3.9 The Argument from Autonomy

Magritte

The argument from autonomy is the argument that the existence of morally autonomous agents is inconsistent with the existence of God, and so that the fact that morally autonomous agents do exist disproves the existence of God.

The argument begins with the assumption that God, if He exists, is worthy of worship, an assumption that will be granted by all traditional theists.

The argument proceeds by asking what it is that being worthy of worship entails, suggesting that a being worthy of worship is entitled to our unconditional obedience. Again, the suggestion that God is entitled to our unconditional obedience sits well with much Christian theism.

Moral agents, however, the argument continues, cannot be required to give unconditional obedience to any agent. Moral agency, it is suggested, requires autonomy, and so the idea of a moral duty to give up one's autonomy is incoherent; in giving up one's autonomy one would cease to be a moral agent so would cease to have moral duties at all. We cannot, therefore, have a duty of unconditional obedience to any agent, and in a world that is populated by moral agents there can therefore be no being that is worthy of worship.

This world, though, is populated by moral agents, and so this world is one in which there can be no God.

The Argument from Autonomy
(1) If God exists then he is worthy of worship.
(2) If God is worthy of worship then we owe him unconditional obedience.
(3) It is not possible that we owe anyone unconditional obedience.
Therefore:
(4) It is not possible that God is worthy of worship.
Therefore:
(5) It is not possible that God exists.


Labels: , ,