The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Episode 040: God and the Social Nature of Morality


We’ve reached a milestone – 40 Episodes!

Episode 40 is an explanation of Robert Adams’ argument that the social nature of moral obligation supports the claim that morality is ultimately grounded in God.




Looking for other podcasts


Women as First Witnesses to the Empty Tomb


  1. Looking forward to it. Glenn, may I suggest something? It would be great if you altered each podcast’s metadata so that the genre was listed as “Podcast”. Otherwise, I have to manually change it every time for it to work optimally on my Zune.

  2. Samson – do you mean the tag that currently says “Speech”?

  3. Yes. Maybe you prefer that it says “Speech”?

  4. Yeah I set it up that way. It’s no biggie to me though. In future I’ll have it say “podcast.”

  5. Okay, great. I don’t know whether you are aware, but in fact most podcasts these days are doing it this way. The reason, as I said, is that some software handles a podcast differently when it is actually labeled as a podcast.

  6. Yes, this is why I’m not impressed with the notion of fully person-independent moral facts. A metaphysical naturalist will need to anchor morality in natural beings, a theist has the option of God, but I don’t see how a naturalist can sensibly avoid both natural beings and God.

    Very nice lecture on divine command ethics one podcast back, by the way.

  7. I think the real challenge to theistic ethics comes from ideal observer theories. In many ways they recognise that moral obligations are plausibly commands of people, they also recognise moral obligations are made from an impartial perspective, are objective, and only person who was rational, fully informed and perfectly good could fill the role of commander. So they propose a ideal observer to fill the bill. I think this is where Adam’s argument is usefully supplemented by Hare and Layman’s argument, and also the evolutionary scepticism argument. If you put these together you need also to hold that human history has lead to us evolving the knowledge of an ideal observers dictates and also that the point where happiness and virtue are conjoined, only a real God as opposed to a ideal observer could do that.

  8. Jared

    Nice Minuet in G at the end!

  9. Thanks Jared 🙂

  10. Hi Glenn,

    I noticed that you had recently mentioned in your podcast that you were thinking of doing an episode on “faith”, and what that is etc.

    I am interested in this because I have been talking with an atheist, who seems determined to define faith as “belief without requiring supporting evidence”. He goes on to say “If something has supporting evidence it is no longer faith. ‘faith’ and ‘blind faith’ are the exact same thing because both do not require supporting evidence, there is nothing to distinguish between the two.” And then he concludes with “Faith corrupts reason, and reason destroys faith. You cannot employ reason and have faith, it’s an oxymoron.”

    I would love it if you could say a few things about this. I have attempted (perhaps incorrectly) that faith is like trust (certainly, it’s often synonymous). I used Martin Luther’s explanation in that faith is:
    1. Understanding: To believe something, you need to understand it.
    2. Assent: Where you agree “yes, that is true.”
    3. Trust: Or Committment. Where you come to place your trust in something or someone because you have assented to its truth.

    I then used a summary from Dr Craig as follows:

    For Christians (Faith in Christ), that means we need to understand the message of the Gospel. Next, we not only understand it, but we assent to it. That is, we believe Jesus is the Son of God, who died on the cross for your sins and who rose from the dead. But it’s not enough to assent to those truths, you need to then make a committment of your life to Him as Savior and Lord in order to be related to Him by ‘Saving Faith’. So Saving Faith is not just intellectual assent, it’s also whole-sold committment of the heart to the person whom you believe to be the truth.

    In response to him, I have said that every one uses some faith every day, and even science is based upon assumptions that can’t be proven, but are taken on ‘faith’. (I hope you think this would be accurate). This guy seems to put a lot of emphasis on science and the scientific method, so much so that I suspect he is bordering on ‘scientism’, though he rejects that, and instead describes himself as postpositivist. For him, I think, faith and reason are mutually exclusive, and faith and science are mutually exclusive too.

    So I hope you will be able to say something about this in some way, either here on in your podcast. I seem to have run out of things to say without repeating myself.

    Thanks again for your awesome podcasts. I really appreciate the level handedness that you use when dealing with topics (and yet manage to be extremely convincing in your conclusions).

    – Andrew

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