Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Apologetics Tuesday:If you don’t like it…redfine it. Part 2

What is Good?

Last week I started a segment called don’t ask it redefined. I started by talking about the idea of nothing, and how popular atheists redefine the word to mean something that is in fact not nothing.

This week were talking about the word good. It seems kind of odd to try to redefine the word good to me whatever you want me, but that’s just with Sam Harris is done. In his book The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris, renowned atheist, has redefine what the word good means.

His argument comes from his acknowledgment that there are in fact absolute objective morals. Things that are right or wrong no matter what people’s opinion of them. Things like murder, rape, and other things are objectively wrong no matter what society says about them. The idea that the Holocaust would still be wrong, would still be evil even if Nazi Germany would’ve won World War II is a clear example of this. Just because society would’ve said the killing 6 million Jews would be right, it would still be wrong. Sam Harris acknowledges the fact that there are objective morals yet wants to find a basis for them other than God. As an atheist he rules out God for the grounding of morality before he even starts. He wants to try to find a basis for morality in the world we live in on strict naturalism. The problem is there is no ground for morality in that naturalism. If he were right, and naturalism is true, then we would be just molecules in motion. Murder and rape wouldn’t be any more wrong than a lion killing another animal.

Apologist’s Response

Here is what Dr. William Lane Craig says about Harris’ redefinition of the word “good”

So, he says, “Questions about values … are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.”13 Therefore, he concludes, “It makes no sense … to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.”14 Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It is simply a tautology — talking in a circle. Thus, Harris has “solved” his problem simply by redefining his terms. It is mere word play.

At the end of the day Harris is not really talking about moral values. He is just talking about what’s conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. Seen in this light, his claim that science can tell us a great deal about what contributes to human flourishing is hardly controversial. Of course, it can — just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria. His so-called “moral landscape” picturing the highs and lows of human flourishing is not really a moral landscape at all
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So Harris in his attempt to tell you that without God there is a reason to be good, fails miserably. His “success” comes from his redefinition of the word “good”

Have you heard people redefine Good?

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