J.P. Moreland a Christian theist and Kai Nielsen a renowned atheist debate on the existence of God was informative and dissimilar in both approach regarding the debating styles and intellectual priorities. Nielsen was quick to point out that he did not care about the archaic proof on a single resurrection event. Moreland, on the other hand, based his argument on Jesus resurrection event surprisingly along with cosmological science. This writing seeks to establish how Moreland and Nielsen defended their point of view on the debate whether God exists and whether ethics depends on the existence of God.
Nielsen style relied only on a single argument that demanded answers to the definition of God. Nielsen approach canceled the argument completely from the start by simply showing that people have no understanding of “GOD”. Nielsen focused his attention on criticizing the religious language. Providing evidence for to support his position, he stated that God had no meaning, a position disputed by many atheists (Nielsen, 1990). Nielsen argued his reason for saying God had no meaning factored in the realization that believers had little or no single notion to what the word “God” meant. Nielsen noted if believers were unable to explain with exactness on whom “God”, or what “God” was in consideration to how they used the word then their faith was baseless. He observed statements like “God was beyond the dimension of space and time” or “God loved humanity” showed absence of any definition further damaging theists position. Moreland on his part chose to engage Nielsen stating that despite no scientific model available could ever attain the same mathematical or logical certainty demanded by science. Scientific models remained to be the best tools for explaining the existence of God, considering the great amount of evidence support the theories harbor. Arguing to defend this point further, Moreland stated, considering how permanent the Big Bang theory and other similar theories are it would be wrong to dismiss them like did Nielsen. In ethics without God, Kai Nielsen argued morality was, not sourced from religion to exist or perform (Moreland & Nielsen, 1990). He observed there was no evidence supporting arguments or reasoning that non-believers lost their sense of purpose or identity. Nielsen observed that the Christian implication of absolutism was more monstrous in comparison to secular ethics, which incorporated the realms of sovereign standard justice. On his part, J.P. Moreland stated that Atheists like everyone else were capable of good deeds. However, he argued though this was the case there was no point in depriving oneself for no one. He asked why anyone would do any of the things compelled by moral law especially when there was no satisfaction. Moreland, (2009) observed that the question invoked here was why would anyone without any motivation consider morality. However, Nielsen observed that this position was lame and from his point if anyone’s motivation to morality was avoiding hell. Therefore in such a case what was, considered as morality was not; instead it was prudence showing off as morality While there was, little direct engagement in the debate the isolated approach on different issues only made it possible for the debate to focus on the issues at hand. Unfortunately, this approach removed the excitement but at the same time made it possible to see the exact position of each, without going into detail about personal issues. Moreland, style of argument was, made strong by use of convincing examples and existing evidence. In comparisons Nielsen approach, focused on asking relevant questions that imposed deep thinking. This strategy made it possible to grasp Nielsen arguments with ease making it easy to compare between the two philosophers. Nielsen went further to point out plenty of Christian ideologies regarding God and morality that had little or no evidence supporting stated claims. Nielsen was more persuasive than Moreland despite the fact that many reviewers think otherwise. The reason being Nielsen approach to debate was simpler and less, complex compared to Moreland approach. Nelsen managed to guide his listeners through questions and statements to his points of contention without losing them in complex ideologies and theoretical maneuvers. Additionally Nielsen managed to further his arguments hanging and focusing on singular examples that further simplified his position in comparison to Moreland. Both Nielsen and Moreland had a lot to learn from one another. Moreland could start by learning to be more direct and less complex in style in addition to answering issue of “God” definition raised by Nielsen. On his part Nielsen could pick a lot on the importance of examples and evidential support for his argument. He could be, a little more engaging so that one can get his personal position parallel to the his chosen theoretical position. This way the debate would be more exciting while at the same time more informative instead of arrogant and less caring.
Conclusion Both Moreland and Nielsen are well versed in their positions, each presented sensible arguments that concluded and made it possible to understand their point of view. Nielsen comes out stronger in style of representation and argument. However, each has a lot to learn from the other and thus none should be, dismissed.
Moreland, J. (2009). The God question. Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers.
Moreland, J., & Nielsen, K. (1990). Does God exist?: The great debate. Nashville: T. Nelson.
Nielsen, K. (1990). Ethics without God (Rev. ed.). Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.