Is God Real? Common, Objective Moral Standards Are an Evidence of God’s Existence
by J Warner Wallace
The Axiological Argument for the existence of God relies on the existence of objective, transcendent moral truths (i.e. “It’s never morally permissible or virtuous to torture babies for fun”). But not everyone agrees these truths exist in the first place, even though they often seem self-evident. Many who do accept the existence of transcendent moral truths still deny a transcendent moral truth Giver. Some skeptics believe these moral truths come from our evolutionary development as a species, are embedded in our DNA, or are simply a matter of social convention. If this is the case, moral truth is relative to the individual making the claim. Moral relativism is, however, difficult to actualize consistently. Those who argue against the existence of transcendent, objective moral values, typically advocate for such values when push comes to shove (especially when they’ve been victimized). We accept many values and mores as if they were transcendently true, even as we might deny the existence of such overarching truths. Is God real? Our common acceptance of an objective moral standard is yet another evidence of God’s existence.
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If there are no objective, transcendent moral truths, we lose the ability to make many significant decisions and judgments. Without the existence of such truths, nothing can be considered objectively virtuous, vile, or benign. Greg Koukl, my ministry partner at Stand to Reason, has written an excellent book on this topic: Relativism; Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air. Greg makes several key observations, some of which are summarized here:
All True Praise Requires An Objective Moral Standard
Most of us recognize the importance of praise, particularly when someone has performed nobly or has behaved sacrificially to improve the world in some way. But it’s impossible to truly praise anyone for such behavior without the existence of a transcendent, objective moral standard. Our accolades for those who have acted sacrificially for the good of others are meant to be more than subjective compliments. When we praise someone, we are praising them for something we believe was objectively virtuous, and would be considered so by everyone and anyone, regardless of personal opinion. We seldom say, “We praise you for doing something we happen to value in this culture; something we personally think is good, even if it may not be good to anyone else.” True praise assumes an overarching standard of goodness transcending all of us as humans. Do you remember growing up as a teenager and hearing your mom tell you that you were handsome or pretty? We accept such compliments with a degree of hesitancy, don’t we? Was her statement true, or simply her biased, subjective opinion? We are left wondering if we are truly handsome or truly pretty. True praise requires an objective standard related to what is good or bad; ugly or beautiful.