Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Colin McGinn: Does Morality Need God?

Full Program on FORA TV
Recorded December 7, 2009
The Great Issues Forum: Varieties of Nonbelief

Journalist Susan Jacoby, philosopher Colin McGinn, and theologian Denys Turner explore questions such as: Is humanism another kind of religion? Is it religion's evolutionary future, rather than just one of several alternatives? What light does the recent scientific study of religion throw on these possibilities?

How do the new humanists compare to the new atheists? Can an atheist identity be shaped by a positive ethic, or must it be primarily an anti-religious sentiment? How will the persistence of belief and disbelief, as well as the tension between them, shape thought and culture in the 21st century?


  1. I don't get it.
    Did he say that instead of a god making moral values right, moral values make a god right?

  2. Yep, that's what it sounded like to me. "You begin with how people relate, and what god goes with that way of relating." Then he concludes with, "but  I just don't see it as entailing atheist conclusions."

    So he acknowledges that people create their own god (or gods)  based on their particular cultural morality, but that doesn't mean that God isn't real. Don't 'cha seeeee?

  3. The second guys point is ridiculous for one reason - it assumes that what happened in exodus actually happened.  Based on that, we can safely ignore him :) .

    Also, he doesn't even try to explain why the 10 commandments are particularly important.  It terms of providing us with a moral framework they're not particularly useful.