It’s been a while, my children. As a prominent member of the Center for Inquiry Alberta (a meaningless thing to say, since I have had little to do yet in my capacity aside from contributing ideas at meetings), I will be attending (and perhaps becoming part of) a presentation about atheism/secular humanism in a local mosque. I don’t know how much I can say about it at this time, so I will leave it there. It should be interesting and I will be putting my thoughts about that here when I can. This invitation by the Islamic community is a sight better than Bishop (insert favorite expletive here) Henry and his brand of intolerance towards atheism. Well, coming from a guy who places the moral health (read: imposes what he believes is moral) of young women above their real health by making access to Gardasil (a vaccine against some strains of HPV, a major cause of cervical cancer), I’m flattered!
But I digress. At our last CFI meeting, we discussed what we are potentially going to be asked at this presentation during the QnA part. We think the first question asked of us will be (bets, anyone?):
Isn’t God necessary for the existence of morality?
If we atheists ever talk about our atheism with the religious – and it is an inevitability when we do- this response is devastating: the Euryphro Dilemma. In a previous post on morality and why neither god nor religion are my moral compass I dealt mainly with the evolutionary development of moral behavior and the significant body of evidence behind it. If there is a single response to the claim that God is necessary for religion, it is Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma
Is something moral because it is commanded by God, or is it commanded by God because it is moral ?