Metaethics Articles

Is It Morally Permissible for Some People to Rape and Murder?

Responding to Erik Wielenberg’s Argument That Divine Command Theory Fails to Explain How Psychopaths Have Moral Obligations

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In April 2023, Adam published a paper in the journal Religions which offers a response to an objection to Divine Command Theory put forth by Erik Wielenberg. In this paper, Wielenberg argued that Divine Command Theory is implausible as an explanation of objective morality because it fails to explain how psychopaths have moral obligations. Adam’s response to this in Religions is open-access (free to read) and can be found by clicking the button below:

Adam’s Article in Religions

A Short Review of Taking Morality Seriously by David Enoch

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Summary

Enoch begins his book Taking Morality Seriously by stating that he believes there must be some normative moral truths that are irreducibly normative, truths that are perfectly objective, universal, absolute, and that are independent of us, our desires, and our wills. These truths are not an expression of our practical attitudes but are truths we discover rather than create or construct. This realist view was in the minority when he first argued for it in 2003, but by 2011 some were saying it was now the majority view. He admits his robust realism has heavy ontological commitments, but he is willing to defend such commitments.


A Short Review of Moral Realism by Russ Shafer-Landau

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In his book Moral Realism: An Introduction, Russ Shafer-Landau argues for, unsurprisingly, moral realism. On the first page he explains that the project of this book is to explain how the moral law could be something not of our own making, something whose truth did not depend on the commitments of those who are bound by its dictates. He argues that moral judgements enjoy a special sort of objectivity, that when they are true, they are so independently of what any human being, anywhere, in any circumstance, may think of them.

Part 1: Realism And Its Critics

In part one of this book, Shafer-Landau provides a helpful catalogue of metaethical positions.


Connections Between Psychology and My Divine Love Theory

A Review of Edward T. Welch’s Book When People Are Big and God is Small

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Background Information about Edward T. Welch

Edward T. Welch earned an M.Div. degree at Biblical Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah. He serves as the director of counseling and as an academic dean at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) and professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. His work has led to several of his own books, contributions to many others, and numerous articles for both theological and secular journals.


A Review of After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In his seminal work After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre argues that our Western society has lost the conceptual context for and foundation within which moral language makes sense. In the premodern world moral judgments were understood as governed by impersonal standards justified by a shared conception of human good. That context was lost in the Enlightenment when Aristotelian Scholasticism and Christian theology were discarded and, with them, the idea of teleology. After teleology was discarded, several conceptual systems attempted to provide a new account of morality which would maintain the status, authority, and justification of moral rules.


My Response to William Lane Craig’s Critique of My Divine Love Theory

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

First, I’ll provide key quotes from Craig’s podcast. Craig said he has reservations about my Divine Love Theory because “it proposes that the love between the members of the Trinity is the source and foundation of morality, and I think that is a distorted and lopsided view because, as important as divine love is, it also equally belongs to God’s moral perfection to be just and to be holy.”


When the Machines Take Over… Or Have They Already?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

People have been intimidated by machines for a long time. It’s hard to say when this first began, but it definitely was ramped up during the industrial revolution when machines were taking over more and more jobs. It’s easy to understand why people felt intimidated; machines were superior to humans in certain respects – they were stronger, faster, and more reliable. Computers have only exacerbated this anxiety because now machines can be smarter than humans in certain ways – they can remember more and compute faster. This was strikingly driven home in 1997 when IBM’s computer “Deep Blue” beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.


Is God Necessary for Morality?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Mark D. Linville and Louise Antony recently participated in a written debate on the question of whether or not God is necessary for morality. Linville argued that God is necessary for morality whereas Antony argued that God is not. Adam interacts with the arguments made by these two authors and also puts forth his case that God is the best explanation for objective morality.


Q: Should Christians Today Follow Old Testament Laws?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Different Christian groups and denominations have disagreed about this issue over the years.  Thus, just like with any theological disagreement, we should look into the various positions which have been put forth, make a decision as to which position seems most biblical, and then calmly and rationally explain why we hold our position while showing grace, humility, love, and respect with Christians who have taken other positions (Romans 14).

Keep in mind that the Old Testament law was given by God to the Israelites through Moses and includes over 600 commands that cover a wide range of issues including clothing, house styles, worship instructions, governmental society rules and respective punishments, food to eat and not eat, sexual practices, hygiene, etc. 


A Trinitarian Moral Argument

Why Christianity’s Trinitarian God is a Better Explanation for Objective Morality than Islam’s Non-Trinitarian God

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Both Christians and Muslims affirm the following argument:

There are objective moral truths.God is the best explanation for objective moral truths.Therefore, God exists.

However, which understanding of God, the Christian’s or the Muslim’s, is a better explanation for objective morality? In this paper I argue that Christianity’s trinitarian God is a better explanation for objective morality than Islam’s God. As part of this argument, I propose a Trinitarian Metaethical Theory (TMT) which maintains that the ultimate ground of morality is God’s trinitarian nature.