The Moral Argument is powerful evidence for the existence of God but seems to be misunderstood by many. I’d like to introduce an analogy that I hope will clear up some misconceptions.
But first, let’s outline what the Moral Argument is. There are many versions of it, but here’s the one I’m most familiar with:
- Absolute moral laws require an absolute moral law giver
- There are absolute moral laws
- Therefore, there is an absolute moral law Giver
Premise #1: This premise is based on the law of cause and effect. Every finite effect must have an adequate cause. A relative moral law giver cannot give absolute moral laws. From a relative moral law giver comes relative moral laws. An example of this would be governmental laws. A prohibitive law in one country may be legal in another. Therefore, moral laws determined by man, wheter individually or corprately, such as a government, are relative and not absolute. An absolute law is binding upon all people, at all times, everywhere.
Premise #2: There are absolute moral laws, such as innocent people should not be murdered. The Golden Rule is another absolute: One should always treat others as they’d like to be treated. For example, if I was a policeman and caught a person stealing, I’d arrest them. Despite being offended by their behavior, I’d still treat them with care and respect, just as I’d like a policeman to treat me if I had to be arrested because I committed a crime.
#3 The Conclusion: The conclusion follows from the premises. When an argument contains valid premises, a valid conclusion follows.
The main objections to the Moral Argument are:
- Moral laws are all relative.
- Even if there are absolute moral laws, evolution (morals help humans survive) and/or sociology can explain their origin and basis.
The first objection can be answered with the following question, “Is it relatively true or absolutely true that all morals are relative?” If only relavity true, then there may be absolute morals. If absolutely true, this is a contradiction, for relative morals cannot be absolutely true.
The second objection can be shown false with the following analogy. Picture a driver of a Ferrari passing everyone quickly on a road and then stopping for gas. As other motorists also stop for gas they comment to the driver of the Ferrari that he was driving too fast. His reply each time is the same, “That’s your opinion.” A minute later a policeman pulls in and asks the Ferrari driver for his license. The Ferrari drive asks “what for” and the policeman explains that he was speeding. He replies as he did to all the other motorists, “That’s you opinion.” The office agrees that it is his opinion but in addition the law states the maximum speed limit was 30 miles per hour lower than he was monitored driving. A standard exists above both parties opinions and therefore the policeman has the authority to write a ticket.
Evolution and sociology can provide a pragmatic type of morality but the problem will always be that everyone has different opinions as to what morality works for them. Pragmatic morality is relative but the second premise lists absolute morals. Therefore, evolution and sociology are insufficient to account for moral absolutes.
Here is a friendly discussion between Christian talk show host Dr. Frank Turek and agnostic professor Dr. John-Michael Kuczynski discussing this issue.