to as Doomsday cults. In Bahá' í belief, creation has neither an end. Instead, the eschatology of other religions is viewed as symbolic.
In Bahá'í belief, human time is marked by a series of progressive revelations in which successive messengers or prophets come from God. The coming of each of these messengers is seen as the day of judgment to the adherents of the previous religion, who may choose to accept the new messenger and enter the "heaven" of belief, or denounce the new messenger and enter the "hell" of denial. In this view, the terms "heaven" and "hell" are seen as symbolic terms for the person's spiritual progress and their nearness to or distance from God. In Bahá'í belief, the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, signals the fulfilment of previous eschatological expectations of Islam and other major religions. Christian eschatology is the study concerned with the ultimate destiny of the individual soul and the entire created order, based upon biblical texts within the Old and New Testament. Christian eschatology looks to study and discuss matters such as death and the afterlife and Hell, the Second Coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the end of the world, the Last Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth in the world to come.
Eschatological passages are found in many places in the Bible, both in the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old Testament, apocalyptic eschatology can be found notably in Isaiah 24–27, Isaiah 56–66, Zechariah 9–14 as well as closing chapters of Daniel, Ezekiel. In the New Testament, applicable passages include Matthew 24, Mark 13, the parable of "The Sheep and the Goats" and in the Book of Revelation—although Revelation occupies a central place in Christian eschatology; the Second Coming of Christ is the central event in Christian eschatology within the broader context of the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Most Christians believe that suffering will continue to exist until Christ's return. There are, various views concerning the order and significance of other eschatological events; the Book of Revelation is at the core of Christian eschatology. The study of Revelation is divided into four interpretative methodologies or hermeneutics. In the Futurist approach, Revelation is treated as unfulfilled prophecy taking place in some yet undetermined future.
In the Preterist approach, Revelation is chiefly interpreted as having prophetic fulfillment in the past, principally the events of the first century CE. In the Historicist approach, Revelation provides a broad view of history, passages in Revelation are identified with major historical people and events; this is view the Jewish scholars held, along with the early Christian church, it was prevalent in Wycliffe's writings, other Reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Sir Isaac Newton, many others. In the Idealist approach, the events of Revelation are neither past nor future, but are purely symbolic, dealing with the ongoing struggle and ultimate triumph of good over evil. Contemporary Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, the tenth and last avatar of Vishnu before the age draws to a close who will reincarnate as Shiva and dissolve and regenerate the universe. Most Hindus believe that the current period is the Kali Y
Holy Spirit, is a term found in English translations of the Bible, understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures; the word spirit appears either alone or with other words, in the New Testament. Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ"; the word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. In its Aramaic parts, the term is rûacḥ; the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates the word as πνεῦμα. This is the same word, used throughout the New Testament, written in Greek; the English term spirit comes from its Latin origin, how the Vulgate translates both the Old and New Testament concept. The alternative term, "Holy Ghost", comes from Old English translations of spiritus; the Hebrew Bible contains the term "spirit of God" in the sense of the might of a unitary God. This meaning is different from the Christian concept of "Holy Spirit" as one personality of God in the Trinity.
The Christian concept tends to emphasize the moral aspect of the Holy Spirit more than Judaism, evident in the epithet Holy Spirit that appeared in Jewish religious writings only late but was a common expression in the Christian New Testament. According to theologian Rudolf Bultmann, there are two ways to think about the Holy Spirit: "animistic" and "dynamistic". In animistic thinking, it is "an independent agent, a personal power which like a demon can fall upon a man and take possession of him, enabling him or compelling him to perform manifestations of power" while in dynamistic thought it "appears as an impersonal force which fills a man like a fluid". Both kinds of thought appear in Jewish and Christian scripture, but animistic is more typical of the Old Testament whereas dynamistic is more common in the New Testament; the distinction coincides with the Holy Spirit as either a permanent gift. In the Old Testament and Jewish thought, it is temporary with a specific situation or task in mind, whereas in the Christian concept the gift resides in man permanently.
On the surface, the Holy Spirit appears to have an equivalent in non-Abrahamic Hellenistic mystery religions. These religions included a distinction between the spirit and psyche, seen in the Pauline epistles. According to proponents of the History of religions school, the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit cannot be explained from Jewish ideas alone without reference to the Hellenistic religions. However, according to theologian Erik Konsmo, the views "are so dissimilar that the only legitimate connection one can make is with the Greek term πνεῦμα itself". Another link with ancient Greek thought is the Stoic idea of the spirit as anima mundi—or world soul—that unites all people; some believe that this can be seen in Paul's formulation of the concept of the Holy Spirit that unites Christians in Jesus Christ and love for one another, but Konsmo again thinks that this position is difficult to maintain. In his Introduction to the 1964 book Meditations, the Anglican priest Maxwell Staniforth wrote: Another Stoic concept which offered inspiration to the Church was that of'divine Spirit'.
Cleanthes, wishing to give more explicit meaning to Zeno's'creative fire', had been the first to hit upon the term pneuma, or'spirit', to describe it. Like fire, this intelligent'spirit' was imagined as a tenuous substance akin to a current of air or breath, but possessing the quality of warmth, it is not a long step from this to the'Holy Spirit' of Christian theology, the'Lord and Giver of life', visibly manifested as tongues of fire at Pentecost and since associated – in the Christian as in the Stoic mind – with the ideas of vital fire and beneficient warmth. The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH, it means "spirit of the holiness" or "spirit of the holy place". The Hebrew terms ruacḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit", ruacḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" occur; the "Holy Spirit" in Judaism refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It refers to the divine force and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.
For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity: The "Triune God" manifested as Father and Holy Spirit. Two symbols from the New Testament canon are associated with the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography: a winged dove, tongues of fire; each depiction of the Holy Spirit arose from different historical accounts in the Gospel narratives. Called "the unveiled epiphany of God", the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers the followers of Jesus with spiritual gifts and power that enables the proclamation of Jesus Christ, a
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions." These sorts of philosophical discussion are ancient, can be found in the earliest known manuscripts concerning philosophy. The field is related to many other branches of philosophy, including metaphysics and ethics; the philosophy of religion differs from religious philosophy in that it seeks to discuss questions regarding the nature of religion as a whole, rather than examining the problems brought forth by a particular belief system. It is designed such that it can be carried out dispassionately by those who identify as believers or non-believers. Philosopher William L. Rowe characterized the philosophy of religion as: "the critical examination of basic religious beliefs and concepts." Philosophy of religion covers alternative beliefs about God, the varieties of religious experience, the interplay between science and religion, the nature and scope of good and evil, religious treatments of birth and death.
The field includes the ethical implications of religious commitments, the relation between faith, reason and tradition, concepts of the miraculous, the sacred revelation, mysticism and salvation. The term "Philosophy of Religion" did not come into general use in the West until the nineteenth century, most pre-modern and early modern philosophical works included a mixture of religious themes and "non-religious" philosophical questions. In Asia, examples include texts such as the Hindu Upanishads, the works of Daoism and Confucianism and Buddhist texts. Greek philosophies like Pythagoreanism and Stoicism included religious elements and theories about deities, Medieval philosophy was influenced by the big three Monotheistic Abrahamic religions. In the Western world, early modern philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkeley discussed religious topics alongside secular philosophical issues as well; the philosophy of religion has been distinguished from theology by pointing out that, for theology, "its critical reflections are based on religious convictions".
"theology is responsible to an authority that initiates its thinking and witnessing... philosophy bases its arguments on the ground of timeless evidence."Some aspects of philosophy of religion have classically been regarded as a part of metaphysics. In Aristotle's Metaphysics, the prior cause of eternal motion was an unmoved mover, like the object of desire, or of thought, inspires motion without itself being moved. This, according to Aristotle, is the subject of study in theology. Today, philosophers have adopted the term "philosophy of religion" for the subject, it is regarded as a separate field of specialization, although it is still treated by some Catholic philosophers, as a part of metaphysics. Different religions have different ideas about Ultimate Reality, its source or ground and about what is the "Maximal Greatness". Paul Tillich's concept of'Ultimate Concern' and Rudolf Otto's'Idea of the Holy' are concepts which point to concerns about the ultimate or highest truth which most religious philosophies deal with in some way.
One of the main differences among religions is whether the Ultimate Reality is a personal God or an impersonal reality. In Western religions, various forms of Theism are the most common conceptions of the ultimate Good, while in Eastern Religions, there are theistic and various non-theistic conceptions of the Ultimate. Theistic vs non-theistic is a common way of sorting the different types of religions. There are several philosophical positions with regard to the existence of God that one might take including various forms of Theism and different forms of Atheism. Monotheism is the belief in a single deity or God, ontologically independent. There are many forms of monotheism. Keith Yandell outlines three kinds of historical monotheisms: Greek and Hindu. Greek monotheism holds that the world has always existed and does not believe in Creationism or divine providence, while Semitic monotheism believes the world is created by a God at a particular point in time and that this God acts in the world.
Indian monotheism meanwhile teaches that the world is beginningless, but that there is God's act of creation which sustains the world. The attempt to provide proofs or arguments for the existence of God is one aspect of what is known as natural theology or the natural theistic project; this strand of natural theology attempts to justify belief in God by independent grounds. Most of philosophy of religion is predicated on natural theology's assumption that the existence of God can be justified or warranted on rational grounds. There has been considerable philosophical and theological debate about the kinds of proofs and arguments that are appropriate for this discourse. Common types of arguments for the existence of god include: Cosmological Argument Ontological Argument Teleological argument Argument from religious experience Argument from morality Wager arguments like Pascal's Wager attempts to rationally argue that one should believe in God. Skeptics and atheists have put forth various arguments against the existence of God including: The argument from inconsistent revelations The problem of evil, the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is, in either absolute or relative terms, omnipotent and omnibenevolent.
Argument from poor design Argument from nonbelief or the argument from divine hiddenness Eastern Religions have included both theistic and other alternative positions about the ultimate nature of reality. One such v
Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case regardless of empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief sees it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true. In the context of Ancient Greek thought, two related concepts were identified with regards to the concept of belief: pistis and doxa. Simplified, we may say that pistis refers to "trust" and "confidence", while doxa refers to "opinion" and "acceptance"; the English word "orthodoxy" derives from doxa. Jonathan Leicester suggests that belief has the purpose of guiding action rather than indicating truth. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to personal attitudes associated with true or false ideas and concepts. However, "belief" does not require active circumspection. For example, we never ponder. We assume the sun will rise. Since "belief" is an important aspect of mundane life, according to Eric Schwitzgebel in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a related question asks: "how a physical organism can have beliefs?"
Epistemology is concerned with delineating the boundary between justified belief and opinion, involved with a theoretical philosophical study of knowledge. The primary problem in epistemology is to understand what is needed in order for us to have knowledge. In a notion derived from Plato's dialogue Theaetetus, where the epistemology of Socrates most departs from that of the sophists, who at the time of Plato seem to have defined knowledge as what is here expressed as "justified true belief"; the tendency to translate from belief to knowledge, which Plato utterly dismisses, results from failing to distinguish a dispositive belief from knowledge when the opinion is regarded true, in terms of right, juristically so, the task of the rhetors to prove. Plato dismisses this possibility of an affirmative relation between belief and knowledge when the one who opines grounds his belief on the rule, is able to add justification to it. Plato has been credited for the "justified true belief" theory of knowledge though Plato in the Theaetetus elegantly dismisses it, posits this argument of Socrates as a cause for his death penalty.
Among American epistemologists and Goldman, have questioned the "justified true belief" definition, challenged the "sophists" of their time. Mainstream psychology and related disciplines have traditionally treated belief as if it were the simplest form of mental representation and therefore one of the building blocks of conscious thought. Philosophers have tended to be more abstract in their analysis, much of the work examining the viability of the belief concept stems from philosophical analysis; the concept of belief presumes an object of belief. So, like other propositional attitudes, belief implies the existence of mental states and intentionality, both of which are hotly debated topics in the philosophy of mind, whose foundations and relation to brain states are still controversial. Beliefs are sometimes divided into dispositional beliefs. For example, if asked "do you believe tigers wear pink pajamas?" A person might answer that they do not, despite the fact they may never have thought about this situation before.
This has important implications for understanding the neuroscience of belief. If the concept of belief is incoherent any attempt to find the underlying neural processes that support it will fail. Philosopher Lynne Rudder Baker has outlined four main contemporary approaches to belief in her controversial book Saving Belief: Our common-sense understanding of belief is correct – Sometimes called the "mental sentence theory," in this conception, beliefs exist as coherent entities, the way we talk about them in everyday life is a valid basis for scientific endeavour. Jerry Fodor is one of the principal defenders of this point of view. Our common-sense understanding of belief may not be correct, but it is close enough to make some useful predictions – This view argues that we will reject the idea of belief as we know it now, but that there may be a correlation between what we take to be a belief when someone says "I believe that snow is white" and how a future theory of psychology will explain this behaviour.
Most notably, philosopher Stephen Stich has argued for this particular understanding of belief. Our common-sense understanding of belief is wrong and will be superseded by a radically different theory that will have no use for the concept of belief as we know it – Known as eliminativism, this view argues that the concept of belief is like obsolete theories of times past such as the four humours theory of medicine, or the phlogiston theory of combustion. In these cases science hasn't provided us with a more detailed account of these theories, but rejected them as valid scientific concepts to be replaced by different accounts; the Churchlands argue that our common-sense concept of belief is similar in that as we discover more about neuroscience and the brain, the inevitable conclusion will be to reject the belief hypothesis in its entirety. Our common-sense unders
Argument from morality
The argument from morality is an argument for the existence of God. Arguments from morality tend to be based on moral order. Arguments from moral normativity observe some aspect of morality and argue that God is the best or only explanation for this, concluding that God must exist. Arguments from moral order are based on the asserted need for moral order to exist in the universe, they claim. The argument from morality is noteworthy in that one cannot evaluate the soundness of the argument without attending to every important philosophical issue in meta-ethics. German philosopher Immanuel Kant devised an argument from morality based on practical reason. Kant argued that the goal of humanity is to achieve perfect happiness and virtue and believed that an afterlife must exist in order for this to be possible, that God must exist to provide this. In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis argued that "conscience reveals to us a moral law whose source cannot be found in the natural world, thus pointing to a supernatural Lawgiver."
Lewis argued that accepting the validity of human reason as a given must include accepting the validity of practical reason, which could not be valid without reference to a higher cosmic moral order which could not exist without a God to create and/or establish it. A related argument is from conscience. Newman argued that, because the conscience suggests the existence of objective moral truths, God must exist to give authority to these truths. Contemporary defenders of the argument from morality are Graham Ward, Alister McGrath and William Lane Craig. All variations of the argument from morality begin with an observation about moral thought or experiences and conclude with the existence of God; some of these arguments propose moral facts which they claim evident through human experience, arguing that God is the best explanation for these. Other versions describe some end which humans should strive to attain, only possible if God exists. Many arguments from morality are based on moral normativity, which suggests that objective moral truths exist and require God's existence to give them authority.
They consider that morality seems to be binding – obligations are seen to convey more than just a preference, but imply that the obligation will stand, regardless of other factors or interests. For morality to be binding, God must exist. In its most general form, the argument from moral normativity is: A human experience of morality is observed. God is the best or only explanation for this moral experience. Therefore, God exists; some arguments from moral order suggest that morality is based on rationality and that this can only be the case if there is a moral order in the universe. The arguments propose that only the existence of God as orthodoxly conceived could support the existence of moral order in the universe, so God must exist. Alternative arguments from moral order have proposed that we have an obligation to attain the perfect good of both happiness and moral virtue, they attest that whatever we are obliged to do must be possible, achieving the perfect good of both happiness and moral virtue is only possible if a natural moral order exists.
A natural moral order requires the existence of God as orthodoxly conceived, so God must exist. In his Critique of Pure Reason, German philosopher Immanuel Kant stated that no successful argument for God's existence arises from reason alone. In his Critique of Practical Reason he went on to argue that, despite the failure of these arguments, morality requires that God's existence is assumed, owing to practical reason. Rather than proving the existence of God, Kant was attempting to demonstrate that all moral thought requires the assumption that God exists. Kant argued that humans are obliged to bring about the summum bonum: the two central aims of moral virtue and happiness, where happiness arises out of virtue; as ought implies can, Kant argued, it must be possible for the summum bonum to be achieved. He accepted that it is not within the power of humans to bring the summum bonum about, because we cannot ensure that virtue always leads to happiness, so there must be a higher power who has the power to create an afterlife where virtue can be rewarded by happiness.
Philosopher G. H. R. Parkinson notes a common objection to Kant's argument: that what ought to be done does not entail that it is possible, he argues that alternative conceptions of morality exist which do not rely on the assumptions that Kant makes – he cites utilitarianism as an example which does not require the summum bonum. Nicholas Everitt argues that much moral guidance is unattainable, such as the Biblical command to be Christ-like, he proposes that Kant's first two premises only entail that we must try to achieve the perfect good, not that it is attainable. Both theists and non-theists have accepted that the existence of objective moral truths might entail the existence of God. Atheist philosopher J. L. Mackie accepted that, if objective moral truths existed, they would warrant a supernatural explanation. Scottish philosopher W. R. Sorley presented the following argument: If morality is objective and absolute, God must exist. Morality is absolute. Therefore, God must exist. Many critics have challenged the second premise of this argument, by offering a biological and sociological account of the development of human morality which suggests that it is neither objective nor absolute.
This account, supported by biologist E. O. Wilson and philosopher Michael Ruse, proposes that the human experience of morality is a by-pr