Thursday, August 21, 2008

Does God Exist?

A good question to consider indeed. One argument for the existence of God that I find especially powerful is the so called "Moral Argument." Here it is.

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

  2. Objective moral values & duties do exist.

  3. Therefore, God exists.

Now this is a good argument because 3 follows necessarily if premises 1 & 2 are true; thus producing a sound argument.

Premise 2 seems intuitively obvious to most people. Hitler was objectively wrong. Torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong. Human trafficking is objectively wrong. 'Objective' simply means that it is true regardless of whether anyone else thinks so or agrees etc. It is a fact of our world. Honestly if someone denies premise 2, they don't need an argument, they need to get help.

It seems to me the issue is premise 1. Is God necessary to objectively ground morality? We will explore that in another post.

Until then, listen to a debate on this issue - Is God Necessary for Morality?

To see the argument in book form, check out Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig.

5 comments:

Steven Carr said...

'Human trafficking is objectively wrong'?
Genesis 17:12
'For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner'

Where does this alleged god condemn the forcible circumcision of people bought with money?

blog admin said...

Thanks for your comments. I will address them in a minute. But first, I assume you accept premise 2? ‘Objective moral values & duties do exist.’

And since you are objecting to the Christian God here, is it fair to assume you think that premise 1 is true as well? If there is no more plausible explanation for 1 to provide or ground objective moral values and duties, then the argument as it stands is sound.
Then the question becomes which God? Which version of theism should be believed?

You have raised a challenged to the Christian worldview and the God of the Bible. Given the challenge, it seems you are saying there is something morally / logically incoherent about the God of the Bible and Genesis 17:12. So a Christian can give an answer for this within a Christian worldview.

A couple of thoughts:
1. One of the fundamental claims of Christianity is that we live in a fallen world deeply affected, twisted, and corrupted by sin. This was brought about through free-will of creatures to reject God and his will for us. Thus the downward spiral began. God did not intend slavery etc. Humans brought it about….God, working through free-creatures Israel-began to renew the human heart and began the trajectory you find in the NT in books like Philemon and Gal. 3:28. God has not by fiat made people into robots…and is working through history to redeem a fallen creation.
2. The context of this passage describes the blessing of being part of the community of God.
3. There is a stark difference between the life and practices of the community of Israel (beginning to be shaped by God’s law) and the Ancient Near East. This is beyond dispute. Slavery is not good…period. But the slavery practiced in ancient Israel is much different than in surrounding nations.
So it is objectively wrong for humans to enslave others. Humans were doing this in spite of the good way God created—not because he ordered it. So God moves into this dire situation—and in the same way one trains a child—shows them how to grow out of wrong behavior. Because of the kind of world we live in – one with moral freedom – God works through humans. So God’s will is not that this is good…but that every time God speaks these commands in the OT, they a improve the current –admittedly not ideal – state of affairs. But the Christian does not set its course under old covenant ideas (as helpful as they were at the time for Israel)…in the Christian worldview, we are under the New Covenant laid out in the NT.

While this may not be satisfying to some; it does serve as a plausible account (from within the Christian worldview) that maintains objective moral wrongs and a good God at work in human history that has been wracked by sin.

pokeyandthesoap said...

So you are admitting that scripture, which you in your wish-fulfillment based reality believe to be hand-stenographed by god himself, outlives its usefulness and can be ignored after some time.

MeDenne said...

This is a very good example of the importance of making a sound argument and using it to guide the discussion. Too many times, discussions digress to assertions (and inuendo in this case, leaving certain things necessarily assumed). Depending on the intent of the objection, you could be having a completely different discussion.

I look forward to part 2.

blog admin said...

Thank you for the comments. I think this is a powerful argument. And nothing has been said against either premise 1 or 2 of substance.

So I think it is important to 'stay on task.' To many times we change the conversation and thus never get anywhere.

More to come on this argument soon...