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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent chapter on moral arguments for theism, September 9, 2001
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This review is from: The Moral Interpretation of Religion (Reason and Religion) (Paperback)
This is an interesting book by respected philosopher Peter Byrne (editor of the prestigious academic journal, RELIGIOUS STUDIES). Byrne discusses 'the moral interpretation of religion," the view that "morality provides the anchor for belief in transcendent, sacred reality and, consequently, provides the means for interpreting belief in a religious ultimate." This book is not sympathetic to the view that morality needs a personal God as its foundation, though Byrne is equally willing to criticize secular ethics when appropriate. Byrne argues (1) that if the foundation of morality is a personal God, then the autonomy of morality is undermined. (2) When theists appeal to moral arguments for theism, they are open to the counterargument that the problem of evil is a reason for favoring atheism over theism. According to Byrne, the argument from evil is stronger evidence for atheism than the moral argument is for theism.
Of special interest to me was the book's second chapter, which focuses exclusively on an oft-neglected topic: the various moral arguments for theism. In that chapter, Byrne states a number of objections to moral arguments for God's existence. (Ironically, most of those objections have NOT appeared in atheistic literature in the philosophy of religion!) Along the way, Byrne manages to discuss the following topics:
* the Euthyphro dilemma,
* Robert Adams' modified divine command theory,
* Linda Zagzebski's claim that without God we must become moral skeptics,
* the suggestion that secular morality is deficient because it lacks a proper motivational background to pursue the moral good
In short, I would say that chapter 2 alone justifies purchasing the book. If you have an interest in moral arguments for the existence of God, then you will definitely want to add this book to your library.
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