The Tolkien Forum

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Truth and opinion

Where can we find absolute truth?

  • Nowhere

    Votes: 7 33.3%
  • Abstractions detached from reality

    Votes: 1 4.8%
  • Physical reality

    Votes: 3 14.3%
  • Ethics

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Religion

    Votes: 10 47.6%

  • Total voters
    21

HLGStrider

All Knowing Magic Cat
Joined
Dec 17, 2001
Messages
7,802
Reaction score
29
Location
Moving on the whim of the military
But there have been, and still are, cultures where it is allowed to kill a baby, in certain circumstances.
But this doesn't make it right. I simply used this because it is something most societies agree on.

Ethics come from humans themselves, they are not made by nature, and thus they end when humanity ends, or when people don't agree with them
I don't think they come from humans themselves. I have heard arguements from them coming from nature. I personally believe they come from god. . .

and that comes back to can an atheist believe in absolute truth? As far as what you're saying, I'd say you are saying he can't and still be logical.

I myself don't agree or disagree with this, as who am I to judge them , I don't know their circumstances
Then are we incapable of judging anything?

Why then, in our culture, do we have the right to punish murders? If we value the freedom of the individual, and if as you say morals are relative, this person may simply not believe that murder is wrong, and therefore by punishing him for it we are forcing our morality upon him. . .aren't we?

Why then do we punish? Is it therefore wrong to punish?
 

Niniel

Random Quoter
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
2
Location
The Netherlands
Originally posted by Eriol
The only way you can condemn these things is by comparing them to an absolute standard.
To say that crusades, inquisition, etc. are wrong, you have to have an objective, absolute standard of what is right.
Of course these things can be judged by a standard- the standard that is set by our own culture. Most of the world has a 'global' culture- the one that is based on the Anglo-Saxon, Christian world. Even if many people who live on these parts of the world are not Christian any more, our culture and values have been based on 2000 years of Christianity, and thus are a lot alike in most of these countries. So great parts of the world share a common culture, and also common ideas of what is right and wrong. If we say that murder is wrong, this will be accepted by almost everyone living in the 'western' world. This global culture thus gives us a standard to judge by and to punish people who don't live by the standard.
Yet there are also many countries who are not influenced by our culture, or only for ahort while, and that have different ideas of what is right and wrong. And, more importantly, there was a time before Christianity, when nobody had even heard of the rules that we use nowadays, and when the values that people had were completely different, as in the example of ancient Greece.
At that time there was no power outside humanity to provide standards of behaviour; the ones we have now have grown through history to their current ideas. Standards thus keep changing; even the ones we have now won't last forever.
And that is the fundamental difference between ethics and science: 80 degrees F will always be 80 degrees F, even when nobody knows it or is able to check whether it is so, it still is.
 

Snaga

The Usual Suspect
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
5
You have to have some foundation somewhere. But it wouldnt always have to be the same thing for every person.

I could condemn the crusades because:
- It involved killing, which I could object to if I decided human life was sacred
- I could object to it as cultural imperialism, if I believed that cultural diversity was the ultimate objective of humanity
- I could object to it as contrary to God's will, if I was a Moslem
- I could object to it as religiously motivated, if was an atheist

etc, etc, etc...

The thing about ethics is that OFTEN ethics themselves are not the starting point but the conclusion. And often people's instinctive ethical beliefs are a reflection of their position in the world.

Mathematics as a comparison is quite interesting. Mathematics starts off by defining sets of objects (eg numbers) and certain operations (eg addition, multiplication) and uses these to construct theorems that have to be proven to be accepted. It lends itself precise definition, and very analytical methods of proof. Philosophers have tried to proceed on a similar basis with ethics. But its just not as clear cut an area.
 

HLGStrider

All Knowing Magic Cat
Joined
Dec 17, 2001
Messages
7,802
Reaction score
29
Location
Moving on the whim of the military
And, more importantly, there was a time before Christianity, when nobody had even heard of the rules that we use nowadays, and when the values that people had were completely different, as in the example of ancient Greece.
Yet there were ancient greek philosophers who thought up similar codes. And I would say that at least one society has had similar codes throughout its time. Judaism, for instance?

At that time there was no power outside humanity to provide standards of behaviour
What power are you refering to? Not God, obviously. God by most definitions has pretty much always existed.

And that is the fundamental difference between ethics and science: 80 degrees F will always be 80 degrees F, even when nobody knows it or is able to check whether it is so, it still is.
I believe right and wrong is the same way.

The thing about ethics is that OFTEN ethics themselves are not the starting point but the conclusion. And often people's instinctive ethical beliefs are a reflection of their position in the world.
Which are things we can change by approaching ethics logically. Which can be done to some extent.

Philosophers have tried to proceed on a similar basis with ethics. But its just not as clear cut an area
Neither is science in all areas. Neither are a lot of things. Just because we can't find truth doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
 

Eriol

Estel
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
1,395
Reaction score
3
Location
Ithilien
Originally posted by snaga1
You have to have some foundation somewhere. But it wouldnt always have to be the same thing for every person.

I could condemn the crusades because:
- It involved killing, which I could object to if I decided human life was sacred
- I could object to it as cultural imperialism, if I believed that cultural diversity was the ultimate objective of humanity
- I could object to it as contrary to God's will, if I was a Moslem
- I could object to it as religiously motivated, if was an atheist

etc, etc, etc...
Each of these opinions would be based on some absolute truth as seen from the viewpoint of the person. They could be mistaken about their viewpoints, but underneath each and every opinion there would be the opinion -- the universal opinion -- that there is absolute truth of the ethical kind. That a condemnation is not a personal, fleeting opinion, but an indictment that is coercive on the guilty party, even if he does not agree with our own viewpoint.

That is the underlying basis behind "condemnation". It is not as if we are arguing whether this taste is better than that one; ethical discussion revolve around the ideas of "right" and "wrong", just as mathematics does. It is not "my truth" that 2+2=4; it is simply the truth. Everybody's truth.

The prohibition of murder is a very interesting example because it needs no religious viewpoint to sustain it; it is deduced from human life without any reference to a God or to a supernatural power. It is based on that ethical freedom that you are mentioning, Snaga; the freedom to choose our own ethical worldview. We have that freedom, but to use that freedom meaningfully we must believe in absolute ethical truth.

As you said, we must have some foundation some where; we are free to choose among many possible foundations, but we need some foundation. And having found one, we must treat it as a foundation, or it won't be a foundation at all; we must treat it as absolutely true. This does not detract from our freedom to change our minds regarding it in the future...

Níniel, it seems I was right in my interpretation of your words, and you think that the culture determines the correctness of an action. The famous example to counter that is the Holocaust, but we can use also the Crusades/Inquisition already mentioned. Would you say these things were correct? They were approved by the culture at the time. If you say that the absolute standard is only our present culture, then you have accepted an absolute truth in ethics. And if each culture is its own standard, we can't condemn these things at all.
 

Niniel

Random Quoter
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
2
Location
The Netherlands
Of course I think that the Holocaust and the crusades were wrong, because I have the opinion that killing any human being is wrong. And according to my culture and the culture of the largest part of the rest of the world it is wrong as well. My culture provides values that give me an (almost) absolute standard of what is right and what is wrong. And in the case of the Holocaust, at the time when it happened it was considered a wrong act by everybody except for the Nazis who did it. What I was trying to say is that if there hadn't been anyone who thought is was wrong, nobody could have said it was wrong from an absolute view; because ethics are made by man and disappear with man. If nobody in the world thinks a certain act is wrong, it isn't wrong, because there is no external source outsie humanity that provides us with rules for our behaviour.
Only God can give us an unchanging set of rules; but if you don't believe in a god, there is no source that could give us these rules, and thus you can have only values that have been formed through history, and will change in the future. I think you're right Elgee, that atheists have a hard time believing in absolute truths in ethics.
And I would say that at least one society has had similar codes throughout its time. Judaism, for instance?
Yes, but Judaism hasn't been there forever. There were times before Judaism existed and before the rules of Judaism were applied to any society.
 

omnipotent_elf

Omnipotent....mmm....good
Joined
Dec 31, 2002
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
Location
Here
Only God can give us an unchanging set of rules; but if you don't believe in a god, there is no source that could give us these rules
umm, for people who dont believe in god, the rules we live by are parts of the LAW
and LAW's were around a long time before any religion.

It is not "my truth" that 2+2=4; it is simply the truth. Everybody's truth.
what about someone who has never studied maths?

But this doesn't make it right. I simply used this because it is something most societies agree on.
WHAT MAKES YOU RIGHT. personally, i dont agree with it, but what is it that makes you so arrogant that everything you stand an believe in is right. again, i dont agree with it. It is horrifying to me. But it is not my culture, and not my place to critice it. These difference of opinions makes there no such thing as truth, as there can be no "truth applicable to any and all circumstances/times/persons imaginable."
 

Niniel

Random Quoter
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
2
Location
The Netherlands
for people who dont believe in god, the rules we live by are parts of the LAW. and LAW's were around a long time before any religion.
Laws are made by people, and they change all the time. Thus they are not the result of an absolute truth. BTW I think religion is far older than law...
what about someone who has never studied maths?
He doesn't KNOW 2 + 2 =4, but it is still true. It would be true even if there was nobody in the world who knew it.
 

HLGStrider

All Knowing Magic Cat
Joined
Dec 17, 2001
Messages
7,802
Reaction score
29
Location
Moving on the whim of the military
Niniel actually said what I wanted to say on two of the points. I would've answered both of those statements the same way. . .

i dont agree with it, but what is it that makes you so arrogant that everything you stand an believe in is right
I think I'd be foolish to believe everything I believe is right. I'm sure I've messed up somewhere. Of course, if I knew where I'd messed up I would automatically change that belief, so only on the things where I admittedly don't know or don't have an opinion is it possible for me to believe I'm wrong. Anything else is illogical.

However, I think the question what makes me so arrogant to believe I'm right is inflamatory and really counterproductive. Shouldnt' the question be "Are you right?"

And then we can procede from there to discuss if I am or not.
 

Eriol

Estel
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
1,395
Reaction score
3
Location
Ithilien
Originally posted by Niniel
If nobody in the world thinks a certain act is wrong, it isn't wrong, because there is no external source outside humanity that provides us with rules for our behaviour.
There are many sciences that need some material content. Is optics negated when it is dark? No. It is still true that light will travel and reflect and be refracted according to the laws of optics, even if there is no light at this moment.

Now, economics. If there are no men at a planet, does that mean that the law of supply and demand is void? Does that mean that the law of diminshing returns, of marginal utility, is void? Does that mean that the increased efficiency of the division of labor is void? Does that mean that Ricardo's smashing of protectionism, or that Bastiat's "broken window fallacy", is void? Again, the answer is no. All of these reasonings, all of these economical laws (which are true regardless of the particular economy), are still correct; even if there are no men to make these things happen.

Now, ethics. Why is not ethics like economics? Why not postulate that killing a man is wrong -- even if there are no men around? I believe I can make a case for the universality of the prohibition on murder; an universality that is independent on the existence of people.

But my point is not that. It is simply that some sciences do NOT need their objects of study to be true; they can be true regardless.
 

Niniel

Random Quoter
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
2
Location
The Netherlands
Originally posted by Eriol
But my point is not that. It is simply that some sciences do NOT need their objects of study to be true; they can be true regardless.
Exactly, I agree with you on this. It's just that there is a difference of opinion as to which sciences are true without their objects of study. Mathematic and natural laws are always true (at least on our planet, there could be a planet somewhere where no gravity exists, or something). Economical laws are dependend on people; you need a reasonable amount of people before the economic laws you mention will show themselves, and it has to be a capitalist society etc. But if these circumstances are met, the economical laws will be there.
As for ethics, it too depends on people. Killing is maybe a wrong example, because there being life, it is natural that humans would want to let that life continue and not kill each other. Animals usually don't kill others of their own species, because for the survival of the species it is imperative that as many possible different genes are present in the population, so it would be unwise to destroy a life of the same species.
But there are many other ethical subjects that can be debated without there being absolute agreement on them, and without there being, IMO, an absolute truth about them. Such as stealing; most people will say stealing is wrong, but others will say that it is right, at least in some cases (e.g. when someone is hungry and he steals a bread). Both points could be argued without coming the conclusion that stealing is always in every case wrong.
 

Snaga

The Usual Suspect
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
5
I disagree.

Mathematical statements are not based on reality. We have defined an abstract concept, that of the number, and certain operations 'addition', 'subtraction' etc. But these concepts are entirely human creations. There is no property of 'two-ness' that exists independently in nature. Accordingly I can define number systems in which 2+2 is not equal to 4... it could be that 4 doesnt exist in some number systems.

For example, you are used to seeing numbers as something you can arrange in a straight line. Try putting 0,1,2 and 3 in a circular pattern (lets assume in a clockwise order). For this closed set of numbers, if adding means to move in a clockwise direction (analagous to moving to the right on a number line), then 2+2 doesnt equal 4, because there is no 4. Here 2+2 = 0!

Furthermore scientific truths are not absolute truths. They are statements of observation... ie we observe that apples fall to earth. It is not the case that because we wrote the law of gravity, that is what makes apples fall to earth. Moreover, Einstein showed that laws of gravity are not always correct, and that in some circumstances they do not hold true. So what we hold to be a truth is only a statement with some correspondence to reality, and some predictive power... I do not believe it is not the case that somewhere God is like a guy with a huge computer with all the scientific laws programmed in, that he is running 'SimUniverse' on. I think its a mistake to think about things like this.

But even these areas have a far greater degree of certainty than ethics. You may believe that 'murder is wrong' is an ethical absolute, but a cursory examination shows that the interpretation of this is wide open. The caveats are vast and varied... how intentional was it? How pre-meditated? What about the psychological state of the person committing the crime? Is bombing someone's home ok? When is that murder, when is it an act of war? Etc etc... The ability to make categorical statements about ethics seems highly doubtful to me. That is precisely why laws are so complex and arcane... because the myriad of complexities to do with circumstance, motivation and perception need to be taken account of, and each case judged on its merits.
 

Niniel

Random Quoter
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
2
Location
The Netherlands
Originally posted by snaga1
But these concepts are entirely human creations. There is no property of 'two-ness' that exists independently in nature. Accordingly I can define number systems in which 2+2 is not equal to 4... it could be that 4 doesnt exist in some number systems.
Is there no concept of two-ness? I'm inclined to think there is. If you have two apples, you have two apples, no matter if you know that you can call this 'two' or that two is in some way related to 'one' and 'three'. And if you have a number system, but it's different from ours, you still can see that two is not three, or one. Some animals can count; ducks can see the difference if one of their eggs has been taken away. So it's not only a human concept.
 

Malbeth

Registered User
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Location
Rio de Janeiro
I guess it is hard to believe in absolute truth on ethics without absolute truth on religion. ..I voted for religion, but I'm sad to see no one has voted for ethics.

All non-religious people don't have to reject right and wrong, do they?
You know, I was thinking about this the other day, and my explanation is that Eriol made a mistake... I think you can believe God exists without believing in absolute ethical laws, but you cannot believe in absolute ethical laws consistently without beliving, in one way or another, in the existence of God... as Dostoyevsky put it "If there is no God, everything is acceptable".

However, someone can believe in absolute ethical laws without believing in God... it would just be inconsistent... I think this was the position of the average non-believing people until about 40-50 years ago (and, existentially speaking, it still is every non-believer's position. They protest against injustice as if Justice was a real, objective thing).
 

Eriol

Estel
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
1,395
Reaction score
3
Location
Ithilien
Originally posted by snaga1
So what we hold to be a truth is only a statement with some correspondence to reality, and some predictive power...
And in that case, "reality" is where we find absolute truth... what you are really saying, Snaga, is that WE can't find absolute truth, but that it is out there. You are addressing an inherent flaw in human abilities to apprehend truth. I don't know if you are right; this hypothesis is strictly untestable. But in any case it does not touch on the question of whether there is some absolute truth out there. That is the thing we want to make our statements correspond to...

That is precisely why laws are so complex and arcane... because the myriad of complexities to do with circumstance, motivation and perception need to be taken account of, and each case judged on its merits.
There is no doubt, in my opinion, that each case should be judged individually. Ethics is not disembodied philosophy. It only becomes real when it touches reality. But even so, we could not "judge each case on its merits" without an absolute standard. As in Níniel's example, stealing. It is only because we begin on the common ground that "stealing is wrong" that we can find some instances in which it is less wrong. If we had no such common perception of "stealing is wrong", then we could not even discuss mitigating circumstances.

The big trouble in ethics, in my opinion, is not what you are addressing, but rather the definition of concepts. What exactly is "stealing"? Is the income tax a way of stealing? And so on. All ethical concepts are somehow mysterious like that, even "murder". As the abortion thread exemplifies. But from the vaguely defined terms, we still find out absolute truths. We don't know exactly how to define murder, and we don't know whether a given act is murder or not, perhaps; but we still know that "murder is wrong". That applies to every moral absolute.
 

Snaga

The Usual Suspect
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
5
Is that because the definitions are really tautological?

A: 'Murder is wrong'
B: 'What is murder?'
A: 'Murder is the category of killings that are wrong'
B: 'Well, I'm astounded by your great philosophy!'

I need more time to reply fully....
 

HLGStrider

All Knowing Magic Cat
Joined
Dec 17, 2001
Messages
7,802
Reaction score
29
Location
Moving on the whim of the military
Animals usually don't kill others of their own species, because for the survival of the species it is imperative that as many possible different genes are present in the population, so it would be unwise to destroy a life of the same species.
Are you sure? I remember a tramatic time in my young life where my beautiful baby kittens were slain by a tom cat. I think this is quite common at least in cats. Is it not in other species?
 

Snaga

The Usual Suspect
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
5
Niniel: interesting points.:) I'll think about that. I could say that it is only a perception (human or duck) that there is a category of things called 'apples' (or 'eggs).

Originally posted by Eriol
And in that case, "reality" is where we find absolute truth... what you are really saying, Snaga, is that WE can't find absolute truth, but that it is out there. You are addressing an inherent flaw in human abilities to apprehend truth. I don't know if you are right; this hypothesis is strictly untestable. But in any case it does not touch on the question of whether there is some absolute truth out there. That is the thing we want to make our statements correspond to...
I believe it was Karl Popper who said that there was absolute truth, but we couldnt 'know' it. This really addresses the central inability for us to prove that anything exists beyond ourselves. Descartes' "I think therefore I am" proved we exist, but nothing else is provable 'ontologically'. But if there is a physical reality, we assume our senses convey information about it to us, rather than being some form of deception. Once we make that assumption, we can then go on to sift and filter statements based on perception that have a good correspondence with reality (E=MC2) with those that may appear to at first sight, but later prove false (the world is flat). But each statement made is subject to scrutiny, questioning, qualification and refutation. It is worth noting that statements made in science cannot be proven, only disproven. Theories stand up as physical evidence (ie perception) accumulate to substantiate it, and especially when we are able to turn those statements to practical application.

This is a pragmatic manner for the human race to proceed on its exploration of the cosmos. It is cautious and undogmatic: doubting what we believe, questioning everything. But it is also open and curious about the wonder of this world we appear to apprehend.

But I am aware I have introduced my own basis for judging: 'utility' in relation to a telos 'the exploration of the cosmos'. I mean 'exploration of the cosmos' in a broad sense (ie quest for knowledge and understanding). Others will not agree with this. This is perhaps where ethics starts: we apprehend other people, and when we exchange information we discover the possibility of disagreement. But since it is BASED on the possibility of disagreement, how could it be an absolute?

Originally posted by Malbeth
You know, I was thinking about this the other day, and my explanation is that Eriol made a mistake... I think you can believe God exists without believing in absolute ethical laws, but you cannot believe in absolute ethical laws consistently without beliving, in one way or another, in the existence of God... as Dostoyevsky put it "If there is no God, everything is acceptable".

However, someone can believe in absolute ethical laws without believing in God... it would just be inconsistent... I think this was the position of the average non-believing people until about 40-50 years ago (and, existentially speaking, it still is every non-believer's position. They protest against injustice as if Justice was a real, objective thing).
I don't agree. I am certain that people have and do believe in ethical absolutes without believing in God. But, as described above I personally don't agree. Ethics is founded on the possibility of human disagreement.

But as I am proceeding by testing statements against perception to see if they correspond to perception of reality, I find no reason to believe in a god. I find scant evidence for, and little utility in the belief.

In your second paragraph, I am not sure who your 'average non-believing person' would be! Nor am I clear whether you mean that each individual would be inconsistent (which I think is a strong statement needing justification) or that atheist/agnostics would be inconsistent one from another (undoubtedly true). I am compelled to notice there is no single view of ethics within believers, or indeed within individual faiths.

Overall, there is a concept of 'Justice' that exists across belief systems, that allows a dialogue on 'right and wrong' without having to go back to first principles each time. This is certainly essential in any society where there isnt an imposed religious orthodoxy. Otherwise we would have to resolve Bible vs Koran vs Torah vs..... every time we debated a change in the law!
 

Malbeth

Registered User
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Location
Rio de Janeiro
don't agree. I am certain that people have and do believe in ethical absolutes without believing in God. But, as described above I personally don't agree. Ethics is founded on the possibility of human disagreement.
And I acknowledged that fact... however, as I said, I think the people who do not believe God exists but believe in ethical absolutes have simply no basis for these absolutes that stand up to scrutiny, and so to believe in ethical absolutes without believing that God exists is logically flawed. However, I am willing to be proved wrong on that; if anyone believes that he can prove ethical absolutes without divine authority for them, I would be very interested in seeing this proof.

Nor am I clear whether you mean that each individual would be inconsistent (which I think is a strong statement needing justification) or that atheist/agnostics would be inconsistent one from another (undoubtedly true).
As I said above, I think that to believe in ethical absolutes without believing that God exists is logically inconsistent. And what I mean by existentially inconsistent can be shown by this quote of yours from another thread:

Frankly the curtain-twitching prurience of turning a blind eye to the grotesque injustice and suffering in the world because you are too busy condemning healthy and loving relationships is a grotesque spectacle. There is no love at all in this philosophy: it is censorious, selfish, and bigotted.
One would think from that quote that you really believe that clothing the poor, feeding the hungry and comforting the afflicted are ethical absolutes; if it is merely your personal opinion you would not be so angry after all; you would not get angry if I said steak is better than pork, but you do get angry when Eriol says that the loss of a soul is worse than thousands of deaths. That's what I mean by existentially inconsistent; this quote (and more specifically, the tone of this post) only makes sense if you believe in ethical absolutes, but you say that you do not believe in them...
 

Eriol

Estel
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
1,395
Reaction score
3
Location
Ithilien
Originally posted by snaga1
I am compelled to notice there is no single view of ethics within believers, or indeed within individual faiths.
I wouldn't agree. There is a striking agreement between all faiths (and including in fact all mankind, up to a few centuries ago) as to what is righteous and what is not. What C.S. Lewis called "the Tao" in his book "The Abolition of Man".

But even though there is this striking correspondence of substance among the ethical beliefs of mankind, what I find even more interesting is the complete correspondence of form. No ordinary persons, only philosophers would claim that to be coward is better to be courageous, that to murder is better than to not murder, that to steal is better than to not steal, etc. This is what I am calling the "form" of ethics. When we apply this form to reality, we see its substance, as in "should I run away from this threat right now or face it?"; "should I kill this particular person at this particular moment?"; and so on.

There is more disagreement between people when it comes to actual events; though they still have a remarkable agreement on that (or we could not build any kind of society). But the universal form of ethics, seen in the most primitive people and throughout history, is more than remarkable.

Can one believe in an ethical absolute without believing in a God? I did so for a while. And I don't think my stance demanded belief in a God; it was based on human life and on ethical freedom. (Malbeth knows that). Perhaps my position was inconsistent then, without my awareness of it. I don't know, since I was unaware :D. I still am. I think people can believe in an ethical absolute without believing in a God.

The "ethical data" (and especially its universality and authority) is strong argument for a God. Does it prove God? I don't know. If it does, I did not realize it then. It surely makes for wonder... philosophy can attempt to explain the grounds for ethics, but the fact of ethics is very startling.
 

Thread suggestions

Top