The Moral Argument for God’s Existence: 12 Quick Thoughts
Saints and Sceptics
1) There are moral laws. If our moral feelings were human inventions or the outcome of a blind meaningless process like evolution, we could safely and rationally ignore them when it was safe and convenient to do so. But the moral rules seem binding and inescapable. Why ought we to love others as much as ourselves? Why should we try to be selfless? Why is it wrong to neglect these rules? We need some explanation.
2) Christians may argue that God explains the moral law. This is an argument for God’s existence. It is not an argument for the necessity or the truth of scripture! We are not arguing that we need the Bible to have moral knowledge. That would be a strange position for the Christian to take. Romans 2 and 1 Corinthians 5 assume that believers and unbelievers can have moral knowledge without knowing the Scriptures; and these passages also assume that unbelievers can be more moral than believers!
3) The moral laws make little sense in an atheistic universe. Why should I be obligated to pursue that life if it interferes with my own desires? If I have no purpose, and if there are no consequences for ignoring moral values from time to time, why shouldn’t I pursue selfish pleasure when it is convenient? Why shouldn’t a society place profit above justice? In the absence of God, who do we have duties to when no-one else is watching?
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4) Can science explain morality away? Suppose one reason that we put our children’s well-being ahead of our own is because natural selection favoured those ancestors who had developed parental love. Does knowing why we feel that obligation mean that we don’t really have that obligation? Can we reasonably set aside our obligations to our children? Not at all. The social sciences could plausibly explain the rise and development of science. That would not mean that our scientific beliefs are false. Biologists explain why our perceptual systems developed. That does not mean that we should doubt our senses.
5) Theism provides an excellent explanation for the moral laws. If God created us we live in a moral universe. It would be irrational and dangerous to ignore the rules laid down by the one who made us. God would provide the ultimate source of moral authority.
6) As the source of everything else God would be the most valuable thing in existence. As a perfectly rational creator, and the ground of all being, he would be identical with the greatest good…