Reasoning to God – Mind – 3

The Moral Argument

Here is one that I have loosely tied into the proof of the soul, but which really presents itself as a logical proof.

  1. If God does not exist, then there are no objective moral values and duties.
  2. There are objective moral values and duties.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Let us begin with premise 2, since it gives us a base for discussing premise 1.

  1.  There are objective moral values and duties.

There was a paper written entitled, “Is Rape Wrong on Andromeda?”  The Andromeda Galaxy, of course, is neighbor to the Milky Way, though still hopelessly far away given our current technology.

The point of the question, of course, is to challenge the idea of objective morality.  The question itself is neutral, not leading one way or another.  It is so provocative though!  While the modern mind leans toward saying that morality is relative, the very same mind finds rape to be reprehensible.  It can scarcely think of a context in which rape is a moral good, in and of itself.

To answer the question is to address Premise 2.  So, which is it?  Is rape wrong, everywhere?  Or is your distaste for rape just that – a subjective dislike, a scruple – which, perhaps, not everyone will share?

For that matter, what about theft or murder?  Genocide?  Child sexual abuse?

If you want to deny the premise, then you are, by definition, ruling out all moral judgments of every kind.  You may never chastise or praise my moral actions, nor anyone else’s, anywhere, ever.

But I think we understand the world better when we say rape is wrong, full stop.  I think we should never say that “Genocide is just their way; if you don’t like it, don’t do it!”  And these are just the negatives.

I think – and I suspect that you agree – that Premise 2 is unquestionably true.

  1.  If God does not exist, then there are no objective moral values and duties.

This is where the resistance mounts.  See the word “God” in the sentence, and hear the heels digging in.  The militant atheist is already committed to his conclusion, and so there is absolutely no way he will accept Premise 1.

Could you accept it?  Not just on its face, but if there are good reasons for thinking it true?  If you can resist the resistance, and if you will be open to this premise, we can have a look.

What are we really saying here?

First, if objective morality exists, it either exists on its own or has a source.  In the first case, this is exactly what Plato suggested – that there was some Good which was the form of all things, and this Good is the thing we are referring to when we say something is morally good or evil.

Indeed, certain atheist philosophers have regarded this as being the case, since they did not admit a God.  

But there are obstacles to this.  Consider:  The Good seems to be inert.  That is, it doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t react to anything, and it doesn’t cause anything.  It just exists as a model, after which things are patterned.  If that’s the case, then we still need something which caused the Universe to exist in the first place (and thus things which we call “good” and “evil”).  In other words, perhaps the Good exists, but we still need a First Cause.

At worst, if the Good is not identical to the First Cause (ie God), then it is either co-eternal with Him, or it was created by Him.  If it was co-eternal with him, we still have a God who exists and creates according to the Good.  If it was created by Him, we still have a God that exists – and moreover, who creates and defines the Good.

So much for the Good, qua the Good.  What we have in Christianity in particular is the notion that God is the Good.  He is both First Cause and the source of all good things.  Indeed, the Good is co-eternal with God because the Good is God.

This would satisfy our investigation, at any rate.  A God who is the Good would certainly give us a ground for objective morality; about this, there is no dispute.  The question behind this premise really is, is there anything else which could be the ground of objective morality?  If not, we must admit that Premise 1 is probably true.

  1.  Therefore, God exists.

At any rate, if Premise 1 and Premise 2 are more probably true than not, then the conclusion follows.  And again, as with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, we cannot claim (or demand) absolute certainty.  It just isn’t possible.  

However, there is one more argument I would like to share with you, which really does approach logical certainty.  It will take more time, more background, and more effort, but the result is – to my mind – truly astonishing.

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