Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe
Suppose there is no God. This might imply that human life is meaningless, that there are no moral obligations and hence people can do whatever they want, and that the notions of virtue and vice and good and evil have no place. Erik J. Wielenberg believes this view to be mistaken and in this book he explains why. He argues that even if God does not exist, human life can have meaning, we do have moral obligations, and virtue is possible. Naturally, the author sees virtue in a Godless universe as different from virtue in a Christian universe, and he develops naturalistic accounts of humility, charity, and hope. The moral landscape in a Godless universe is different from the moral landscape in a Christian universe, but it does indeed exist. Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe is a tour of some of the central landmarks of this under-explored territory.
- Online resource
- 05 Jun 2012
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
'Wielenberg has written a worthwhile book, and he has done this with verve. His arguments are often provocative. It is his way to make people reflect on what he writes.' Ethical Perspectives '... the book has much to recommend it and there are moments when it is quite provocative ... there is plenty in this book to appeal to atheists, theists, and agnostics alike. It is both readable and rewarding; many interesting questions are raised, and at times novel and compelling solutions to old chestnuts are proposed ... the author keeps things lively by inserting creative stories, passages from literature, and a breadth of commentaries from other thinkers who have wrestled with the issues he addreses. Anyone interested in the relationship between God, value, and virtue would benefit from adding this book to their collection.' International Journal for Philiosophy of Religion
About Erik J. Wielenberg
Erik J. Wielenberg is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at DePaw University. He has written articles in such journals as Religious Studies, Faith and Philosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Synthese, and Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. He has given lectures at a variety of professional conferences, including meetings of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers.
Table of contents
Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. God and the Meaning of Life: 1. The meanings of life; 2. Four arguments that life lacks internal meaning without God; 3. Richard Taylor's way out: creating your own meaning; 4. Peter Singer's way out: meaning through eliminating pain; 5. Aristotle's way out: intrinsically good activity; Part II. God and Morality: 6. God as the omnipotent creator of ethics; 7. Criticism of the strong position; 8. Criticism of the weak position; 9. An alternative account; 10. God as divine commander; Part III. The Divine Guarantee of Perfect Justice: 11. Why be moral?; 12. First answer: because morality and self-interest coincide; 13. Second answer: because you ought to; 14. The divine guarantee of perfect justice and Kant's moral argument; 15. Divine justice, self-sacrifice, and moral absurdity; 16. Absolute evil and moral faith; 17. Where we are now; Part IV. Ethical Character in a Godless Universe: 18. A new assumption; 19. The fall of man: pride and disobedience; 20. Humility, Christian and naturalistic; 21. From humility to charity; 22. Hope and heroism; 23. Moral education and science; Part V. Creeds to Live By: 24. To believe or not to believe?; 25. A creed we can live by?; Notes; References.