New June course – Does Morality Need God? A Christian and an Atheist Debate

This course is titled “Does Morality Need God? A Christian and an Atheist debate Answers”, offered by Dr. David Baggett and Dr. John Shook.

Liberty University professor David Baggett and University at Buffalo professor John Shook compare their answers to the question, “Does morality need God?” during the month of June. We have publicly debated morality and God, and discussed religion and morality on vidcast shows, such as Humanist Matters. Our best arguments and counter-arguments, and enjoyment with directly engaging each other, are just too good not to share! Beyond just blunt “Oh, Yes” and “Heck, No” answers, we will explore some deeper questions that must be addressed by both sides to fully explain their positions. In four weeks we will cover four main topics: Where do moral obligations come from? What makes something morally good? Could God command an evil? Are morality and rationality actually compatible? Join us for the respectful debating, and for opportunities to jump into the energetic conversations. We hope that lots of believers and nonbelievers can join us on this thoughtful exploration.

start/end dates – June 1 / June 30, 2014

Schedule and readings: Our discussions will be guided by our lecture posts and by selected online readings and videos. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

Questions? email Dr. Shook at

David Baggett
David Baggett is a graduate of Wayne State University with his PhD in philosophy, specializing in ethics and philosophy of religion. He’d edited about a half dozen books in philosophy and popular culture, including Tennis and Philosophy, The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes, and Hitchcock and Philosophy. He also edited the third debate between Gary Habermas and Antony Flew, co-edited (with Gary Habermas and Jerry Walls) a collection called C. S. Lewis as Philosopher, and co-wrote (with Jerry Walls) Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality. He and Jerry are currently finishing a sequel to Good God. He has previously taught at King’s College in Wilkes Barre, PA. He now lives with his wife and son in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he was recently appointed to teach at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, primarily in the doctoral program in theology and apologetics.

John R. Shook
John R. Shook, PhD, is research associate in philosophy and instructor in science education for the Science and the Public EdM online program for the University at Buffalo. John was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University from 2000 to 2006, and then he joined the faculty of the University at Buffalo. Also, since 2006, he has worked for several secular and humanist organizations, including the Center for Inquiry, the American Humanist Association, the Humanist Institute, and the Institute for Humanist Studies, and has been President of the Society of Humanist Philosophers. He is now the President of Partners for Secular Activism. His recent book is The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between), and he also edited a volume of William James’s writings on pragmatism and a volume of Paul Kurtz’s writings on skepticism. He has published many articles about naturalism, secularism, and humanism in academic journals and magazines such as Free Inquiry, The Humanist, Humanist Perspectives, Think, and The Philosopher’s Magazine.