August, 15 2020
Subject: Answering Moral Skeptics: Protesting Injustice Confirms God Exists
Romans 2:15b “Their conscience also bearing witness… their thoughts accusing or excusing them.”
One of the strongest arguments for the existence of God is the existence of objective moral values and duties. One has only to watch both the protests by many NFL and NBA professional athletes. The very fact they are protesting what they believe is systemic racism in America is factual evidence that they believe moral values and duties can be objectively discerned as good or bad, even evil.
This is known as the Moral Argument for the existence of a theistic God, and it goes like this: Premise 1 – “If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist”. Premise 2 – “Objective moral values and duties do exist”. Conclusion – “Therefore, God exists”.
By “objective” we mean “independent of anyone’s opinion.” The opposite of “objective” is “subjective”, which means “it’s a matter of personal opinion.” For example, if objective moral values and obligations do exist, then everyone is either obligated or forbidden from doing certain actions, regardless of what we think.
Many of my atheist friends often claim that morality is subjective since it has “evolved” from an evolutionary set of biological and sociological influences that result in a set of “rights and wrongs” with no binding authority on people. They merely apply to each individual’s set of morals they have chosen to adopt.
Can you see the problem with this position? Premise 2 in the argument, that “objective moral values and duties do exist”, is being proven right now, every night and day, on our televisions and radios, as people across the country and around the world protest to what they see as objectively wrong moral behavior.
Everyone is agreeing on what are objectively right versus wrong moral values and duties that are binding on all of us. Thus, the world is confirming that a theistic God, more precisely the God of the Bible, exists.
The power of the Moral Argument is that it does not require we start with God’s existence. Instead, belief in objective moral values and duties is based on our own moral experience. We as human beings can tell the difference between right and wrong. For example, no one needs to read the Bible’s 8th Commandment to know that stealing is wrong, especially when someone steals something from you!
In fact, the majority of non-theists, including atheists, believe that Premise 2 is true based on experience. Professor Louise Antony, Professor of Philosophy at the UMass, Amherst and a non-theist, made this clear in a debate with Professor William Lane Craig (a Christian): “Any argument for moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves.”
Dr. Craig also gives this reference from humanist philosopher Peter Cave: “Whatever skeptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound. Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop.” Thus, scholarly opinion aligns with human behavior. Objective morality exists.
Again, as Dr. Craig so well states, “In moral experience we encounter objective moral values and duties, and so, in the absence of some sort of defeater of that belief, we are perfectly rational to hold to it. Moral realism is the default position, and the moral skeptic must provide some powerful defeater to overcome it.”
Thus, Premise 2 leads inescapably to our Conclusion that God exists, since objective moral values and duties, which by definition are binding on everyone, must transcend humanity’s ability to create them. By definition, they must come from outside of us. That will force the skeptic to argue against Premise 1, by claiming you can have objective moral values and duties without God. Now, the tables are turned on the unbeliever, who must explain how objective moral values and duties can exist in a world without a transcendent God as the absolute standard and law-giver. No atheist scholar has successfully done this.
In our verse this week, the apostle Paul explains to the church in Rome that even unbelievers have a God-given objective moral compass: “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts accusing or else excusing them…” (Romans 2:14-15). Thus, our experience of the truth of objective morality aligns perfectly with the Bible. The only logical, deductive conclusion is that the God of the Bible, and His Son Jesus Christ, exist.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.