The Moral Argument
The Moral Argument (TMA) is a tremendously effective tool on the street. The reason TMA has so much force is because it reaches people on a more personal level. The bottom line is that the conclusions one draws from this argument will translate over to how they live their everyday life. In short, this one gets personal!
TMA comes in a handful of different variations and I have selected the most prominent arrangement for our discussion. It comes in the form of a logical syllogism, and therefore the conclusion will follow inescapably according to the rules of logic so long as one affirms premises (1) and (2) as true premises.
The Moral Argument Stated:
1) If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
2) Objective moral values do exist.
3) Therefore, God exists.
Before expanding on this, I think it would be crucial to distinguish between what it means for something to be “objectively” or “subjectively” true.
By “objective” we mean: Something is to be true independent of human opinion.
By “subjective” we mean: Something is to be true dependent on human opinion.
Objective vs. Subjective Illustrated:
If I have a 5 Dollar Bill in my wallet, it will be objectively true that I have a 5 Dollar Bill in my wallet. To make it absolutely clear, it is objectively true that I have a 5 Dollar Bill in my wallet and this truth is wholly independent of what any human might feel or think about that.
With regards to the appearance of my wallet, it is subjectively true that it is a fashionable wallet. It is dependent upon my opinion and the opinion of others whether my wallet really has that voguish elegance.
Premise (1) the claim is that if God does not exist there is no justification or accountability for objective moral values. That is to say, if God does not exist there would be no foundation outside of the shifty subjectivism that human beings impart. Put another way, there would be no objective grounding or anchoring of moral values. In the absence of God, Richard Dawkins drives the point home for us in premise (1):
“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication. Some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good; nothing but pitiless indifference.”
Thus, if someone wants to negate the affirmation of premise (1) the burden of proof will lay squarely on them. It will be their responsible to erect a basis for objective moral values in the absence of God.
Premise (2) objective moral values do exist. You would think that this might be a difficult premise to validate but; almost everyone –when feet are put to the fire- will affirm the existence of some objective moral values. Most of us do experience the reality of objective moral values just as we experience the reality of the physical world. For instance, certain actions like raping to fulfill sexual desires or torturing babies for pure entertainment are not actions of “pitiless indifference” equivalent to love and kindness as Richard Dawkins would have it; rather such actions are objectively wrong regardless and independent of what Dawkins or other human beings might think or have to say on the matter! There may be those that disagree with us on this point but that should not slow down those of us that do apprehend such objective moral values anymore than a color blind or deaf person ought to cause those of us that see color and hear fine to doubt we do. Such a person that does not perceive it to be objectively wrong to rape for pleasure or torture babies for entertainment would simply be morally handicapped in the same way a blind or deaf person is physically handicapped.
Conclusion (3) if a person affirms the first two premises then the logic is airtight and the conclusion will forcefully follow that God exists. God would be the transcendent foundation and anchoring of objective moral values, wholly independent of human opinion or feelings. God would be the very source of moral value as His Nature is the “The Good” and anything contrary to His Good Nature would be Evil.
Are there common objections to these premises? Certainly, and there are very good responses too! I will be dealing with these common objections on an individual basis in my next handful of posts. As the common objections are dealt with I will provide links to them below:
Common Objections to TMA
- Addressing Red Herrings (new)
“How to Answer” Archive: Click Here
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