Q & A with Dr. Craig: Stuck with the Moral Argument

Reasonable Faith

Q: Hello Dr. Craig,

I am a 16 Year old High school student who is super passionate about Christian apologetics. I frequently have discussions/debates with other students about the existence of God, but lately I have gotten quite stuck with the moral argument.

Here is the moral argument:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Now I am having trouble with premise 2. Objective moral values and duties do exist. When I talk to students at school about this premise, I might bring up the Holocaust or child abuse and they will agree that it is wrong, but they think that morals are relative, that they are a result of the combination of 3 things:

Morals are taught/learnt (Parents, society) 
Morals are subliminal survival instincts (helping the human race survive) 
Morals are a matter of opinion and personal preference.

When I try to tackle personal preference, it is backed up by survival instincts, and the same goes for personal opinion. So I can never really show that morals are objective since people honestly have different ideas on what is right and wrong – take homosexual marriage for instance. It has already been legalized all around the world because people honestly think that people should love each other! If Morals are objectively written on our hearts, why is this? 
Now I understand how much you have emphasized the importance of keeping apart moral Epistemology and Ontology. I started to read your Podcast with Kevin about ‘Do animals display morality?’ and then I read this:

“The theist can be happy to admit that the moral values that we believe in are conditioned by parental instruction, by society, and by our evolutionary origins.”

Please help me! I need help understanding the difference between Moral Epistemology and Ontology, how that fits in the debates I’m having with my peers and how I can effectively counter their arguments.

Sorry if what I have said is a bit in pieces, but I thank you so much for your awesome dedication to the community out there who is seeking evidence for the God. You have helped me greatly with giving an objective reason for believing in the existence of God.

Hugo

Australia

DR. CRAIG’S RESPONSE:

I’ve responded to this sort of question so many times, Hugo, that it’s hard to find something interesting and new to say! I suggest that you take a look at our Question of the Week Index under “Moral Argument” or “moral values” for resources.  But perhaps exposing some of the fuzzy thinking of your friends might be helpful…

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Q & A with Dr. Craig: Stuck with the Moral Argument | Reasonable Faith