the secondary precepts,
the natural law can be blotted out from the human heart, either byevil persuasions, just as in speculative matters errors occur in respect of necessaryconclusions; or by vicious customs and corrupt habits
, as among some men, theft, and evenunnatural vices, as the Apostle states were not esteemed sinful.”
2.0 THE MORALITY & ETHICS OF GOD
“Can we be good without God?” This question gives us an arduous task of examining if objective moral properties like goodness in the world can exist without God. Certainlyatheists such as John Mackie have every reason to ask ‘what we can make of moralitywithout recourse to God, and hence of what we can say about morality if, in the end, wedispense with religious belief
-- for given the absence of any religious faith by atheists, thisis simply to ask how things stand with morality. But even theists have long asked thisquestion.
The most common answer to this question will be what this essay deals with in itsthesis and that is the words of Ivan Karamazov: “without God, everything is permitted”.
Kamarazov’s conclusion was certainly the view of the post-World War 2 Frenchexistentialism, where God gets frequent mention in a kind of post mortem: “What do we donow that God is dead?” Hence, the brilliantly crafted response of Kai Nielsen who states theconnection between God and good: “If there is no God…the classical natural law theory isabsurd…”
Thomas Aquinas made known his work that all laws essentially require a law giver. OnAquinas’ view, one of the essential properties a thing must possess to be a law is that it be promulgated by one who has the care of the community at heart.
Most theistic natural lawtheorists hold the argument and belief that God is necessarily good. God’s existence is itself good and what God does cannot but be good.
If atheists grant the permissibility of using thisnotion of God in a moral argument, it can be stated that no questions have been beggedagainst them. This is so because it has not been conceded yet that there is such anomnipresent being, or that there is even a possibility of such being in their mindset. Hence it
John L Mackie
, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong
(London, Penguin, 1977), p. 48.
Natural Law and Natural Rights
(Oxford, OUP, 1980), p.43.
The Brothers Karamazov
(New York, Random, 1933)
Kai Nielsen, “The Myth of Natural Law”, in S. Hook, ed.,
Law and Philosophy
(New York, N.Y.U. Press,1958). p.129.
, I-II, Q.90.