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Debate: Ron Smith and Matthew Flannagan “Morality Does Not Need God”

Matthew Flannagan, co-author of  Did God Really Command Genocide? (summarized here) and atheist moral philosopher Ron Smith, engage in a lively and thoughtful debate concerning theistic morality. Dr. Smith argues that theism is not necessary for morality; that it is incoherent and leads to atrocities. Dr. Flannagan defends divine command theory.  The debate took place at The Lady Goodfellow Chapel, Waikato University on 11 May 2016.

Image: “Christ Gives the Law” by Lawrence OP. CC License. 

Link: Interview with Matthew Flannagan on the Ethics of the Old Testament

Dr. Matthew Flannagan, co-author of Did God Really Command Genocide: Coming to Terms with  the Justice of Goddiscusses the Old Testament conquest narratives and other ethical issues (including slavery, sexual ethics, and the binding of Isaac) in the Old Testament on Insight. If you have questions about the morality of the Old Testament, this interview is well worth watching.  Follow this link and you will find Flannagan’s episode on the right as indicated in the screenshot below.



insight direction


Photo: The Conquest of the Amorites (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot). Public Domain. 

Link: Matthew Flannagan on the Arbitrariness Objection

Over at Matthew Flannagan’s website, Flannagan provides some great interaction with a writer from The Secular Outpost, Jason Thibodeau. Thibodeau raises a classic objection to Divine Command Theory, the “arbitrariness objection.” Put simply, the objection is that if what is right is determined by God’s commands, then God could command morally repulsive acts and we would be obligated to do what seems morally repulsive. Flanagan does an excellent job responding to Thibodeau’s formulation of the objection. Also, there are a number of helpful links to some of Flannagan’s other works if you’re interested in digging a little deeper.


Photo: “Wrong Way” by Tuncay. CC License. 

New Book by Paul Copan and Matt Flannagan: Did God Really Command Genocide?

Over at Baker Publishing’s website, you can pick up a copy of  Paul Copan and Matt Flannagan’s new book, Did God Really Command Genocide?.  Copan and Flannagan are leading the way in providing substantive responses to objections raised against the goodness of God in light of the Old Testament conquest narratives.

While you wait for the book to arrive, you can listen to lectures by Copan and Flannagan at the links below!

Matthew Flannagan,  “Can God Command Evil? The Problem of Apparently Immoral Commands” 


Paul Copan, “Slavery and Genocide in the Bible?”



Link: Matthew Flannagan Discusses the Euthyphro Dilemma with Skeptics

Dr. Matthew Flannagan provides some great insights on the Euthyphro Dilemma in a podcast over at Skepticule. Flannagan explains the difference between ontology and epistemology in relation to the dilemma. Flannagan is on for about the first thirty minutes of the podcast. If you like, you can stick around after that and hear the skeptical evaluation of Flannagan’s presentation.

Photo: “Crossroads” by C. Tolkmit. CC License. 

Link: Dr. Matthew Flannagan on God, Ethics, and Divine Commands

Over at the Tentative Apologist, you can listen to a discussion with Dr. Matthew Flannagan on  what skeptics would call the “abhorrent” commands of God. Flannagan explains how to make sense of a good God and  the testing of Abraham, Joshua’s conquest, as well as how to respond to cases of people claiming to justify crimes by an appeal to a divine command.  Click here to listen. 


Photo: “Abraham and Isaac, Peterhouse chapel” by S. Day. CC license