This post is part of a series on Can we be good without God?
I just finished listening to a somewhat frustrating debate between atheist Dan Barker and apologist Matt Slick on the topic Is there Reason to be Good Without God?
I say frustrated because (a) I think Barker makes too many logical mistakes and pot shots at Christianity that have nothing to do with the topic, and (b) I thought Matt’s answers were a bit hard to follow, and his responses during the rebuttal were often combative, defensive, or just plain humorous deflections because he was not prepared to answer well.
Of course, it’s easy to judge from the sidelines, but I wanted to clarify my current understanding of how a Christian apologist/theologian/philosopher might answer this question clearly.
I admit, I am not yet formally educated in these matters – I am a student in the M. Div. program at Fuller Theological Seminary, but with three small children, a full time job, and a part time pastorate, I’m progressing slowly. But here’s my view of what should have been covered clearly by Mr. Slick.
In considering the question “Is there REASON to be good without God?,” there are a lot of preliminary issues which ought to be addressed before we can answer the question well.
1. Can we DEFINE what is good without God?
2. Can we RECOGNIZE what is good without God?
3. Can we BE good without God?
4. Why SHOULD we be good without God?
In the course of discussing these, many side arguments and doctrines, not to mention red herrings, will come up, and those need answers too. I would love to have the time to map these (anyone know if they are mapped?), not to mention go back to my Bill Craig books and see what his thorough and brilliant analysis has produced that I have missed. Anyway, the related issues that will come up include:
1. The Euthyphro Dilemma
2. The nature of man and the origin of goodness
3. Evolution and morality
4. Situational ethics
5. Moral motivation – carrot or stick?
These topics and others I hope to discuss in this series.