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The Moral Argument: Addressing Red Herrings

Question:

I know one person I talked to on the subject of the TMA said that how can God be ‘Good’ if He lets His people (in reference to Israel) destroy men, women, and children (citing Deuteronomy 2, particularly vs. 34). Any thing you can lend on this?”

Response:

This is a very common slight of hand the person tried to pull on you. I must point out that they are not engaging with TMA at all by erecting an objection to biblical revelation.

To make this clear in your interaction with them ask, “Can you please tell what specific premise of TMA you are attempting to address right now?”

Let us suppose that in response they try to aim their objection at premise (2). You can then point out that biblical revelation was never appealed to as support for premise (2)! So in this particular case -with regard to TMA- such an objection introduces a straw-man and red-herring to the argument! Nobody has to read the bible to know that objective moral values exist. Let me put it this way; I knew it was objectively wrong to murder long before I read Exodus chapter 20. Make it clear that you have not appealed to biblical revelation in your argument but that premise (2) is affirmed in light of apprehending such objective moral values through moral experience!

Objectivity Apprehended In Moral Experience

As believers we are aware that this realm of objective moral values is made known to us through a God-given conscience (Rom. 2:15) but, we never had to first read Romans 2 as a sort of precondition to get that God-given conscience functioning. The awareness of objective moral values was already in full operation prior to reading the text. So it is not necessary to appeal to biblical revelation in support of premise (2) because objective moral values are already apprehended through moral experience.

Much like how we apprehend the objective reality of the physical world around us, we can also apprehend the objective reality of moral values. Most people are well aware of objective moral values with exception to morally handicapped folks like the psychotic sociopath serial killer. In the same way that some people are physically handicapped, say like the color-blind are incapable of distinguishing between the colors red and green. There are some people out there that are morally handicapped and incapable of identifying the morally objective difference between nurturing a child and torturing a child. Thus, just as a color-blind person that cannot distinguish between the colors like red and green doesn’t cause us that see color just fine to suddenly start doubting the difference we do see. So the morally handicapped person that can’t apprehend the objective difference between loving their neighbor or torturing their neighbor ought not to cause doubt in those of us that do apprehend an objective moral difference between the two.

Street Apologetics

Atheist:how can God be ‘Good’ if He lets His people destroy men, women, and children in the Old Testament?”

Street Apologist: “I never appealed to biblical revelation in support of premise (2). I pointed out that I know objective moral values exist in probably the same way you know they exist. I apprehend them through moral experience.”

(At this point, it would be good to put them on the spot to agree with you.)

Street Apologist: “You do believe certain moral behaviors like rape or child molestation are objectively wrong don’t you?”

Atheist: “Of course!”

Street Apologist: “Ok then you agree with premise (2)!”

Atheist: “Uh…Right.”

Street Apologist: “Ok then you must disagree with premise (1), otherwise the conclusion: ‘God exists‘ will follow logically and inescapably.”

Atheist: “Ok, well I don’t believe the conclusion so I will disagree with premise (1).”

Street Apologist: “Alright, well if you affirm premise (2) objective moral values do exist yet deny premise (1), I would like to hear how you justify the existence of objective moral values in the absence of God’s existence?”

Let the squirming begin!

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

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Check out the “How to Answer” section which provides street worthy answers for common questions and objections to Christianity.

 

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The Flourishing of Human Creatures

The Flourishing of Human Creatures

Another common objection atheists will launch at premise (1) of “The Moral Argument” is to that claim that objective moral values can some how find ground in whatever is conducive to the flourishing of human creatures. Such a view however would be guilt of “specie-ism” which is an unjustified biased toward one’s own species[1]. On atheism, human beings have no basis for objective moral values if they are a mere by-product of the same blind process that coughed up mosquitoes and leeches.

Human Flourishing? On atheism there is no God to bestow value or ultimate purpose on human beings. The universe does not care; it has no feelings and will show no favoritism toward mankind when it inevitably swallows the human race up in a finite amount of time. On atheism the end for mankind will be identical to the end for all other life forms such as pigs, amoebas and e coli.

On atheism there is no justification for objective moral values and to suggest that human beings maintain some special place in the universe is arbitrary and unintelligible.

Other Objections to Premise (1)

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

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[1] Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics-3rd ed. Wheaton Illinois: Crossway Books, 2008. Print.

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Moral Platonism

Moral Platonism

(Common Objection to “The Moral Argument”)

What is Moral Platonism?

In the absence of God atheistic naturalists will sometimes attempt to say that objective moral values just simply exist without any foundation! This sort of view on objective moral values is often referred to as “Moral Platonism” (MP). You see, Plato once upon a time believed that “goodness” or say  “forbearance” simple existed somewhere out there as part of the universe. Likewise “greed” “hatred” “loyalty” “selfishness” and so forth just exist, absent of any grounding!

A Double-edged Response to MP

Firstly, it is arbitrary. For instance to hold that “goodness” simply exists out there independent of any persons seems quite odd and indefensible. Moral values are properties of person and it does not make any sense to speak of them as impersonal abstractions. I mean, just appreciate that for a moment and think of what it would be like for “goodness” to simply exist as part of the universe in the absence of any God and before the arrival of the human species.

Secondly, this seems to be ad hoc. It appears to be quite coincidental that in the absence of God; a blind physical process would cough up just the right human creatures that would match up to these impersonal and ungrounded abstractions. It is like the platonic realm was just waiting for human beings to show up! And on a side note, why would there be any moral obligation to align oneself with such abstractions in a meaningless and purposeless universe. Does the universe really care?

Moral Platonism is unintelligible. The person that wants to put stock in MP has a lot of explaining to do if they don’t want to give up rationality in the process.

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

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A Common Misunderstanding

A Case of Misunderstanding

It can be almost guaranteed that when you present The Moral Argument (TMA) to an unbeliever they will object to premise (1) in a similar fashion following:

“I don’t believe in God and I am a lot better than most Christians I know!”

“Are you trying to say that I have to believe in God in order to be a moral person?”

The Response

This sort of response is a very common misunderstanding of premise (1). Remember that the premise says:

If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

It is a mistake to understand this as saying; one must have belief in God in order to live a moral life. That is not the claim. In fact, I would like to mention that I know a number of atheists I worked with in the SEAL teams. And I am certain of this when I say those guys would run into harms way in the blink of an eye for the sake of others.

With that said, it is not a belief in God that is necessary to live a moral life; it is the existence of God that is necessary for the existence of objective moral values! Again, the issue at hand is not belief in God; it is the existence of God.

(1) If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

Thus, in the absence of God there is no such thing as a moral life in the objective sense that we have been discussing! With God in the paradigm, morality reduces down to subjectivity. Just an aid to survival and any deeper meaning is illusory[1].

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

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If you found this information useful please don’t forget to give a “like/share” on Facebook and please help get it out there on the other social media buttons below!

Check out the “How to Answer” section which provides street worthy answers for common questions and objections to Christianity.

 

 


[1]“The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth.  Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory.  I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves  . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation.  Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory  . . .” -Michael Ruse, Philosopher of Biology

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What Is The Moral Argument?

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

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

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How Do You Expose Moral Relativism?

Ray and I (Chad) went to Cerritos College today and snagged a few interviews with some of the students. Ben was a very interesting fellow…He bit the bullet as it were and stayed consistent in his belief that morality is merely subjective. This sort of consistency comes at a hefty cost though.


When someone says that morality is person to person relative and that their opinion is of no more value than the next person’s opinion they have officially forfeited using words like “should” or “ought” as this assumes there is a way things “should” or “ought” to be.  C.S. Lewis would point out that you can’t call something crooked unless you know what straight is.

The natural consequences of Ben’s denial and suppression of God’s moral law is futility and irrationally (Rom. 1:18,21).  Something within him (Rom. 2:15) tells him that certain acts are absolutely wrong, but he can’t make sense of it outside of God, which ultimately puts him in a camp where a child molester’s moral judgments are admittedly just as valuable as his own!

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

https://www.facebook.com/SEALofGod
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If you found this information useful please don’t forget to give a “like/share” on Facebook and please help get it out there on the other social media buttons below!

Check out the “How to Answer” section which provides street worthy answers for common questions and objections to Christianity.

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Ricky Gervais & Atheistic Morality




In the previous clip Ricky Gervais asserts atheism yet acknowledges the existence of such things as “goodness” and “love” in the universe. He claims “[Christianity] They haven’t got the monopoly on good.” Gervais then goes onto to proclaim his own goodness (Prov. 26:6). If I were on the street having a conversation with Gervais I would determine to point out a misnomer he builds upon as well as the inconsistency between atheism and the so called Christian monopoly.


Firstly, to claim “[Christianity] They haven’t got the monopoly on good.” is a misrepresentation of the Christian worldview, that is to say a straw-man. Christian philosophers and theologians do not present the “monopoly case” and so erecting such a straw-man brings forth contaminated ambiguity. The argument for morality has always been that God is the Absolute foundation and ground upon a concrete and real “goodness” can be anchored to. The issue is justification and accountability for a non-subjective “goodness.”


Secondly, there is an inconsistency between atheism and objective morality. Two things should be made clear here. (1) By objective morality the Christian means moral values that are valid and binding whether anyone else believes them to be true or not. An example would be to say, rape is wrong today even if the collective consensus of the world signed a moral contract yesterday  to authorize and instate it’s new found contemporary acceptability.  (2) The Christian worldview is not a position suggesting that non-Christian men are incapable performing morally decent acts such as helping old women cross the street or giving food to homeless. Rather the Christian would point out that on atheism, such acts have no grounding basis! No standard or basis for “goodness,” no absolute point of reference to differentiate between a real “right” and “wrong” that goes beyond imaginary! 

The atheist cannot double dip, they cannot have their cake and eat it too. If any atheist denies God’s existence they deny themselves the moral footing for an absolute morality. The atheist can not have his cake and eat it to on this one… To do so is inconsistent but it happens. In one hand they deny God’s existence like a fool (Ps. 14:1), and in the other hand they want “goodness” and “love” in their world. The Christian has a footing for morality but the atheist’s morality amounts to nothing more than an imaginary illusion. Atheists should take a note out of a book written by one of their own as Michael Ruse gets the antithesis right: 

 ”The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . .” [emphasis added]

Ruse, the Darwinian Paradigm

 

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

https://www.facebook.com/SEALofGod
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If you found this information useful please don’t forget to give a “like/share” on Facebook and please help get it out there on the other social media buttons below!

Check out the “How to Answer” section which provides street worthy answers for common questions and objections to Christianity.

- See more at: http://sealofchrist.com/2011/01/tomorrow-is-not-promised/#sthash.VpPEsavt.dpuf

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Abortion Argument Tactic

What I used in the above conversation was a variation of a tactic I learned from Greg Koukl known as “Trotting in the Toddler.”

Trotting in the toddler is a method used to help the proponent of abortion see that whatever arbitrary reason or standard they give to validate or justify abortion… Ultimately fails to be a valid reason to kill a toddler or in this case human beings in a building. Furthermore, what this reveals is that the proponent of abortion assumes that the unborn is not a human being right out of the gate. For if they had started with the proper presupposition they would never attempt to justify murdering an innocent unborn human being because of say, hardship. Hardship is not an excuse for homicide! It is their presupposition and it is a very dangerous one at that, as their failure to acknowledge the unborn as a human being results in murder.

Example:

Christian: What reason do you have to justify taking the life of the unborn?

Detractor: Well I think if a woman is raped she should be aloud to choose for herself!

Christian: What if the woman already had the baby? Would it be alright for the woman to kill her 2 year old toddler because it continuously reminds her of the hardship?

Detractor: Certainly not! Are you kidding with me?

Christian: Bear with me for a moment… So why would that not be acceptable?

Detractor: Because it is a human being!

Christian: Clearly then, you presuppose that the unborn is not a human being right out of the gate! That is a very dangerous presumption friend. Hardship is not justification for homicide! Speculating that the unborn is not a human being and then killing it is like blowing up a building with no certainty that human life is not inside.

Detractor: I have never thought about it this way…You bring up a good point.

Folks you can “Trot in the Toddler” as a test to any standard or reason that one gives as justification for abortion. It reveals the inconsistency, it reveals the double-standard and it reveals the dangerous presumption that pro-abortion folks maintain right out of the gate.

As a U.S. Navy SEAL I can’t imagine going out to one of our demolition ranges on San Clemente Island to blow up a building or an obstacle in the ocean without having absolute certainty that there is no human life present! You would get kicked out of the teams for such a tremendous error!

It is happening right now, this moment as you read! It is a modern day holocaust as the screams of the unborn cannot be heard!

“God will judge the secrets of men” (Rom. 2:16).

 

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

https://www.facebook.com/SEALofGod
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If you found this information useful please don’t forget to give a “like/share” on Facebook and please help get it out there on the other social media buttons below!

Check out the “How to Answer” section which provides street worthy answers for common questions and objections to Christianity.

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Arizona Shooting

Arizona Shooting

 

On atheism there is justification for such an act that we see as malicious and evil. In fact an atheistic universe would provide us only illusions of maliciousness and evil. Atheism provides nothing more than an amoral universe in which all behaviors are justifiable in terms of any absolute and objective point of reference!

 

On atheism all things are permitted, all moral acts have no absolute and objective grounding standard. We are like ships at sea with no particular destination, no particular course. In fact, it doesn’t matter what course you take because all courses will ultimately lead to the same end which is death.

 

On atheism, it really doesn’t matter if you live your life as a Mother Teresa or a Hitler because in an atheistic universe Mother Teresa and Hitler ultimately arrive at the very same destination! The grave is the great leveler and equalizer of us all, so live your life however you please or whatever stimulates you the most. Just beware that if shooting other people for the fun of it gets you high and stimulates you the most; do the best you can to not get caught, otherwise other human beings stimulated by an illusory sense of justice might come after you and send you on your way to the great leveler and equalizer a little sooner than your senses would prefer!

 

Don’t believe me? Then take some atheist attestation:

 

Dawkins Quote

 

“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.”

 

Michael Ruse philosopher of biology wrote in the Darwinian Paradigm:

 

“the position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than our hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something; ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘love thy neighbor as thy self’ they think that they are referring above and beyond themselves never the less such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction and any deeper meaning is illusory.”

Navy SEAL Chad Williams

https://www.facebook.com/SEALofGod
http://instagram.com/sealofgod
https://twitter.com/Rationaltruth

If you found this information useful please don’t forget to give a “like/share” on Facebook and please help get it out there on the other social media buttons below!

Check out the “How to Answer” section which provides street worthy answers for common questions and objections to Christianity.

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They KNOW God Exists!

Romans 1:18-25

God reveals Himself through creation Rom. 1:18-20…When reflecting on the origins of the universe consider the impossibility of the contrary to Gen.1:1! It was God that created and Something can’t come from nothing, nothing ever has! But the atheist will forfeit such a truth in exchange for a lie Rom.1:25. When you take a balloon full of air and attempt to suppress it under water you have to stay actively ontop of it otherwise it will push its way back up. Suppressing the truth of God Rom. 1:18 is much the same way as the believer must actively and willfully suppress the truths that are clearly seen Rom. 1:20. In such a willful ignorance their professed wisdom turns to a fallen foolishness Rom. 1:22

Exhibit A:

Atheist/Philosopher Quentin Smith wrote in Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology

“The fact of the matter is that the most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing!”

That is absurd, in fact such an absurdity even the famed skeptic David Hume picks up on and writes in Letters of David Hume

“I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.”

Hume took the agnostic route and remained silent. Better to remain silent and thought a fool rather than open ones mouth and remove all doubt Prov. 17:28

Unbelievers reject the truth of God because they love their sin and coming into the light they deem an unsavory thing, a thing they hate!

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
John 3:18-20

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