Metaethics

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.


Apologetics for Teens

What is apologetics? In short, it is giving good reasons and evidence to believe that Christianity is true. Apologetics focuses on some big questions about the truth of Christianity, like “Does God exist?” “Who was Jesus?” “How do we know Jesus is God?” “Is the Bible even historically reliable?” Often, these questions can be hard to answer to a skeptical world, especially when being confronted with them for the first time. In this course, we seek to equip teens with the resources they need to navigate these issues. This course contains most of the same basic material from the “Intro to Apologetics” course, but it is presented at a high-school level.


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.”


Debate: What Is the Best Account of Objective Morality?

In September 2020, Adam Lloyd Johnson debated Dr. Erik Wielenberg, an atheist philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at DePauw University. They discussed the foundations of morality and whether or not God is necessary to explain the existence of objective moral values and duties.


Divine Love Theory

In this presentation to the Ratio Christi chapter at Rutgers University, Adam explains "Divine Love Theory," which is a theory of morality that holds that God's existence as a Trinity, His triune nature, is the foundation of all morality. Specifically, the loving relationships between the members of the Trinity are the basis for all moral values and duties for human beings since humans are called to imitate that love and reflect it to others. As Jesus explained in Matthew 22:37-40, love of God and love of neighbor are the foundations of all morality, and this love flows from the loving relationships within the Trinity, which is why Adam proposes that God's triune nature is the best explanation for the existence of morality.


Does the Problem of Evil Prove There Is No God?

The problem of evil is something we probably all struggle with at one time in our lives. If there really is a good God out there, then why is there so much pain and suffering in this world? There are two ways to look at the problem of evil: the logical version and the probability (or evidential) version. The logical version argues that if God is all powerful and all good, then evil wouldn’t exist because God can and would want to eliminate it. Thus, since evil does exist, it is impossible for God to exist. In response, Alvin Plantinga has proposed the free-will defense, which says that God allowed human beings to have free will, and no matter how God could have created us, there would always be a way we would choose to do evil. This is known as “transworld depravity,” and it sufficiently responds to the logical problem of evil. But since all this evil exists anyway, isn’t it the case that God probably doesn’t exist? This is called the probability version of the problem of evil. Christians have offered various explanations, called “theodicies,” of why God would allow evil. Examples of these include the Greater Good theodicy or Adam’s own Divine Love theodicy, which says that God allowed evil because he wanted to create beings who could love like He does, but love requires free will. In order to allow His creatures to truly love Him and love each other, they had to have the free will to do so. God can’t force us to love, because then it’s not truly love.